Meditation

Matrimandir

Matrimandir@Auroville

The capital period of my intellectual development was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said may be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justifies is true and its opposite also is true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it. And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone.

(Sri Aurobindo)

Overview

Firstly, it is important to understand that All thoughts come from outside.

Overview of methods: For an overview of the various ways to stabilize the mind, see Taming the Monkey Mind.  In the same vein, see Gorakhnath’s enumeration of contemplation methods and the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

Gradations in mental development: The mind cannot immediately  attain a state of silence.  It must be progressively strengtheneed.  This is discussed under Types of Meditation and Stages of meditation.

Witness Consciousness: Sri Aurobindo used to recommend the method of witness consciousness to the beginners on his path (Purani, Evening Talks, pp 40-47). This is described in How to cultivate the state of witness consciousness (Saksi Bhava), and Cultivating witness consciousness (Saksi Bhava) part 2.

Five elements: You can concentrate on the five elements as shown in Videha Dharana : fixing the mind outside the body and Panchatattva Dharana : Contemplation on the five elements

Contemplation on vastness: You can fix your awareness on the sky or the lake as shown in Widen the consciousness. With progress, the awareness shifts to the inner sky(planes of the mind). See also : Meditation Techniques from the Yoga Upanishads

Contemplation on deity: Those who are of devotional nature can practice Concentration on Mother’s photograph

Daily exercise: To relax the mind during the day, try Walking with eyes unfocused

Before sleeping: A contemplation exercise before going to sleep

Upanishads: See

  1. Vidyas in the Upanishads part 1
  2. Vidyas in the Upanishads part 2

The mind does change with Yoga! See How does the mind change with Yoga? and How to develop intuition.

Pitfalls to watch for during meditation :See the two articles:

  1. Distinguishing between stilling the mind and dynamizing meditation
  2. Surmounting the unpleasant images and negative thoughts which occur during meditation

The rest of this page covers the practice of concentrating on centers within the body.

In the words of Pavitra, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo

Select a quiet and secluded place where you will feel secure and undisturbed for at least three quarters of an hour to one hour.

Sit in a chair or an arm chair with the back resting or, if you prefer, cross-legged on a cushion or a carpet. A straight body is preferable but without strain. In fact posture is of little importance. What is important is to feel at ease so that the body can be rapidly forgotten. Recumbent position is not advisable, except in case of illness or incapacity as it induces sleep.

Always begin the meditation by an inner call or a prayer, an aspiration towards the Divine.

a) A first method consists in watching the thoughts as they swarm about in the mind. Your mind is like a public place across which thoughts move in and out. A few attract your attention and remain a longer time. Observe their play without identifying yourself with any of them. You will become aware that your consciousness-that is your mental self-stands apart like a “Silent Witness” Separate from the movements of the mental nature in you. On one side this “Witness Consciousness”, on the other the mental nature in you.

Because you refuse to identify yourself with the thoughts, their motion and insistence gradually weaken. The waves of the mental nature subside and after a time you enter into a state called “quietude” or “quiet mind”. Thoughts still occur but they are subdued and do not disturb inner perceptions.

b) Another method of mental control consists in creating a void in your mind. It is quicker and more radical than the first but also more difficult. You have to banish altogether all thoughts from the mind. As soon as one comes in, push it out or discard it right away, before it has time to settle down. Not only should all reasonings be excluded in this way but all memories and associations too. Your mind enters gradually into the peace of “quietude”.

You should know that such an attempt to forcefully control the mind results at times in an apparent increase of the mental chaotic condition. Don’t be disturbed but persevere.

It is possible to bring the mind to a state of complete “silence”. But it is a very arduous task and after all it is not indispensable, at least in Sri Aurobindo’s “Integral Yoga”, which does not aim at leaving the body in trance, but at reaching the same experiences in a perfectly conscious and wakeful state.

c) Mental control can also be brought about by concentration, that is the fixing of the mind on a single object so strongly that the mind unites, so to say, with the object. From this identification knowledge about the object arises in the mind. The best object of concentration, the most worthy of knowledge, is surely the Divine, the Supreme. It matters little whether it is the Impersonal or the Personal God or, subjectively, the One Self. An idea that will help you is “God in all, all in God and all as God”. When the mind wanders away, you have to bring it back to its object quietly bur persistently. Here also you dissociate yourself in away from your mind.

