The Practice of Deep Meditation
Deep meditation practices give us insight into both the fundamental natures of our being. For some people, deep meditation is simply about “not doing”. They just get themselves deeply relaxed, the body lying down comfortably on the back, listening to beautiful, flowing music and just letting go.
There are a few myths around deep meditation, how you sit, what you do and the way to achieve it. It’s time to reveal the connection to Albert Einsteins Theory of Relevance…
Meditation is the primary means of cultivating the inner peace and happiness that we all long for. Inner peace and happiness are found to be resident parts of our inner nature when we are able to take away the barriers in our nervous system from the purifying influences of yoga practices. Inner stillness is the essence of enlightenment, and how do we nurture this in ourselves? – Through deep meditation.
Samyama is a deep meditation practice that takes advantage of resident inner stillness (silence). The practice of Samyama develops in us that sense of “seeing stillness in action and action in stillness.” In this state, our desires become expressions of our inner silence and find fulfillment in ways we could not have expected.
With samyama, once the meditation time is up, rest follows for about a minute or two and transitions into samyama. The state begins with an easy state of not thinking, just resting in silence. If thoughts come, they are just let go without entertaining them. In samyama practice, mantra (sound) is not entertained either, not favoring anything but being easy in silence. The starting point for samyama is silence. The only requirement for doing samyama practice is having some inner silence. Most people achieve this after a few months of daily deep meditation.
The Misassumptions around Deep Meditation
Deep meditation is often mistakenly assumed with having to sit perfectly erect in legs intertwined uncomfortably and washing all thoughts from the minds. There is also the assumption that you have a complete one-pointed concentration. This is simply not so. Deep meditation for different people may vary, and each of them may have their own ways and practices of meditating. On the other hand, whatever way or practice they have chosen, the aim will always be more or less the same, achieving inner peace and happiness.
For some people, deep meditation is simply about “not doing”. They just get themselves deeply relaxed, the body lying down comfortably on the back, listening to beautiful, flowing music and just letting go. They form a perfect state of mind for more traditional meditation. Like the calmness of the prayer, or just enjoying the wonderful energy coursing through the body.
The Fundamental Nature
Deep meditation practices give us insight into both the fundamental nature of our being. It allows us to experience emotions and thoughts with great clarity and balance. The mind is freed from conditioned patterns of self-centeredness, negativity and confusion, and the heart is opened to deeper wisdom and compassion. We begin to recognize and know each moment as practice for growth toward wholeness and harmony. We discover a place in ourselves which is already whole and always in harmony, and we learn to live from a clearer centre and reach into the inner part of us that results in us being complete and happy.
Mantra meditation is a very powerful technique. It is a form of meditation that uses sound to open the heart and mind.
This is the Meditation Technique of Devotion, a deeply spiritual and sacred practice for a lot of meditators. Let’s just get another myth out of the equation, a person doesn’t need to be “religious” to experience the gifts that Mantra Meditation can offer.
Mantra meditation allows your mind to focus and concentrate more completely on sound, and clear away other thoughts, emotions and distractions which divert our energies. We are able to learn and preserve our mental and emotional energies, enabling us to develop a direction and focus in our actions. We become more aware of the simple aspects of life, transforming our previous attitudes about work towards an uncomplicated and non-competitive life, creating a balance of being physically active and capable with your external actions and maintaining a condition of perpetual meditation internally.
What is a Mantra and how does it sound?
Mantras (sounds) can be whatever you choose; they don’t even need to be Sanskrit Mantras (an ancient language of India used more often in yoga). A mantra is a sound repeated over and over again until it becomes one into your consciousness and frees your mind from its regular doing, elevating you to an altered state of awareness; a state that can connect you with your soul and its most deep level, achieving a state of universal consciousness.
With mantra mediation, one can use whatever sound that feels right, such as saying “I am” during inhalation, and “at peace” during exhalation. Mantra is often taught using Sanskrit words or phrases. You may have heard about some of them, so let’s give you an idea of what they are for. Here is a list of the most common ones:
The sound of the universe; vibration of all living things
This is a beautiful and powerful mantra, honoring both the light and the shadow; the integration of opposites; life and death, light and shadow, inhalation and exhalation; the yin and yang.
Om Namah Shivaya
Transformation; creation born of change; the phoenix rising.
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Join with the divine will; I surrender to
I am the creative force
Tat Tuan Asmi
I am that I am
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
Peace, peace, peace
Now, there we are. Those are the most common Sankskrit Mantras. Since we are here, let’s have a look at the most common Mantras in English:
I surrender to Your will (God/Goddess/Universe/What IS)
Peace to all
I open to What IS
All is well
Preparation for Mantra Meditation
It is always important to prepare yourself before doing mantra meditation. Getting yourself in the right mind set and setting a spiritual atmosphere will help a lot in the practice of mantra meditation.
-Let a sense of spirituality and enthusiasm for your inner quests fill you.
-If possible, shower and dress in clean, white, loose fitting clothing.
-Pull back long hair and brush the teeth if possible. A comfortable and clean body promotes a clear mind as well.
-Sit in the sacred space you have set aside for your spiritual practice.
