Practical Tips Regarding Meditation

The first point that should be considered is why one wants to meditate and what the expected result should be. This is important because it helps set the internal expectation and helps thereby in understanding the different aspects, both internal and external, that can influence the result. Meditation, or “success” in meditation, is not a goal in itself. Meditation is a means to an end, the end being the shifting of the conscious awareness and focus away from the outer, surface ego-personality to the divine consciousness, universalising, and widening the consciousness in the process. In the integral yoga, of course, with the eventual focus on transformation of the nature and the action in the world, this process must extend beyond the session of seated quiet and take hold of the nature at all times and in all circumstances.

Tuning the being to the process of meditation does take time and some amount of regular effort. Starting from a quiet place and having a comfortable seat is beneficial in the beginning. Traditional texts describe the conditions for effective meditation in a place that is neither too hot nor too cold, too dry or too damp, too windy, quiet, calm environment, safe from distractions and potential dangers, on a seat that is conducive to comfortable sitting without squirming or having to move constantly, etc. This long list of conditions is not intended to limit meditation, but to assist the process, particularly in the beginning, such that the seeker can actually establish the experience of meditation within the being and thereby be able to tune to the energetic status and maintain it. At some point, the meditation can actually take over the being and remain active in all life circumstances, maintaining the connection to the Divine Presence, the universal creation and then the actual seated meditation under controlled conditions is no longer absolutely necessary for the practitioner.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “What do you call meditation? Shutting the eyes and concentrating? It is only one method for calling down the true consciousness. To join with the true consciousness or feel its descent is the only thing important and if it comes without the orthodox method, as it always did with me, so much the better. Meditation is only a means or device, the true movement is when even walking, working or speaking one is still in sadhana.”

“The sitting motionless posture is the natural posture for concentrated meditation — walking and standing are active conditions. It is only when one has gained the enduring rest and passivity of the consciousness that it is easy to concentrate and receive when walking or doing anything. A fundamental passive condition of the consciousness gathered into itself is the proper poise for concentration and a seated gathered immobility in the body is the best position for that. It can be done also lying down, but that position is too passive, tending to be inert rather than gathered. This is the reason why yogis always sit in an asana. One can accustom oneself to meditate walking, standing, lying but sitting is the first natural posture.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Work, Meditation and Love and Devotion, Practical Advice About Meditation, pp. 154-156

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