You may also use a word, a significant sentence, a prayer, the silent repetition of which will quieten the most mechanical part of your mind. Such a repetition (the name of the Beloved) is frequently resorted to by those who feel a devotion for the Divine. It is best to use these three methods concurrently according to the need and as it seems easier at the moment. In any case regular practice is necessary every day, preferably at the same hour.

Pavitra, On Meditation

Three centres on which one can concentrate during meditation

One can concentrate in any of the three centres which is easiest to the sadhak(aspirant) or gives most result.

The power of the concentration in the heart-centre is to open that centre and by the power of aspiration, love, bhakti, surrender remove the veil which covers and conceals the soul and bring forward the soul or psychic being to govern the mind, life and body and turn and open them all fully to the Divine, removing all that is opposed to that turning and opening. This is what is called in this yoga the psychic transformation. (On a side note, the techique of concentration on the heart is called Dahara Vidya in the Upanishads )

The power of concentration above the head is to bring peace, silence, liberation from the body sense, the identification with mind and life and open the way for the lower (mental, vital, physical) consciousness to rise up to meet the higher consciousness above and for the powers of the higher (spiritual nature) consciousness to descend into mind, life and body. This is what is called in this yoga the spiritual transformation. If one begins with this movement then the Power from above has in its descent to open all the centres (including the lowest centre) and to bring out the psychic being; for until that is done there is likely to be much difficulty and struggle of the lower consciousness obstructing, mixing with or even refusing the Divine Action from above. If the psychic being is once active this struggle and these difficulties can be greatly minimised.

The power of concentration between the eyebrows is to open the centre there, liberate the inner mind and vision and the inner or yogic consciousness and its experiences and powers. From here also one can open upwards and act also in the lower centres; but the danger of this process is that one may get shut up in one’s mental spiritual formations and not come out of them into the free and integral spiritual experience and knowledge and integral change of the being and nature. If one concentrates on a thought or a word, one has to dwell on the essential idea contained in the word with the aspiration to feel the thing which it expresses.

[Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Sadhana through Meditation]

Pavitra discussing his meditation with Sri Aurobindo

Pavitra: In meditation the entire mind is quiet. The faculty of forming images disappears and also that of reasoning, of putting out ideas. And I remain immobile, incapable of any inner movement. There is no change in the consciousness, only in the instruments of this conscious­ness. What should I do in meditation? Should this new state be brought into the ordinary life?

Sri Aurobindo: In the first analysis, the mind is divided into two parts : one, whose movements are aroused by Nature ; the other which shares the nature of the Purusha and remains immobile. It is now necessary to extend the power of this immobile part to remain the witness of the changes of the other. Thought will seem to occur in front of it, and it will become aware that it is universal Nature which raises the play of thoughts. One must go towards this universalisation. Thoughts will come from outside and you will see them taking shape in you. You will also experience that you have power over them: you will be able to make a choice, refuse a movement, etc. This is the beginning of mastery. The part of the immobile mind will also have to be seen as the reflection of a vaster, more universal Purusha above you. From both sides you must free yourself from the self. You must relax the pressure you have put on the mind to succeed in mastering thought and being free from it. Insist on the wit­ness attitude. When a thought comes, examine it, see from where it comes, follow it.

The two parts which you are thus separating will have to be later united once again.

Pavitra: Are there not two methods? One consists in looking at the thoughts as they cross the field of the mind. The other in losing consciousness of them by concentrating upon the inner movement?

Sri Aurobindo: I think you can now enter the second movement. And you must keep in mind that the more you can overcome the idea of working by yourself, the quicker you will go. Allow things to be done for you.

[Pavitra, Conversations with Sri Aurobindo, March 10, 1926]

Another presentation by the Moscow Integral Yoga group

http://www.purna-yoga.ru/en/practice-meditation.php

Introductory Books

Click on the book to go to the SABDA catalog

dhyana

How do I begin

How do I proceed

yoga for the modern man

Pitfalls in Sadhana

Meditation background and process

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63 thoughts on “Meditation

  1. Mohan Krishna

    Various methods of concentration are advised by Sri Aurobindo and Mother. Is it best to select just one technique?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      When the Guru gives initiation, he also provides the method which is suited to the aspirant’s character and temperament. In the absence of a Guru, it may not be easy to decide a specific method. I cannot recommend one either since I am not yet reached the stage of being a Guru 🙂

      Sri Aurobindo used to ask beginners who were NOT ready for Yoga to practice the method of witness consciousness discussed here in part1 and here in part2 .

      There are a variety of techniques invented by the ancients which I have listed in this post.

      Ultimately, you have to find out what is easy for you. You could begin with any one of these.
      a) concentrate on a centre (heart, eyebrows) in the body.
      b) stand back and let the thoughts in mind subside.
      c) watch the flow of breath until the thoughts subside.
      d) chant a Mantra to enter into a contemplative state.
      e) concentrate on a form of God – anyone you like.

      Reply
  2. ipsa

    Sri Aurobindo to Nirodbaran on Meditation:

    Nirodbaran:These statements would obviously mean that meditation is not indispensable, for sincere workers, I mean.

    Sri Aurobindo: I do not mind if you find inconsistencies in my statements. What people call consistency is usually a rigid or narrow-minded inability to see more than one side of the truth or more than their own narrow personal view or experience of things. Truth has many aspects and unless you look on all with a calm and equal eye, you will never have the real or the integral knowledge.

    Nirodda: But when I wrote to you that I didn’t feel like meditating, you replied, “I don’t see how you can change your lower consciousness without it”; and when I got back the urge to meditate you again said, “That is the only thing to do.”

    Sri Aurobindo: Perhaps there was a stress on the “you”.

    Nirodda:I have hardly any time for meditation because till 9.30 p.m. I am simply cramped with work, classes, etc. After that I read a little or jump straight into bed and fall into a state of “Sachchidananda”, as Barinbabu terms it. Now how to reconcile the two?

    Sri Aurobindo:Half an hour’s meditation in the day ought to be possible – if only to bring a concentrated habit into the consciousness which will help it, first to be less outward in work and, secondly, to develop a receptive tendency which can bear its fruits even in the work.

    source:http://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/nirodbaran/correspondence_1/0148_e.htm

    Reply
  3. ipi

    The Role of Awareness

    What does this mean for us? The fact that much of this processing is unconscious means that the way we feel in our daily lives is often subject to the whim of our memories. But we can better manage this powerful influence on our lives by increasing our ability to be aware of our internal state of being by becoming more in touch with what all is going on. The practices of meditation and mindfulness help to bring our perceptions into our consciousness.
    …………………

    We are all bowled over by our associative memories from time to time. Mindfulness practices, like meditation or even psychotherapy, can strengthen our ability to tune into these unconscious memories, expanding our awareness. What’s incredible is that neuroimaging has shown us how mindfulness actually changes our brains. It encourages neuronal integration and enhancement of activity in brain regions associated with interpersonal and emotional attunement including the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. There is, in fact, growth in specific brain areas that occurs over time as a result of sustained mindfulness practice. So an expanded and deepened conscious awareness has been shown to correlate with enhanced brain function- more brain activity, increased neuronal interconnectedness, improved left-right brain coordination, and even, further growth of brain tissue. Pretty amazing.

    source:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-emotional-calendar/201012/neuroscience-awareness-and-the-seasonal-approach-0

    Reply
  4. ipi

    Meditation and Purification

    Disciple: In an article Krishnaprem says that meditation can’t be fruitful for those who have not achieved a high degree of inner development and purification.

    Sri Aurobindo: I do not know what Krishnaprem said or in which article, I do not have it with me. But if the statement is that nobody can have a successful meditation or realise anything till he is pure and perfect, I fail to follow it; it contradicts my own experience. I have always had realisation by meditation first and the purification started afterwards as a result. I have seen many get important, even fundamental realisations by meditation who could not be said to have a great inner development. Are all Yogis who have meditated to effect and had great realisations in their inner consciousness perfect in their nature? It does not look like it to me. I am unable to believe in absolute generalisations in this field, because the development of spiritual consciousness is an exceedingly vast and complex affair in which all sorts of things can happen and one might almost say that for each man. It is different according to his nature and that the one thing that is essential is the inner call and aspiration and the perseverance to follow always after it no matter how long it takes or what are the difficulties or impediments — because nothing else will satisfy the soul within us.