-Create a simple altar for you space. Inspirational pictures for you can be used, light a candle, or some incense to keep the air sweet and the atmosphere meditative.
-Surrender your egos. It is about purifying yourself and letting go of preconceived thinking, and opening yourself to boundless, unconditional love –Divine Grace.
-Sit in a comfortable position which allows your spine to be straight and erect.
-Offer a prayer from deep within your heart.
How to do Mantra Meditation
If you are doing a Mantra that has one syllable, such as OM, begin by concentrating on the rhythm of your breath. Say to yourself OM as you inhale, then as you exhale count. Inhale OM, exhale one, inhale OM, exhale two, and so on until the number ten, and then start over again.
For longer mantras such as the mantra So Hum, begin with deep, relaxed breathing, calming the mind and the body. Deeply connect to the rhythm and absorb the rhythm of breath. On the inhalation, mentally repeat So, and on the exhalation, mentally repeat Hum. Flow with the silent sound and breath, and allowing the sound to become one with your consciousness, visualizing life force energy moving into your body and down your spine when you inhale, and energy flowing up the spine when you exhale.
Enjoy the practice of this mantra technique without requiring yourself to achieve anything. Also remember to enjoy the process and in time your breath and Mantra will become one.
Let us have a look at another, a western meditation, which you may not have heard of…
Descartes has been indicated as the first modern philosopher. He is renowned for having made an important connection between geometry and algebra that brought about the solutions to geometrical problems by way of algebraic equations.
He is also famous for having promoted a new conception of matter which allowed for the accounting of physical phenomena by way of mechanical explanations.
One of the main reasons why people have even heard of Descartes is another book (or paper). His fame for having written a relatively short work, Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy). In this work, the Existence of God and the Distinction between Mind and Body are demonstrated. This was published in 1641 and provided a philosophical groundwork for the possibility of sciences.
Descartes Meditations Today
Today, Descartes Meditations is by far Descartes’s most popular work, though this would not have been the case in Descartes’s day. Descartes Meditations opens by developing sceptical questions concerning the possibility of knowledge. Through a series of several carefully thought out meditations, six meditations to be exact, the reader establishes the groundwork for the possibility of knowledge (scientia). Descartes Meditations uses scepticism as a vehicle to motivate his reader to “discover” by way of philosophical investigation what constitutes this ground.
The Two Driving Issues
Descartes Meditations was dedicated to the faculty of the Sorbonne, which was the divinity school of the University of Paris. Descartes was a devout Catholic and had no desire to offend the Church, though he certainly hoped to make a contribution to its understanding. There are two driving issues behind Descartes Meditations:
- proving the existence of God and
- the immortality of the soul through natural reason.
Here are some samples of Descartes Meditations 1 and 2:
Descartes Meditation 1 – OF THE THINGS OF WHICH WE MAY DOUBT
1. SEVERAL years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences. But as this enterprise appeared to me to be one of great magnitude, I waited until I had attained an age so mature as to leave me no hope that at any stage of life more advanced I should be better able to execute my design.
On this account, I have delayed so long that I should henceforth consider I was doing wrong were I still to consume in deliberation any of the time that now remains for action. To-day, then, since I have opportunely freed my mind from all cares [and am happily disturbed by no passions], and since I am in the secure possession of leisure in a peaceable retirement, I will at length apply myself earnestly and freely to the general overthrow of all my former opinions.
This is just one of the twelve paragraphs that’s in Descartes Meditations 1,
which is all about Descartes establishing his ideas about the world in which he can doubt their truth.
Descartes Meditation 2 – OF THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN MIND; AND THAT IT IS MORE EASILY KNOWN THAN THE BODY
1. The Meditation of yesterday has filled my mind with so many doubts, that it is no longer in my power to forget them. Nor do I see, meanwhile, any principle on which they can be resolved; and, just as if I had fallen all of a sudden into very deep water, I am so greatly disconcerted as to be unable either to plant my feet firmly on the bottom or sustain myself by swimming on the surface.
I will, nevertheless, make an effort, and try anew the same path on which I had entered yesterday, that is, proceed by casting aside all that admits of the slightest doubt, not less than if I had discovered it to be absolutely false; and I will continue always in this track until I shall find something that is certain, or at least, if I can do nothing more, until I shall know with certainty that there is nothing certain. Archimedes, that he might transport the entire globe from the place it occupied to another, demanded only a point that was firm and immovable; so, also, I shall be entitled to entertain the highest expectations, if I am fortunate enough to discover only one thing that is certain and indubitable.
This is just one of the sixteen paragraphs in Descartes Meditation 2;
here he lays out a pattern of thought, sometimes called representationalism, in response to the doubts forwarded in Meditation 1, arguing that this representational theory disconnects the world from the mind, leading to the need for some sort of bridge to span the separation and provide good reasons that the ideas accurately represent the outside world.
Descartes Meditations I, II, III, IV, V, and VI, are writings that discard all his beliefs in things which are not absolutely certain, and then he tries to establish what can be known for sure.
The Practice of Deep Meditation and these few myths are now revealed, you may still wonder what is the relevance to Einstein?