To perform yoga and meditation, once you are comfortably settled in the posture you have chosen, such as the Lotus position or sitting on the floor tailor fashion, you may begin your meditation in one of two ways. You may close your eyes and concentrate on the space directly above the root of your nose - the seat of the supposedly-atrophied Third Eye; or else, keeping your eyes open, focus on some small article or spot directly in your line of vision. Be sure it is something you see clearly, without straining the eyes.
Let us say you have picked a single letter in the title of a book, printed in bold type on the dust jacket. Concentrate on that letter until the rest of the title fades out of your consciousness. You do not have to stare so hard that your eyes begin to sting and water - just shut everything out except the spot of your choice.
You will soon see nothing on either side, neither words nor individual letters, only what you wish to see. You will also, we might mention in passing, be benefiting your eyesight; but that is what may be termed a fringe benefit.
Now that your attention has been brought under control you are ready for the next step: Transfer your thinking gently to the subject on which you wish to meditate. Withdraw your thoughts from all outward contact, exactly as a tortoise draws its head into its shell. Thus concentration will almost imperceptibly merge into meditation.
Since yoga and meditation are very much an acquired art and take much practice, you will find that at first it will be easiest to select subjects that are not too elusive. In fact, you might try something decidedly concrete, but with a possible spiritual or symbolic side as well. Take, for instance, the human heart. Close your eyes and as you breathe turn your attention inward and try to become physically aware of your pulse-beat, which is also your heart-beat.
Next visualize the heart itself: Think of it as simply a vital muscle pumping blood through the body; think of its four chambers, the valves which make the blood flow always in the same direction, of the relationship to it of the veins and arteries; of its rhythm when you are at peace and its quickened pace when excitement, physical exertion or deep emotion stimulate it; then consider the meaning of a warm heart, a generous heart, a loving heart.
Gradually you will find yourself engrossed in meditation that encompasses much broader vistas and touches upon more lofty considerations than anything which concerns one individual alone. You will feel a sense of peace taking possession of your entire being, and you will be the better for it.
Other subjects which might take you in similar manner from concrete to spiritual contemplation are: light, beginning with a lighted candle and continuing to sunlight and enlightenment and the flow of the spirit; a book, which becomes the symbol of learning; a flower; a cloud. Later on you might choose some historical personage whom you especially admire and with whom you feel a deep sense of identity. Consider his life history, the events which led up to his greatness and what it was that made him particularly admirable; then notice how, for the moment, you are trying to view the world through the prism of his personality.
This will give you an insight and an awareness of Self keener than you ordinarily experience, for in a sense it will be a shared experience. At the same time you will be able to look at yourself as if from another viewpoint. The added insight will help you disentangle your Self from identity with your mind.
Such insight is one of the main objects of meditation, since most of us have never learned to make a distinction between Self and the mind, nor do we stop to realize that they are not one and the same, Self being constant in its inherent nature, while the mind, by its very nature, is subject to endless modification.
You will gain much from this practice of yoga and meditation.
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