A Layman’s Guide to Mindful Meditation


A Layman’s Guide to Mindful Meditation

“Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.” ~ Rumi

Here’s the thing: we all know we should meditate, right? Even conventional doctors are informing us about the huge benefits of meditation. But how do we go about doing it exactly? And does it really matter how we do it?

When it comes down to it, meditation can be as simple, or as complex, as we want it to be. There’s a myriad of styles. Some are faux pas. Some are cliché. Some are even down-right silly. And I’ll go more into these various styles in later articles. But when we really get down to the crux of the matter, meditation is essentially about one thing that can be broken up into a myriad of things: Presence. Being present to the moment is the umbrella that all things mindful fall below. But what is it about this “moment” that is so important? Why is all this fuss about the “here and now”?

All of life is a moving meditation. The universe itself is a vibrating orchestra of varying frequencies (or collapsing wave functions) all in superposition with each other. Essentially, meditation is the act of familiarizing, or re-familiarizing, ourselves with our own unique contribution to this orchestra. Learning how to meditate is nothing short of becoming present to the inter-connectedness of all things. When we meditate we come to realize that we are both the seer and the seen. We are an extension of the universe becoming aware of itself. This is the importance of presence. Being in the moment, and especially being quiet and listening to what the moment has to say, is the foundation of healthy, mindful meditation.

So if our goal is to achieve presence with the vibration of the universe, and presence is about being in the moment and familiarizing ourselves with the current state of our mind-body-soul, then how do we actually do it?

We do it by finding a sacred “place” to “perform” our meditation. It can be anywhere. It can be in a peaceful, natural setting or a quiet room. It can be in a crowded mall. It can even be in a schoolyard with a thousand kids screaming their little-kid head’s off. Obviously, if you’re just beginning, a quiet place is preferable, but it can be done just about anywhere. The point is the meditation place is inside us. The key to mindfulness isn’t necessarily about discovering peace and quiet “out there.” It’s primarily about discovering peace and quiet “in here.”

The main purpose for resonating with this sacred vibration is to nix the overreach of the Ego. When we practice mindful meditation we are practicing getting out of our own way. When we nix Pride and small-mindedness, we free ourselves to unfold the Spirit Lotus, to kick open the third-eye (or ajna chakra), and to awaken the mysteries that have been hiding within. Having done this, we open ourselves up to a torrent of creative energy that comes pouring down into our pineal gland. A super-flow experience occurs that takes us out of small mind and launches us into Big Mind. This energy is a raw current that transports us to the “Transformation Place.” It’s a place where all cosmic knowledge is stored, and where the sacred Akashic Records are held. Here, we are free to trump our selfish “being” with interconnected “becoming.”

At the end of the day, meditation helps us to take a step back and get a different perspective. It helps us realize that we may not be able to change everything, but we can change the way we experience things. The key to tricking our “being” into “becoming” is to search for the cracks between light and dark, between chaos and order, between inhalation and exhalation, and to vibrate there with the cosmos; so as to become the type of Promethean person who can steal fire from the gods and then share it with the rest of us.

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.

Om Namah Shivay

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Shouldering The Burden Of Others


Is the misery less even if one is bound with chains made of gold?

No, bondage is bondage whether chains are made of gold or iron.The bondage of satkarma, good actions, is that of gold, and that of asatkarma, bad actions, iron. Both are to be broken off. One has to refrain from bad actions so that iron chains might not be forged; and good actions are to be effected, but offer the golden chains at the feet of Paramatma, saying: “I do not desire the fruits of my good actions, I offer them to You.“

As long as the physical body exists, some actions are bound to be performed. No one can help doing actions.Respiration is itself an action. Even if one does not desire any action and sleeps, then that sleep, too, is an action. Good, and not bad actions, must be performed, which too are to be offered to the Supreme. Now the question arises whether the reactions will be just (equal) to the actions, or less, or more. Equal and opposite reaction is the rule, but then, whether the enjoyment of the reaction of actions is purely psychic or physicopsychic is to be seen.