    (Sri Aurobindo. CWSA vol. 35, Letters on Himself and the Ashram, p 230, 17 May 1936)

    Sandeep: Krishnaprem(1898-1965) was the monastic name of Ronald Henry Nixon. See Mirtola

    Reply
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  6. Sandeep Post author

    Evidence Builds That Meditation Strengthens the Brain

    Earlier evidence out of UCLA suggested that meditating for years thickens the brain (in a good way) and strengthens the connections between brain cells. Now a further report by UCLA researchers suggests yet another benefit.

    Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate

    […]

    Of the 49 recruited subjects, the researchers took MRI scans of 23 meditators and compared them to 16 control subjects matched for age, handedness and sex. (Ten participants dropped out.) The scans for the controls were obtained from an existing MRI database, while the meditators were recruited from various meditation venues. The meditators had practiced their craft on average for 20 years using a variety of meditation types — Samatha, Vipassana, Zen and more.

    Read more @ http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314170647.htm

    Reply
  7. Sandeep Post author

    Study finds strong correlation between how much your mind wanders and your working memory capacity. – from the Scientific American

    Working memory is our ability to hold onto information for a short period of time, like keeping a phone number in mind while you search for your cell phone.

    Now a study finds that your capacity for working memory is directly related to how often your mind wanders.

    Scientists had subjects press a button when they saw a letter appear on a computer screen. Periodically during this task the researchers would ask the subjects whether they were actively focusing on the task or if they were thinking about something else.

    The researchers also measured each subject’s working memory capacity, by testing the ability to remember a series of letters interspersed with basic math problems.

    It turns out that those with a larger working memory capacity reported more distraction during the task. Indicating that our working memory strives to work at capacity. Such subjects had greater focus when tested with more complicated tasks.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=mind-wandering-is-linked-to-your-wo-12-03-17

    Reply
  8. Sandeep Post author

    Meditation on Chakras discussed in the Agni Purana : 356

    Now I shall deal with the mode of thought-concentration, known as the Amritadharana in the occult nerve ganglion situate over the spot In the brain from which the thousand strings of communication seem to radiate in all directions, the Yogin should contemplate a white light, resembling the beams of the full moon, and scintillating with the unheard roar of Infinite benediction, which can be detected; as it were by the Sight. A similar mystic lotus should be imagined as well in the region of the heart, and the Yogic should meditate upon an ethereal miniature of his own corporeal body. By means of Dharana, a Yogin can acquire a bodily state which knows no fatigue.

    (Manmatha Nath Dutt. Agni Purana, vol. 2, Delhi, India : Sri Satguru Publications, 2009, p 1313)

    Reply
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  10. mike

    Talking about ‘working memory’, l just read this:

    “What’s even more interesting, is that scientists know for a fact that your working memory is closely tied with your fluid intelligence. [3][4] One recent study even revealed that a child’s working memory at 5 years of age is a better predictor of their academic success than their IQ”

    l’m also wondering if the use of certain supplements like Gotu Kola , which apparently, has been used by yogi’s in the himalaya’s for thousands of years as an aid to meditation, because it has such a calming effect. Have SA and Mother ever mentioned the use of herbal aids?

    Reply
  11. ipi

    WORK OR MEDITATION?

    Champaklal: I was holding strong views on the subject. I had always felt that meditation was not at all necessary. When I came to Mother, this idea became stronger. One day, however, I asked Sri Aurobindo whether work was not enough and meditation was at all necessary. He replied emphatically that meditation was very necessary. He explained why it was necessary to sit in meditation. Among other things he said that when one sits quietly one can receive fully what comes from above. This habit must be formed. I may add that my subsequent experience has confirmed what he said.

    http://www.sriaurobindoashram.com/Content.aspx?ContentURL=_StaticContent/SriAurobindoAshram/-09%20E-Library/-03%20Disciples/Champaklal/-04_Champaklal%20Treasures/-00_Contents.htm

    Reply
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  13. Sandeep Post author

    Some effective aids for meditation – from Collected Works of the Mother, vol 9

    The Role of Imagination in Meditation:
    Question: Sweet Mother, when you tell us to meditate on a subject we choose, for instance, to meditate that we are opening to the light; we imagine all sorts of strange things, we imagine a door opening, etc., but this always takes a mental form.

    How to Meditate on Words and Ideas:
    Question:Mother, in the Friday Classes, you often read a sentence to us and ask us to meditate on it. But how should we meditate on a sentence? That is, should we think, meditate on the idea or… what should we do?

