What is Meditation?
Meditation and Yoga are not two different things. As a matter of fact, the word ‘yoga’ encompasses meditation. Meditation is the seventh of the eight steps that define yoga.Eight stages of yoga: 1. Yama, Social conduct 2. Niyama, Personal conduct 3. Àsana, Posture 4. Prànàyàma, Study of cosmic energy via breath control 5. Pratyàhàr, Introvertness 6. Dhàranà, Concentration 7. Dhyàna, Meditation 8. Samàdhi, Self realization
Meditation is a state of being and not of doing. Therefore, one cannot ‘do’ meditation; meditation happens. We can also say it is a state of doing nothing. Doing nothing is not a ‘doing.’ Our entire life is geared around doing and becoming. As a matter of fact, we should be called human ‘doing’ rather than human ‘being’. Or, we should have been categorized as human ‘becoming’ rather than human ‘being.’ At the end we will learn to reach the state of being.
Most of our moments are filled with stress and feelings of becoming what we are not. For example, I may not be the head of the department but I would like to become one. I may not be tall but I try my best to put on an inch or two to my height. I may think I am not naturally beautiful and therefore put on different make-up to appear beautiful. We are constantly trying to project an image unto others of someone we truly are not. It is also possible that constantly putting an act becomes a habit and we lose contact with our real self. We begin to identify ourselves with the false identity we created.
Sugar is inherently sweet. It does not have to learn to be sweet. Our inherent nature is quietness. Our original nature is silence, bliss, happiness. All parts and organs of our body are designed to be in natural harmony. However, when we impose undue pressure or stress, this state of harmony is disrupted and a series of disease-conditions begin to take form. Any kind of fear or stress release hormones which in their effort to protect the body from phony invaders end up tightening the muscles and reducing blood clotting time. The tightening of muscles restricts the blood flow and nourishment to the body is jeopardized. Hence the health of organs is adversely affected.
Meditation calms the mind and reduces the flow of thoughts from and to the brain. Thus, the perception that gives rise to fear is eliminated and the frequency of fight or flee response reduced. Our body feels relaxed. Blood circulation flows at an optimum rate and so does nourishment to all organs. The heart rate is drastically reduced. Blood pressure reaches healthier levels. The brain reflects more alpha than beta waves. During this stage every organ works in harmony with each other. As a result all the organs perform at their best. The person meditating experiences harmony within and harmony without. He feels joy and peace.
May we practice for five to ten minutes and enjoy the beauy of this stage. Perhaps it will then motivate us to the daily practice of Yoga.