Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Magandang umaga sa inyo! (Good morning to you all!)
I’d summarize to you at this moment what yoga is: as science and practice. Yoga means yoke, a signifier for union. One who practices yoga would want to re-establish a union with the God Self even while the practitioner still resides—in bio-physical form—in the physical plane. There are too many materials on yoga, and a lot of teachers too, so please go ahead and learn from those materials and teachers. I will summarize in this article meditation as a specific yoga practice. As a clarification, this is only a beginner’s meditation kit and not one for the advanced types (mystics, masters).
Meditation as Science. Yoga meditation is a science first of all. It is a method that is the least costly, available for free or for a minimal cost (if acquires it via a workshop), and safe. It is effective in expanding awareness, increasing one’s vibratory frequency, increasing intelligence, acquiring information/knowledge using higher intuition, harnessing beneficial energies (chi, cosmic energy), and integrating life experiences and the self into a coherent tapestry. One can deal with it in the manner of an experiment: go through it, examine the effects along the way, and compare your pre-yoga and yoga meditation practice periods.
Meditation and the Psyche. Meditation is a psychological undertaking, a fact that adds to its scientific import (science of psychology). It comprises a part of the reflective-introspective chain, to note: focusàcontemplationàmeditation. Meditation is not identical to contemplation. But contemplation can be the start of a meditation session. Focus is needed, of course, as one cannot contemplate and meditate without a foundation of focus. Meditation, as method, increases a person’s power of focus and contemplation, in that it provides order and integration to the two processes.
In addition, as an integrative tool, yoga meditation can help stabilize those fractured aspects of the lower self. For instance, if one is emotionally unstable, meditation can aid the practitioner in healing the emotional body (astral body) and harmonize it with one’s cognition (mental body or mind), bio-physical body, and ‘social self’. If the social self is fractured, which causes personality disorder conditions (manifesting in suicidal ideation and sociopathic hostilities), meditation can also be employed to heal and stabilize this aspect of the lower self.
Purposes. The purposes or goals of yoga meditation must be made clear to the person before practicing it. In planning practice, we divide goals into the general objective (main goal) and the specific objectives.
For all seekers, it should be clear that the general objective (long-term or strategic goal) is self-realization or God-realization. They mean the same. Self here means the higher self, while realization refers to the awakening and functioning of the higher self (or God-self), and its direct interventional guidance over one’s lower self or ‘psyche’ even while one is physically awake. For most people, their God-selves are asleep most often, which makes the folks somnambulists or sleep-walkers.
With the inner eye focused on such a goal, one can then move on to the specific objectives whenever one meditates. These specific objectives should accrue to the attainment of the long-term goal. Use meditation, for instance, in looking for a house fit for your purposes (yogi’s house type), spouse to marry, jobs to take, studies to undertake, heal ailing aspects of yourself and/or physique, travels to make, speeches to write, and so on. These specific purposes are often tied up to your needs, both felt needs (of the moment) and those that are arising or yet to emerge.
There are those people who mentor inquirers into using meditation for opening up the 3rd eye. This is psychism, and I declare categorically that I am not among the mentors of psychic crafts. Think many times, Dear Seeker, before you embark on this purpose. Without spiritual awakening and sterling virtues developed in the Path, you will just use those paranormal powers to control and manipulate people, to aggrandize wealth and expand your ego. I am a Teacher of the Path, not a master of psychism.
The Craft or Practice of Meditation. Meditation as a 7th Ray practice often goes hand in hand with prayer. Prayer’s function is to send messages to the higher spheres, while meditation’s function is to receive messages from the same spheres (including from your higher self). In my practice, I often pray before I meditate. Prayer helps one to establish focus & contemplation quickly. It will also help one to invite higher beings such as an Archangel or Angels who can protect you while you’re meditating. Let’s go over the process one after the other:
Abdominal state. Meditate at least 1 & ½ hours after taking a meal, or 1 hour after taking an afternoon snack. It is bad to meditate when there’s too much food in the stomach, as the mass will block the flow of chi (vital energy) and can make you feel bad in your abdomen.
Schedules. I presume you are the urban/suburban Seeker, busy with work schedules. So do your meditation in staggered manner. When ‘capable’ of meditating in full (1 hour per day), meditate for 20 minutes upon waking up (before bath & breakfast), 20 minutes inserted in the morning, and 20 minutes before sleeping. Or, if time permits, 30 minutes upon waking up and 30 minutes before sleeping. If you can’t meditate while in the workplace, then meditate after work and before you take supper.
