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Mind in Meditation

By RV Iyer

When one sits in meditation, mind wanders here and there and never stays on one object. Consequently one cannot get the desired concentration. This situation is due to the following facts:

When a child is born it brings along with it all the impressions of it's previous births both in character and action. It also brings along the ingrained good and bad Karmas. From the time of birth till it is able to talk, the child is considered to be innocent. Slowly the parents inculcate into the mind of the child what is good and what is bad as per their customs.

Not only that the social circumstances in which the parents and the child live also make it understand and modify its mind as need requires. This creates additional impressions in the mind. By the time the child becomes adolescent, slowly desires and ambitions come into the picture which force the mind to adopt new attitudes. It is further contaminated when the child matures sexually and furthermore, as sexual desires dominate the adolescent person.

Attraction to the opposite sex comes automatically and this results in various actions from the youth, steps which may or may not be good. Disappointments start from the time the child goes to school and builds up gradually in the mind with impressions. Sorrow begins to show and this causes bodily afflictions, if not immediately but at a later stage.

Then comes employment and the strains that accompany employment. Marriage and having children increases responsibilities. By the time, this child has is grown up as a full youth, his parents become too old and have to be looked after which is an additional burden with accompanied strains.

To satisfy everybody, the child now has to do many things which normally the child is not supposed to do. But his Karmas will make him to suffer as he is destined. Some may find less sorrow due to their good Karma but majority suffer due to bad Karma. Thus, in life, one finds many ups and downs. One enjoys the pleasures and also suffers the pains.

Mind's natural tendency is to seek pleasure. It cannot withstand disappointments of its desires and when one desire is not fulfilled it feels sorrow resulting in pain. Thus, gradually, a man finds himself burdened with many pains which remain ingrained in the mind.

Along with this, all the actions and all the scenes, such as what one has heard, one has seen, one has touched, one has smelt and tasted also remain in the mind as impressions. Some may remain permanently in the mind just like in a hard disc in a computer. Others will remain as temporary files in the computer and get automatically erased.

When a person sits for meditation, all these impressions remaining in the mind start appearing before the person. Those who teach meditation will say, "Remain detached and watch all that comes before you." This is more easily said than done. It will take years of practice to keep the ego away from all these scenes and watch them dispassionately. You cannot derive any benefit as long as you watch these with attachment of ego. Only when watched with detachment do these impressions unwind themselves.

It is for the purpose of training oneself to watch with detachment, the preliminary steps are recommended. For attaining this attitude there are various tricks in Yoga which come from the Tantras.

  • Mantra recitation - whereby mind concentrates on sound
  • Vipasana - Concentrating on the breath as called by the Buddhists
  • Trataka - Watching an object without blinking the eyes where the mind concentrates on fire
  • Dancing - Mind concentrates on the body movements which is actually earth

There are various other practices in addition to the above four. But they are not necessary for the novice

Among Mantra recitation, the best is Soham. Initially, recite orally with audible sound for some days - say about one or two months. Thereafter, lip movement with sound being audible only to the person who utters. This should be practiced for two months. The next two months recitation should be inside without lip or tongue movement. No sound should be heard by anybody except the chanter who should feel the sound.

Then comes the final stage of practice. SO to be practiced with inhalation and HUM to be practiced with exhalation. Some keep a MALA or garland of beads of Tulsi, Rudraksha, Crystal, Sandalwood etc to keep the count. This is a good practice and has definite benefits to the body and mind. Initially, it will be difficult to combine the breath and recitation but with a few days practice, one will become proficient.

By the time one comes to the easy stage of practicing the Soham mantra inside along with breath, mind becomes more mature as we have made it compulsorily to concentrate on one of its own activities.

Breath concentration is also an easy practice. Initially there will be distractions. But gradually one will gain confidence to concentrate. A few months of practicing breath concentration will definitely be beneficial.

Trataka is to look on a specific object without blinking. For the first few days, one may not be able to concentrate for more than few minutes. You might experiencing watering in your eyes. But persist in intervals and gradually increase the time. This is a very good practice for concentration. You may practice Trataka for a few months.

One can do any dancing, but it should not be accompanied with lust. Those who are dancing in Hare Rama Hare Krishna movement is an example dancing in lust. One can dance simply at home as he likes without any tuition as one pleases.

It is enough to practice one of the above. But if all are practiced simultaneously at intervals every day, quicker results can be achieved. (To be continued.)



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Yogacharya R Venkatachalam Iyer (mumukshuiyer) was born in 1934 at Parur, Kerala, India. He started Yoga at the age of 14 years. He received training in Suryanamaskara from S.P Iyer of Bangalore, India and Yoga from Sundaram of Bangalore, India. He received advance training at Sivanandashram, Rishikesh and Bihar Institute of Yoga, Munger. He took Karma Diksha from Brahmasri Niranjananda Saraswati Swami Maharaj

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