Meditation in english is an all encompassing word. It refers to focussed attention (Dhaarna) which is a preparation towards a state of no thought and the state of no thought -Meditation (Dhyaan) and to a state of extreme bliss and ecstasy -Enlightenment (Samaadhi).
Meditative state of mind is considered the highest attainable mental state. When life becomes meditative there is hardly any difference between seated meditation and the rest of the life experience. We should try to achieve this state so that you remain undisturbed even in the midst of life’s unrelenting pressures.
The preparation to a meditative state of mind is written so beautifully by Patanjali in his yoga sutras. A proper blue print has been given for this called RAJYOG.
All types of YOGA ( Raj yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti Yoga & Gyan yoga ) are known to us and each lay down a path to attain eternal bliss. Out of them RAJYOG has 8 limbs :
1) Yam 2) Niyam 3) Aasan 4) Pranayaam 5) Pratyahara 6) Dharana 7) Dhyaan 8) Samaadhi
Samaadhi is the ultimate outcome of the process we follow. No one can do any kriya to achieve samaadhi. It just happens.
Raj Yog is not for everyone. It is for Raj-(Royal) people : Those who are rich in their inner consciousness. Can everyone walk on Raj-Path (Royal Way)? Only special royal people are allowed to walk on Raj-Path because those who walk this Royal Path have very special qualities within them, they are uplifted in their inner consciousness. If you apply these limbs in any area of your life, then also you will achieve supreme consciousness – ultimate system – Samadhi.
YAM has 5 parts :
1)Ahimsa – Non violence. Not hurting anyone by any means i.e. thought(vichaar), action(karm) or words (vani)
2) Satya – Being truthful towards others & towards self. Seeing, hearing and speaking only truth.
3) Brahmacharya – Avoiding lustfulness, conservation of sexual energy, avoiding lustful talks, readings and visuals etc.
4) Aparigraha – Avoiding to accumulate things which not your priorities. Accumulating unwanted stuffs either physically or mentally causes decline in your efficient conduct.
5) Aste – Not stealing things. Should not take ownership of something which does not belong to you.
NIYAM also has 5 parts :
1)Shauch– Clean body but more importantly clean mind will lead to clean action.
2)Santosh– To stay contented/satisfied with your what you have.
3)Tapa– Self discipline, voluntary submission for some activity ( e.g. washing vessels voluntarily in some ashram). Service without expectation is Tapa – like volunteers do. If you have a hidden purpose it can break your Tapa.
4)Swadhyaya– Studying yourself and study by yourself. When you go through Vedas, you find answers to your question. You find guidance to start work with a new thought process. Thats why, it good to be in good company. It may be of books or people. Swadhyay involves 2 process while studying yourself –Chintan and Manan
Chintan means thinking deeply and recalling experiences that are deep inside, getting connected to your thoughts.
Manan means to verify that with your wisdom through practice.
This is a beautiful process to review yourself. That’s why it is suggested to do Chintan and Manan every evening before going to sleep.
When you do this daily – review of your thoughts and actions, you will realise your mistakes and next time you won’t repeat them knowingly. Your actions will be valuable. Your thoughts will be valuable. Your words will be valuable. Your actions will be valuable. You will efficiently use your energy.
5)Eeshwar parnidhan – : Parnidhaan – Realising (dedicate, devote, or surrender), Eeshwar – the thing which is existing in you -Soul (atma). So Eeshwar parnidhan means that realising the Soul that exists within you; To focus on the processes though which merging of your individual soul with the divine supreme soul can be achieved and to devote yourself completely for the same.
Asana is a posture that one can hold for a period of time, staying relaxed, steady, comfortable and motionless. The Yoga Sutra does not list any specific asana. Any posture that causes pain or restlessness is not a yogic posture. A posture that gives extreme sense of pleasure to you is the right posture for you. This posture has the power to take you to divine.
Prāṇāyāma is the control of the breath, from the Sanskrit prāṇa (प्राण, breath) and āyāma (आयाम, restraint). Breath control means that without your permission, breath can not enter or exit. When we have this level of control then we can choose our time of death and extend our life span according to our wish.
Pratyāhāra is a combination of two Sanskrit words prati- (the prefix प्रति-, “against” or “contra”) and āhāra (आहार, “bring near, fetch”).Pratyahara is drawing one’s awareness within. It is a process of retracting the sensory experience from external objects. It is a step of self extraction and abstraction. This happens to the seekers very naturally. When we follow any practice and go deep in our practice, there will come a point when the inner being will loose all desires in the external world and its focus will turn inwards. It will realise that all things stem out from within. The external world is a reflection or projection of what is happening inside us. So, why bother with the projection, work with the projector.
To bring the multi-tasking mind to focus in one place is Dharana. The mind can be fixed on a mantra, tantra or yantra, or one’s breath/navel/tip of tongue/any place, or an object one wants to observe, or a concept/idea in one’s mind. You can pick whatever you wish. This is the practicing of controlling the mind. The object of focus should be enjoyable to you else you would lose focus.
Dhyana (Sanskrit: ध्यान) literally means “contemplation, reflection, meditation”. Dhyana is contemplating, reflecting on whatever Dharana has focused on. If in the sixth limb of yoga one focused on a personal deity, Dhyana is its contemplation. If the concentration was on one object, Dhyana is non-judgmental, non-presumptuous observation of that object.
Samadhi is oneness with the subject of meditation. There is no distinction, during the eighth limb of yoga, between the actor of meditation, the act of meditation and the subject of meditation. Samadhi is that spiritual state when one’s mind is so absorbed in whatever it is contemplating on, that the mind loses the sense of its own identity. The thinker, the thought process and the thought fuse with the subject of thought. There is only oneness, samadhi. Everything dissolves into void (Shunya).
Many people achieve this state and then return to body with this awareness that they are VOID, they are nothing and they are everything. This makes them aware of their true state of being that they are para brahma – supreme being. Then they live their life as God. In India, we call them as sages and saints and sometimes award the title of GOD as they have touched their GODSELF. But everyone is capable of this and then life itself becomes meditative as you live life knowing your true self.
This becomes very similar to an actor playing a role of a character. The actor being God and character being human.