Making the Life a Meditation: Concentration, Meditation, Wholeness: The Yogic Path
What is the point of meditation? Meditation sets up an unimpaired connection with the Intuition or Soul. It is the penultimate step for the yogi - the step before complete Union or Wholeness (Samadhi). Why do we want to achieve this Wholeness (Union)? It increases our awareness or consciousness so that we are aware of much more; it liberates us from the constant downward pull and drama of emotions and mental negative chatter and self talk; it allows us to realise the Oneness of all things, which is Group Consciousness - the next stage of evolution; and, it means we can create an uninterrupted flow of wisdom through us for our lives and for the people around us.
Meditation is the extension of concentration and grows out of the ability to steady the mind at will on any object or in any direction. We have really started to develop this concentration in the West with our focus in business and on the sporting field. The only real distinction between concentration and meditation is the time factor. Steadily holding the ‘mind stuff’ or chitta on an object or thought for a prolonged period is meditation.
This is the state where the mind is only aware of itself and the object it is focussed on. During this state we may also become aware of thoughts or ideas that are linked to the topic or ‘seed thought’ of our meditation. We lose awareness of our physical bodies, emotions and surroundings – including all the sights and sounds.
In order to achieve this we need to practice the 5 other limbs of yoga – that is, we practice ethics in our daily lives (yama and nijama), and keep the body/emotions/mind steady through physical postures (asana), learn how to control the breath (pranayama) because breath is life and the life force or prana flows in and out through the breath. We withdraw the senses (pratyhara) so that we are aware of our internal landscape and its effect on us and others.
It is worth taking a moment to look at asana or postures which have become synonymous with yoga in the West. Asana actually refers to so much more than physical poise because we are also made up of an emotional and mental body, not just a physical one. Therefore we can see that ‘asana’ can be interpreted as physical poise in meditation, a steady emotional response, and a still mind. All of which enables us to make the life a living meditation.
References: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Alice Bailey: Book II, Sutra 29; Book III Sutra 2,3
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