Duration. When you’re just starting, begin with a regimen of just 10 minutes per day for at least 1 month. On your 2nd month, raise it to 15 minutes per day. On the 3rd month, raise it to 20 minutes total. On the 6th month, go ahead with a total of 30 minutes per day (e.g. 10 upon waking up, 10 at daytime, and 10 before sleeping). Every 2 months thereafter, add an increment of 5 minutes per day for each month, till you get to 45 minutes per day on your 12th month or 1st year. Stay at that schedule for another year. On year 2, begin a regimen of 1 hour daily, and stay at that schedule for at least seven (7) years. Please don’t jump ahead by forcing a 2-5 hour regimen per day during that 7-year period, as this will abruptly open up your chakras, both major and minor. Such regimens are more fit for monks and not for you Seekers.
Where to Face. East or North would be the best cardinal points to face for both prayer and meditation processes. If you meditate using the prostate or supine lying position, then your head must face east or north. My bed faces east, and I meditate using the supine post most often, and it’s been having great effects for me at this cardinal point, rest assured.
Positions. A simple squat with your legs crossed in place of a lotus position for the non-Indians, as our physique were conditioned differently from Indians. Or, sit on a chair, but don’t cross your legs. Chin up, as this will connect your ‘lower terminals’ with your ‘higher terminals’ more easily (don’t ever bow your heads, except when you do your brief prayer before meditation). Or, you can lie down in bed or on the floor (on a mat or carpet), or on a grassy area (make sure there are no bugs or ants). If you squat or sit on a chair, you can use the closed-finger mudra or simply open up your palms and rest them face-up on your lap or near the knee. In supine post, let your palms face the floor (face down). As you advance, you can go ahead and study the mudras that are recommended by yoga schools.
Breathing. Meditation breathing is what makes it stunningly unique. When one masters yoga breathing, it is no longer air but chi (for mystics add cosmic energy) that enters the lungs and your body. Begin by breathing deeply, and visualize white light coming down from above your crown and moving down your aura, then pause a second or two. Then, exhale slowly, with your out-breath even slower than in-breath, and visualize dark energies flowing from your body and out of your nostrils as you exhale, then pause a second or two. Then inhale again in the same slow process, pause, then exhale and pause, and so on. Do this for around 15-22 counts.
Eyes & Brow Focus. You can opt to open or close your eyes. If you choose the open eye option, fix your eyes in a point on the wall or on a space ahead of you. Meantime, put your focus on your brow area. Use that focus during the entire process of meditation. It pays most specially to use a potent focus when inhaling, and when meditating on certain themes.
Music. You may opt to meditate with music. Nature music, new age music, soft classical music, and soft world music would be best. They are musical pieces that elevate and transport you to the higher realms. You can also meditate without music, as this can make you attune to a higher music: the ‘music of the spheres’. Soft musical pieces that are melancholic, such as ballads and love songs, are a no-no in meditation, as they transfix you in sadness and cut you off from a higher awakening that happens when meditating.
Mental Inactivity. While meditating, make sure not to think actively of whatever images, save for the theme you will meditate about. You can opt to meditate without a theme. ‘Empty-mind’ yoga is what zen prescribes, and this technique is difficult for most people to do. I rather recommend the ‘passive thinking’ rather than ‘zero thinking’ technique: observe thoughts that come to your mind, don’t block them, simply observe them as they come, but don’t actively produce thoughts. Guaranteed it is easy to meditate this way. In my case, I was trained to meditate using counting, and so I count a number from inhale to exhale phase, two for the next phase, and so on. 100 counts often equate to 15 minutes, so I don’t have to use a watch or clock to measure time while meditating. 200 counts is 30 minutes more or less.
10. Theme Meditation. After doing the initial focus and conditioning (first 15-22 counts), you can move on to your meditation theme if you opt for this. If counting distracts you, then move on to the theme without counting. Follow the mental inactivity state. When your theme is optimized, move on to the theme-less state, observe the flow of energy, observe the singing of birds in the surrounds, observe the wonderful power of silence, and so on. Then end your meditation.
11. Ending. When ending meditation, go back to your regular breathing. If you meditated for half an hour, breath regularly for at least 10 minutes or 100 counts before standing up. The regular breathing will help bring back your nervous system to regular mode. And don’t just stand up abruptly after the process. For at least two (2) minutes, savor the quietude, the fine environment, the wonderful moment. Meditation should make you exude good mood and harmony.
[Writ 02 October 2007, Quezon City, MetroManila]