“In the centre of every whirling wheel, there is an absolutely still point.
Weary of the whirl? Go rest in the centre.” Swami Veda Bharati
“Meditation is a method of exploring inner dimensions of life and to introduce you to yourself on all levels. We train the mind to let go of its tendencies to think, analyze, remember, or solve problems and relax into a clear, quiet, focus within.” Swami Rama of the Himalayas
How do we get to this still point? This clear, quiet, focus within? We systematically remove the obstacles to this knowing and there is an ever-expanding awareness of what never changes, what is never harmed, that is always here. A phrase we use to describe our true nature is “ever pure, ever wise, ever free”.
What is freedom? What keeps us stuck? What are the obstacles to knowing inner peace? What disturbs our mind? A big part of the answer is in my book, Friends With Your Mind, How To Stop Torturing Yourself With Your Thoughts.
I love how yoga philosophy is organized into 8 steps or rungs. This isn’t a ladder in the sense of moving sequentially up. We do them in order and we also keep working with all of the steps.
“Here is a hero’s journey of courage and compassion. It is a step by step journey of how to take the mystery out of healing the nervous system. Lynn is a master at breaking down the elements needed toward becoming intimate with how our thinking and nervous system works and making positive change, replacing confusion with confidence.” Sutra Ray Robinson, Wake Up Sessions
We begin with ten guidelines for daily life, the yamas and niyamas. They begin with kindness and truth and include cultivating contentment, letting go of attachment and self-study. Our life needs to “work” for our mind to be healthy and calm.
The third and fourth steps are asana (yoga poses) and pranayama, working with our body, breath and energy. We need a fit vessel. It is difficult to meditate if our body is sluggish or our nervous system is in a state of alarm.
With the solid base of the first four steps (hatha yoga), we become more able to work directly with the mind. Step five is pratyahara, withdrawal of the mind from the senses. We might manage sensory input as part of this. I don’t watch scary movies in part because I don’t want those images stored in my brain. It is also a skill. We train the mind to be aware of sense perceptions, images and thoughts that trigger reactions and sensations. We develop the capacity to witness or observe the ever changing flow of experience.
Do this practice for 2 minutes.
What was that experience like for you? Were you able to focus completely or did you notice your mind wandering? Concentration (dharana) naturally develops as we train our mind through practice. Our mind becomes healthier and stronger through working with the first five rungs. We develop the capacity to be one-pointed, to gather our scattered energies and focus within.
Meditation (dhyana) isn’t something we do exactly. The still, silent depths of our mind become accessible. We may use mantra during meditation. Our lives become less chaotic and disturbing. Our bodies, breath and energy become strong and healthy. We now have more capacity to witness thoughts coming and going without reacting. We experience stillness and peace. We have a glimpse, a few seconds or minutes of awareness. We may even have a direct experience of unity, a dropping of all separation, of joy.
Samadhi is the eighth rung. We realize the “knower”. The fruit of meditation is that our mind becomes free of vrittis, waves or disturbances. Stillness gradually permeates the entire mind field and we rest in our true nature.
Yoga and meditation is a process involving all the layers of our being. We practice.
Click here for free guided relaxation, meditation and inquiry practices: YouTube Insight Timer
“With simple, practical suggestions, Lynn takes the reader through the process of how to change our relationship to thoughts, and how we can free ourselves from the tyranny of our thinking.” Fiona Murphy, Living Inquiries Facilitator and Clinical Social Worker