    Read the entire Q&A @
    http://integralmusings.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/some-aids-for-effective-meditation-the-mother/

    Reply
  14. mike

    Also, some are not asked to meditate as Mother says below. l think that question by Champaklal was made around 1929 and long before the Supramental Descent on 29th of Feb 1956. From what l understand it all depends on the individual sadhak anyway, but l’ve also read that the Descent has made it much easier these days.

    ” Meditation and Progress
    The number of hours spent in meditation is no proof of spiritual progress. It is a proof of your progress when you no longer have to make an effort to meditate. Then you have rather to make an effort to stop meditating: it becomes difficult to stop meditation, difficult to stop thinking of the Divine, difficult to come down to the ordinary consciousness.
    Then you are sure of progress, then you have made real progress when concentration in the Divine is the necessity of your life, when you cannot do without it, when it continues naturally from morning to night whatever you may be engaged in doing. Whether you sit down to meditation or go about and do things and work, what is required of you is consciousness; that is the one need -to be constantly conscious of the Divine.
    But is not sitting down to meditation an indispensable discipline, and does it not give a more intense and concentrated union with the Divine?
    That may be. But a discipline in itself is not what we are seeking. What we are seeking is to be concentrated on the Divine in all that we do, at all times, in all our acts and in every movement. There are some here who have been told to meditate; but also there are others who have not been asked to do any meditation at all. But it must not be thought that they are not progressing. They too follow a discipline, but it is of another nature. To work, to act with devotion and an inner consecration is also a spiritual discipline. The final aim is to be in constant union with the Divine, not only in meditation but in all circumstances and in all the active life.”

    http://www.searchforlight.org/Themotheronmeditationmeditationandprogress.htm

    Reply
  15. mike

    “But is not sitting down to meditation an indispensable discipline, and does it not give a more intense and concentrated union with the Divine?”

    Sorry, that is obviously a question by a disciple, in the middle.

    Reply
  16. Sandeep Post author

    U.S. Marines studying mindfulness-based training

    CAMP PENDLETON, California (AP) — The U.S. Marine Corps is studying how to make its troops even tougher through meditative practices, yoga-type stretching and exercises based on mindfulness.

    The School Infantry-West at Camp Pendleton will offer the eight-week course starting Tuesday to about 80 Marines as part of an ongoing experiment.

    Read more @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/19/us-marines-studying-mindfulness-based-training/1847519

    Reply
  17. mike

    Yes, l came across this so-called ‘mindfullness meditation’ yesterday on an alternative channel in the UK.
    The bit about this is about 26:25 minutes into the show, so if you click on that time you’ll get straight to it. The news just before it is actually about a US soldier suffering stress after killing someone, so that might be worth watching too.
    The point is this so-called ‘mindfullness’ is being put forward as a remedy for mental health and stress problems, but it looks like there might be some shady characters and organisations behind it aka NLP under a different guise. Caution is adviced IMO.
    Here is the article on it from the Daily Mail and the news vid underneath:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2263949/Mindfulness-Meditation-ease-pain-stress-related-conditions-like-IBS-arthritis.html

    Reply
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  19. Hari

    I am not good at meditation. But today while meditating, my face and hands shook a little. I was doing the kind of meditation that involves rejecting thought one by one. What does it mean – is it a sign, must I continue?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Don’t get too elated by these trivial signs in the beginning. You need an overwhelming experience to really get started down the spiritual path, and when that happens, you will know it.

      Just aim to stay alert and focused the whole time; don’t fall asleep and don’t get misled by hallucinations. After meditation, the head must feel cool and the heart must feel happy. That’s the only sign you should look out for.

      Reply
  20. Sandesh

    Dear Sandeep,
    Do you have any comments regarding “walking” meditation, I have read that Sri Aurobindo used to walk a lot as a part of his sadhana(I dont remember the source). I would appreciate if you could share some practical aspects “as usual”
    thanks

    Reply
  21. hari

    Does SA or Mother still respond to us when we call on them during difficulty (during meditation, sadhana etc.)?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      yes, there are some who continue to feel their presence and guidance. The contact is often fleeting and prone to distortions of the human mind so one has to be careful not to overinterpret and get excited about it.

      Reply
  22. Hari

    I meditated and twice I felt a deep, strong humming sound. Ramana Maharishi says one should ignore experiences. What did Aurobindo say – the same or we should see experiences as signs?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      The advice Sri Aurobindo gave varied depending on the individual. Generally speaking, those who are over-eager for experiences are asked to ignore them, while those who can get fruitful guidance from them are asked to pay attention

      Reply
  23. web site

    “Meditation | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother” ended up being genuinely
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    hard to manage. With thanks, Gudrun

    Reply
  24. mwb6119

    Any thoughts on this quotation by The Mother?

    “A sincere consecration of all you are and all you do is for the
    sadhana much more effective than meditation.”
    The Mother
    ref. MCW, vol. 14, Words of the Mother – II, p.100

    I’ve never meditated. Most my progress came by concentration: focusing attention with eyes-open and while busy with daily tasks.

    Also, I heard that meditation is not for everyone. But, now I am curious and may give it a try. Why not? 🙂 Cannot hurt.

    Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        Whether meditation is necessary depends on the individual and the Guru. There were cases where the Mother told some disciples that they should diligently do the work that she assigned them while she would do their Sadhana (they would automatically attain because they were part of Her consciousness).

        On the other hand, Champaklal once asked Sri Aurobindo whether meditation is necessary and the latter replied in the affirmative (can’t find the quote right now but it could be in the Evening Talks or in the Letters on Yoga).

      2. mwb6119

        Thanks Sandeep. Sometimes you know when you need to do something, and until now it had never even came to my attention, rather, no indication. This might be the time to begin.

      3. Sandeep Post author

        Mark

        Here is the quote from Champaklal’s book “Champaklal Treasures” (page 4)

        Work or meditation: I was holding strong views on the subject. I had always felt that meditation was not at all necessary. When I came to Mother, this idea became stronger. One day, however, I asked Sri Aurobindo whether work was not enough and meditation was at all necessary. He replied emphatically that meditation was very necessary. He explained why it was necessary to sit in meditation. Among other things he said that when one sits quietly one can receive fully what comes from above. This habit must be formed. I may add that my subsequent experience has confirmed what he said.

        Online at http://www.motherandsriaurobindo.org/Content.aspx?ContentURL=_StaticContent/Sriaurobindoashram/-09%20E-Library/-03%20Disciples/Champaklal/-04_Champaklal%20Treasures/-01_Reminiscences.htm

    1. mwb6119

      “There are three methods or stages for achieving *this [*leaving the body or consciously expanding the mind and vital. -Satprem]; the first, which is at everyone’s disposal, is, sleep; the second , rarer is conscious exteriorization or deep meditation; the third, in which everything becomes simple, demonstrates a more advanced degree of development: it is indeed possible to see everything, without using sleep or meditation, with our eyes wide open in the middle of the other activities, as though all the levels of the universal existence were standing before us and were accessible through simple shifts of consciousness, somewhat the way we adjust our focus to shift from a nearby object to a distant one.” [Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness, by Satprem, pp.124-25]

      *The third method is similar to what I experienced. Of course, sleep also, but I have no means of recording or measuring those experiences.

      Reply
  25. mw

    This excerpt is from the last two pages of MP Pandit’s booklet “Dhyana”:

    “…Dhyana and its culmination samadhi provide the psychological condition, the environment and the mood for the the Divine Force to work effectively and establish itself in the being. The foundations are laid and the individual consciousness is taught to attune itself to the vibrations of the Higher Consciousness, to receive and absorb its very substance into itself. BUT THIS CAN BE DONE BY OTHER MEANS ALSO. WHAT THOSE MEANS ARE AND HOW THEY WORK IS A SUBJECT BY ITSELF WHICH WOULD TAKE US BEYOND THE PROPER LIMITS OF THE PRESENT STUDY.”

    Does anyone know if Sri Pandit continued this discussion (the final lines of the paragraph highlighted above). I would like to know the specific book title if possible. Thank You!

    Reply
  26. Sandeep Post author

    Claims based on study of mice !

    Neuroscience Reveals the Nourishing Benefits That Silence Has on Your Brain

    In exposing groups of mice to a selection of sounds, Duke University regenerative biologist Imke Kirste was trying to see which one might spark the creation of new brain cells. She used silence as her control.

    She found that two hours of silence a day produced new cell creation in the hippocampus, the main part of the brain associated with memory. In reviewing the results, Kirste concluded that silence could have been such a strange departure from the norm that it heightened the mice’s alertness.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons and integrate into the system,” Kirste said.

    http://www.inc.com/betsy-mikel/your-brain-benefits-most-when-you-listen-to-absolutely-nothing-science-says.html

    Reply
  27. arya

    I know this may sound like an odd question, but is there any way to ‘leave’ the body during meditation? As long as we’re tied down to the body, meditation seems to inadvertently shift to bodily sensations like ‘my back is hurting’ or ‘my legs are tingling’ etc. So is there some way to break out of this prison?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Maybe taking up Hatha Yoga would calm the body ?

      You have to advance in meditation in order to ‘eject’ out of the physical body. Its called “vital exteriorization” mentioned here https://auromere.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/explaining-out-of-body-and-near-death-experiences/

      Also, you do leave the body sometimes during dreams at night, so if you are able to put yourself to sleep in a meditative state before sleeping, it might improve meditation when you are awake. See
      https://auromere.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/towards-more-conscious-sleep-and-dreaming/
      and
      https://auromere.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/a-contemplation-exercise-before-going-to-sleep/

      Reply
  28. arya

    What method did Vivekananda use? I read he was very young when he died, so it couldn’t have been natural causes. Did he use some yogic technique to leave the body?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      He exited from the Sahasrara at the top of the head. There was some blood at that point based on accounts written by his brother monks.

      It is best not to pursue this angle of meditation further. A premature exit from the body can invite attacks from malevolent spirits which exist in the universe. They can take over your body.

      Reply
      1. arya

        I understand.

        It’s said Vivekananda suffered from insomnia. Is there a spiritual reason for this, such as consciousness refusing to go to sleep and being awake at all times?

        Happy new year.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        I haven’t read enough of Vivekananda’s biographies to specculate on the reason behind his insomnia. He was born for the purpose of spreading Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s teachings and he achieved that goal. I accept that fact over and above everything else.

        While on the topic of illness, it is worth noting that the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram used to suffer from irregular heartbeats but managed to live till 95. See the book written by the doctor who attended to her
        https://auromere.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/reminiscences-of-the-mothers-physician-dr-bisht/

      3. Sandeep Post author

        See Saradananda’s biography of Ramakrishna, “Sri Ramakrishna – The Great Master”, Section V.7, page 773 (page 889 of the PDF)

        Ramakrishna told Vivekananda, “All the parts of your body have good characteristics. The only defect is that you breathe a little heavily when asleep. Yogis say that one breathing so heavily is short-lived”.

        http://www.estudantedavedanta.net/Sri%20Ramakrishna%20-%20The%20Great%20Master%20by%20Swami%20Saradananda%20%5B1080%20Pages,%20A%20Detailed%20Biography%5D%20(1)_r.pdf

  29. S

    there is another technique I had read about. There is an endless traffic of thoughts going in and out of our mind. One thought enters and by the time it exits the next one enters. but if we notice carefully, there is a very tiny gap in between 2 thoughts. This gap is too tiny to even be noticed most of the time. Most of us concentrate on the thoughts and ignore the gaps. Ideally, we should concentrate on the gaps and ignore the thoughts thereby increasing the gap duration and decreasing the thought duration.

    Reply
  30. S

    And one more technique – had practised this for about 2-3 sessions each of 30-35 min duration. While sitting in a comfortable position with eyes closed, begin with the toes and work upwards relaxing every part of your body until you reach the top of the head. Essentially this technique helped me in temporarily losing body consciousness. So even if thoughts did enter my mind, there were no disturbances in my body like nervousness, anxiety, excitement, fear, anger, irritation etc. (eg – no change in the rhythm of my breath, no getting goose bumps, no butterflies in my stomach, no tightness in the chest or jaw or head). I have never attempted any meditation whereby i have to sort of “watch my thoughts without identifying with them”.
    would this technique be equivalent to it?

    Reply
      1. S

        Can u describe to me wot exactly is watching your thoughts without identifying with them? Iam not really clear on that.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        As long as you identify with the body, you tend to assume that your thoughts are your own.

        One way to stimulate the change would be to visualize you are looking at yourself from behind your head. This change of perception can stimulate the awakening of the Mental Purusha. Then you might see that the thoughts which enter your mind are coming from the environment.

        If it works, you might feel some coolness in the forehead region because the thought process has stopped momentarily.

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