Yoga Home Page
! The MahaChakra Institute welcomes you to our Meditation retreat, 6/7/03 !
"God manifests through the universe as the universe and God manifests through you as you." - Baba Muktananda
Suggestions to help in meditation: Unplug the telephone and turn off the volume of the answering machine. Get a timer and set it for a certain amount of time, so you don't have to pay attention to a clock. Set aside a certain time of each day to meditate. Consistancy is the key. It's better to meditate five minutes a day, every single day, than to meditate for two hours one day, and forget about it for months.
Don't overdo it at first. It's not that hard to sit still for five minutes a day, if you really put your mind to it. You can start with that if you want, and gradually increase to a half hour. Then, gradually go from once a day to twice a day. Perhaps once when you wake up and once before dinner.
Remember, when you meditate, you don't need as much sleep (I can easily sleep for an hour less than I used to if I meditate for a half hour a day), so there's no point saying, "I don't have the time." (! ! !)
The mind is like a room, with doors here and there. Try to see your thoughts as people walking through a room. One person enters through this door, and exits through that door. Just try to sit back and watch these various people go in and out. If you keep all the doors closed, there's no one in the room!
* * * * *
Why do I meditate?
The Five M's:
1. Mind - the internal dialogue.
2. Meditation - specific techniques for turning down the internal dialogue.
3. Mysticism - what I experience "beyond the mind."
4. Mythology - what my mind comes up with in order to explain the mystery I've percieved.
5. Majick - the ego tries to invent a system of symbol and ritual that give the ego power over the mystery. What sort of experiences have I had "beyond" the internal dialogue? Pick one of the five M's and comment on it.
The Five Branches of Yoga -
1. Karma Yoga - the yoga of working on one's actions.
2. Jnana Yoga - the yoga of insight and wisdom (Swahaya means, "to study the self.")
3. Bhakti Yoga - the yoga of surrender to a higher power. Devotion.
4. Hatha Yoga - the yoga of the physical and esoteric anatomy. (Postures, breath control, etc.)
5. Raga Yoga - the yoga of meditation
(Patanjali's yoga sutra includes all five branches of Yoga. Krisna goes through all five branches in the Bhagavad Gita)
Which of these five areas do I tend to focus on the most?
In what ways have I worked on each of these five areas?
The main viewpoint of Yoga is that we suffer because we are ignorant of our true nature. This conscious mind, which I call "Me" is invariably subject to distorted thinking. Through meditation, we can realize a larger, transcendent consciousness that exists "beyond" this temporary internal dialogue that we call our ego. We can be liberated from suffering by experiencing higher states of consciousness through Yoga. Enlightenment is like waking up. Yoga is like "Tools for waking up".
The Ashtanga (the eight limbs of Yoga - begins in Chapter Two of Patanjali's "Yoga Sutra".)
1) Yama – abstinances – what not to do.
2) Niyama – observances – what to do, what to cultivate.
3) Asana – postures – the physical and esoteric anatomy.
4) Pranayama - breath control – the circulation of the prana.
5) Pratyahara - closing off the sense from outside stimulus – abstraction.
6) Dharani - contemplation, to focus the mind – an object to focus on.
7) Dhyani - meditation, to shut down the mind – to intercept the turmoi.
8) Samadhi - bliss, trance, absorption – to become one with the infinite. These eight limbs, in outline:
1. Yama - what we abstain from (Five Yama):
1) Ahimsa - not to harm (for many, this includes not eating meat)
2) Satya - not to lie
3) Asteya - not to steal
4) Bramacharya - not to be sexually promiscuous
5) Aparigraha - not to be desirous or greedy (attached)
2. Niyama - what we cultivate (Five Niyama):
1) Sansa - purity
2) Santosa - contentment
3) Tapah - moderation
4) Svadhaya - self study
5) Isvara pranidhana - devotion to God
We do these things because it is a lifestyle that reduces the turmoil of the mind, and allows us to perceive the truth, which is the same thing as liberation from suffering.
3. Asana - posture, should be both steady and comfortable. We need immobility. Asana and Pranayama are the main focus of Hatha Yoga. The postures and breath control of Hatha yoga can also be thought of as a form of meditation.
4. Pranayama - breath control. The lungs is the only organ that functions both consciously and unconsciously (voulentarily and invoulentarily). The ancient Yogis recognized this as the connection between the conscious and unconscious mind. Prana means “breath” and “yama” means, “to constrict” or “control.”
5. Pratyahara - Withdrawal, or control of the senses, to close off the senses from outside stimulus. Turning the senses inside. Withdrawing your attention from the information that your senses are giving you. Also, “to abstract” (in other words, to remove from context.)
6. Dharani - contemplation - to focus the mind. A feeling can also be a dharani. It's okay to go from one dharani (focus) to another.
7. Dhyani - meditation proper - to shut down the inner dialogue.
8. Samadhi - perception of what lies beyond the inner dialogue. To merge with the Absolute. To perceive the Self. (In Buddism, the true self is reffered to as "The Buddha Nature".)
In Sanskrit - Sadhana means both: A. Daily practise B. What you see on your particular path in life Enlightenment means both: A. To know the truth B. To be liberated from suffering.
The word dharma means both: A. Correct action B. Truth
Pick one of these terms (Enlightenment, Dharma, Sadhana) and comment on the dichotomy between the two meanings.
+ + +
The First Three Statements in Patajali's Yoga Sutra:
A. Yoga is the interception of the transformations of consciousness (Yoga chitti vritti nirodha).
B. Then the mind recognizes its true nature.
C. At other times [in other words, when you do not have Yoga], the mind appears to assume the form of the transformations of consciousness.
In your own words, write your interpretation of the above three statements.
The Three Bodies and the Pranava (Aum). The soul creates three bodies in order to create karma. They are numbered 1 thru 3 below.
1. Waking consciousness in the Sthula Sarira (The Physical Body, on the physical plane, or Bhuloka). This is the "A" sound in "Aum." It activates our first three Chakras.
2. Dreaming consciousness in the Sukshma Sarira (The Astral Body, on the Astral plane, or Antarloka). This is the "U" sound in "Aum." It activates our fourth Chakra.
3. Deep sleep consciousness in the Karana Sarira (The Causal Body, on the causal plane, or Sivaloka - plane of god). This is the "M" sound in "Aum." It activates our fifth Chakra.
These three bodies are represented in the three lower sections of the Aum, or Pranava of Yoga.
The largest, lowest arc is the physical body.
The line extending to the right in between the lower and upper arc is the astral body.
The upper, smaller arc is the causal body.
The "realm of illusion," or "Maya" is represented visually in the Pranava (the Aum sign) as the semi-circular horizontal slash near the top of the design.
The dot above that on the Pranava is the Bindu, representing the Ajna Chakra, or seat of transcendental awareness. In the human body, this is the mid point between and just above the two eyebrows. Behind this point lies the pineal gland, often called the "master gland".
"When transcendental consciousness is developed to co-exist with the waking state of consciousness, then the inner state of no problems co-exists with the outer world of problems. Man lives in freedom while acting in the field of bondage. This is the glory of the path of action."
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi