attention should be focused on listening to the music. Feel a deep calming and soothing effect flooding your body and mind. Be sure not to doze off, keep the mind alert and attentive.
Trataka (Candle gazing)
This practice involves constant fixed gazing at a candle flame. Sit in any meditative posture. Place a lighted candle at the level of the eyes at a distance of three feet. Open the eyes and gaze intently at the brightest spot of the flame just above the end of the wick (Fig-80). With practice one should be able to gaze for a few minutes without blinking. As soon as the eyes tire and begin to water, close them and relax. Concentrate on the after image of the flame. As soon as this image begins to fade open the eyes again and concentrate on the flame. Alternately concentrate on the candle flame and the after image for 10 to 15 minutes. This practice is called Trataka. Trataka can also be practiced on a small black dot on a wall, a crystal ball, nose tip, a body of water, a shiva lingam, a beautiful flower, night star or any other suitable object. The best time for trataka is in the morning after asanas and pranayamas. One can practice for about 15 minutes. Avoid undue strain.
Approach your teacher or Guru and request him to initiate you into a mantra. Understand the meaning of the mantra and how to chant it. Buy a japa mala preferably made of rudraksh and learn how to use it. Sit in any meditation posture. Visualize a 12 petalled lotus flower in the center of your heart. Visualize the Deity of the mantra or your Guru sifting on top of the lotus-flower. Burn incense and preferably a ghee lamp. Chant the mantra in a slow, deliberate speed. In the beginning the chanting may be loud, with practice it should become soft whisper chanting and later only mental chanting. During mental chanting the lips and the tongue should not move.
Avoid mechanical chanting. Repeat the mantra-with love and devotion practices 16 malas each day.
Observing the breath
Sit as above. Practice one or two pranayama exercises. Then sit quietly steadily observing the breath. The breath will slow down gradually. As the breath slows down feel that all the prana energy and consciousness is slowly with drawing from the sense organs and the extremities of the body towards the brain. Feel that prana energy is withdrawing from the heart and lungs and these two organs are getting increasingly relaxed and restful. Observe that from moment to moment your body is in a breathless state, neither inhaling nor exhaling. Be still and try to be in this breathless state as long as possible. Do not panic, do not have fear. During this breathless state or very slow breathing the mind become very calm and restful. The awareness goes deep within. Feel an increasing sense of relaxation and calmness all over the body and mind.