Where the action is purely mental, the reaction will be just equal to it. But the reaction of physico-psychic action does not affect the mind cent per cent. If the mind is not affected by physico-psychic action, nothing happens. If there be some quantity of the reaction of physico-psychic action (that affects the body), in that case, the reaction will be much more than the action performed. The mind will be affected just according to the psychic action ­ that is the case with psychic actions. Action in the pure physical sphere does not affect the mind. The pure psychic coupled with the physical of a physico-psychic reaction, add up to produce a greater reaction. So the quantity of reaction in case of a physico-psychic action becomes much greater. Hence one should be careful.

There are so many grades of spiritual practitioner. Some wish to exhaust their samskaras as soon as possible and accept whatever is due. Others say , “I am ready to bear the fruits of my own actions and bear the samskaras (reactions to past actions) of others.“

Some want to carry the burdens of others so that others might not be in trouble. The practitioner reaches a stage where complete devotion is aroused for the Supreme. Then one remains unaffected even if a cyclone of misery attacks him. The sadhaka of that stage is called `dagdhabiija’ or `burnt seed’. A dagdhabiija comes within the range of the psychic directly .

Biija means `seed’. Wherever a seed is sown, it sprouts into a plant; but where the seed is burnt, a plant is not produced. A sadhaka becomes dagdhabiija when he has no more pain or pleasure of his own. One who has surrendered in toto is dagdhabiija. All carry their own burdens, but if a dagdhabiija sadhaka so desires, he can carry the burdens of others also. And those who want to carry the burden of others do lessen the burden of Paramatma indirectly .You should remember this.

Do not remain worried about your individual problems at all. Be prepared to carry your own burden and be prepared also to carry the burdens of others. Then alone are you brave. Be dagdhabiija.

Om Namah Shivay

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What Do Meditation And Sex Have In Common?

Orgasms are a result of sensory stimulation that culminates in climactic bliss. It isn’t difficult to comprehend why many yearn for such a blissful, albeit fleeting, state.
The goal of any species is to make more copies of itself. From an evolutionary standpoint, orgasm acts as a motivator, a reward, to reproduce. Why? Because physical union is the only means to “spread the seed” for many species. The desire to experience this unique sensation persuades us to reproduce because sex is the gateway to this euphoria. This is why when we are adolescents and young adults, a stage in our life with highest reproductive success, our minds strategically make this sensory gratification such a high priority.
As our reproductive capacity dwindles, so does our instinct to seek out a mate for physical union. While seemingly all animals possess this instinct, there’s something special only humans have; the ability to interpret it, not merely experience it.
Now, why is this discussion important to the understanding of our health and well-being? Because understanding the orgasm helps us to understand ourselves. Yes, that is true. Keep reading:
The orgasm carries with it the esteemed connotation of absolute pleasure — it’s placed on a pedestal of sexual euphoria. While we like to paint the sensation with graphic undertones of lust, the neurobiology of the climax is far less provocative.
At its core, the orgasm is much less about what it makes us feel than what it allows us NOT to feel. With all of the hype surrounding the sensation, we can’t help but wonder: What is it about experiencing an orgasm that keeps us coming back for more?
Pleasure is typified by three things:
An escape from self-awareness: We are liberated from our burdensome egos. The weight of our constant internal criticism is lifted as our self-observer takes a brief hiatus from incessant doubt.
Decreased sense of pain: Relief from pain is an immediate trigger for the sensation of pleasure.
Alteration in bodily perception: Our inhibitions are lowered to the point of bliss. This break from self-scrutiny allows us a passing moment in a heavenly utopia.
The only other time we are able to feel such emancipating ecstasy is during an experience that is seemingly polar opposite to that of orgasm-inducing intercourse — meditation. “Bliss, both sacred and profane, shares the diminution of self-awareness,” according to a popular study.
Meditation allows us to experience the trinity of bliss: decreased self-awareness, lowered inhibition, and elimination of pain. The only difference between orgasmic and meditative states is that while sex leads to the physical union of two individuals, meditative processes, like those practiced by Tibetan Buddhist monks, diminish self-awareness by allowing our mind to focus beyond self-identification and shift our focus to the macro universe. Meditation, like the orgasm, allows us to ignore the disruptions of emotion and focus on the experience at hand. In both cases, we are freed from the burden of self-preoccupation.
While the blissful corporal experience resulting from an orgasm has an evolutionary purpose (to make more humanity), the reason behind such a blissful state is due to diminution of self-awareness that can be re-experienced at a mental level by practicing mindful meditation.
Meditation allows us to shift our attention from our ego-driven selves to the world around us. Try to make it a habit to remove the distractions of incessant self-critiquing.
Sacred or profane, the reason behind such a blissful experience is going beyond the confines of self-identification. Expand your awareness. Take time each day to think about the world around you; take a break from always thinking emotionally about yourself.

Om Namah Shivay

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Maya – The Illusion Of The Soul


Do you want to think differently? Well, if the answer is “YES!” (& it should be!) you have to constantly and continually feed your mind the thoughts, ideas & inspiration it needs to help you achieve your ambitious goals. Your mind needs a regular diet of nutrient-rich food—“bread for the head,” as Jim Rohn called it. Be vigilant about what you expose yourself to & remember: What you think about, you create!

Maya – The Illusion Of The Soul ::

Maya is both an aspect and function of prakriti. The dynamic power of Siva is called prakriti or shakti. In his aspect as suppressor (vamadeva), Siva uses maya as his concealing power to suppress his own powers in the beings and objects he creates. It is not uncommon to see the words maya and prakriti being used interchangeably to denote shakti. To avoid confusion, in this article we prefer to use maya as an aspect and function of prakriti rather than prakriti itself and also use the word prakriti and shakti synonymously or interchangeably. Maya in Saivism is considered as one of the three impurities that bind the jivas to the mortal worlds through delusion. The other two impurities are anava (egoism) and karma (willful actions).

Monistic schools and dualistic schools of Saivism differ in their interpretation of the relationship between Siva and Shakti and whether they are separable or inseparable. While both sides accept Siva as the efficient cause of creation, they differ on the point of which of the two actually is the material cause of the universe. Monistic schools consider Siva as the primary cause of everything. Dualistic schools argue that Siva, jivas and shakti coexist eternally and that they can neither be created nor destroyed. In their highest aspect they may be
similar but in the lower planes of creation their distinction becomes more pronounced. Whatever be the truth, maya is employed to conceal in the jivas Siva consciousness and the super natural powers of Siva.

Pure Beings and Pure Worlds

Maya is employed differently in different planes of creation. In the highest plane of supreme consciousness, prakriti or shakti radiates the supreme powers of Siva in their unlimited and uninhibited aspect. The five powers of Siva
manifest in these worlds to their optimum capacity. They are

1) chit-shakti–kaala (time)–Limitations in the experience of absoluteness and unity of eternality or infinity.

2) iccha-shakti niyati (space) Limitations in the execution and manifestation of will

3) jnana-shakti vidya (knowledge) Limitations in knowing

4) kriya-shakti kala (power) Limitations in manifestation

5) ananda-shakti raga (passion) Limitations in the experience of joy and love and sense of being.

Om Namah Shivay

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Impure Beings and Impure Worlds


Impure Beings and Impure Worlds

In the lower planes, shakti unveils its fivefold maya and veils the fivefold powers of Siva. This veiling creates illusory distinction between Siva and the beings and limits their awareness so that they do not know who they actually are or what their powers are. So while pure beings possess supernatural powers, impure beings are limited in their powers. While pure beings can move without moving, know without the effort to know, manifest things at will or live in a state of bliss, impure beings experience great difficulty in accomplishing them or cannot accomplish them at all. Shadows of their true selves, they are free beings in their inner worlds but bound in their external world. The following table explains which powers are concealed and what limitations arise from each concealment.

Energy of Siva Veiled or Concealed or Hidden The Veiling Aspect of Maya at Work Resulting Limitation
1 chit-shakti kaala (time) Limitations in the experience of absoluteness and unity of eternality or infinity.
2 iccha-shakti
niyati (space) Limitations in the execution and manifestation of will
3 jnana-shakti vidya (knowledge) Limitations in knowing
4 kriya-shakti kala (power) Limitations in manifestation
5 ananda-shakti raga (passion) Limitations in the experience of joy and love and sense of being.

The Grand Delusion

Maya is responsible for the delusion of souls. Ignorance is the cause of delusion and also in a way its product. Ignorance and delusion feed upon each other and keep the souls bound to their limited and deluded existence. Under its influence, souls act contrary to their true nature and suffer from an endless chain of cause and effect. Delusion manifests in several ways.

Deluded by maya beings:

Develop false notions of self
Develop attachment through senses with sense objects
Become selfish and egoistic
Fail to discriminate between truth and falsehood
Suffer from the limitations of time and space
Liberation the End of the Game

If the cyclical process of creation begins with the act of Siva and prakriti manifesting themselves in phases from source to the subtle and then to the gross, this cycle comes to an end only when they withdraw themselves from the gross into the subtle and then finally into the source itself. Individual souls have the freedom not to wait till it happens on the universal scale. They have the freedom to rid themselves of their impurities and limitations and rediscover their true nature. They can tear apart the veil of maya and set themselves free.

This happens only when a jiva recognizes its true identity. Recognition therefore (pratyabhijna) is the key to freedom. When the jiva becomes aware of its true Siva nature, it rests in the consciousness of Siva and becomes free. Intense aspiration, sincere and disciplined effort, commitment to the path, transcending the ego, guidance of the guru and divine intervention are some of the means to destroy the bonds and experience oneness with Siva.

Abhinavagupta mentions three types of liberation.
Paramuktas are the souls who become absorbed in Parasiva (formless Siva) after liberation.
Aparamuktas are the souls who experience oneness with Siva and join his world of pure beings with some of their individuality still intact.

Jivanmuktas are the souls who are liberated while still in their physical bodies. The Gorakshnatha tradition believes that once union with Siva consciousness is achieved in a state of samadhi, beings are never deluded again. They remain absorbed in their highest consciousness even while performing mundane tasks. They suffer no more from the impurities or duality. Whatever may the path they choose, for Jivanmuktas there are no more births and rebirths.

Om Namah Shivay

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Inscrutable Shiva And Shaiva Siddhanta 


As the curtain is pulled back to reveal the inner sanctum, one is drawn into the world of Nirakara Shiva, beyond even the physical symbolism of a Linga, where the vast expanse of the sky above and the ether zone are mirrored in the `Akasha Linga’ of Chidambaram. Shiva takes his devotees into an interiorised world of consciousness, mapping out the Akasha or sky-ether of the mind, beyond the noumenal world of names and forms.

But is it as abstract as it seems, I wonder, for the Thillai (mangrove) forest ground of the Chidambaram temple is witness to the ananda tandava dance of Shiva, in one of his most beautiful forms as Nataraja, the fountainhead of the creative impulse. Traditional lore views Chidambaram as the site of the original Cosmic Linga, an ellipsoid around which the rest of the universe rotates. This dance of creative bliss is said to have been performed by Shiva for the two sages, Vyghrapada and Patanjali, who had asked for the boon to witness the dance.

Which one is the more seminal attribute of Shiva, I wonder ­ is it the ascetic yogic aspect of Shiva characterised by dispassionate withdrawal and penance, or is it the creatively pulsating energy of Shiva, which calls for an active engagement with the world, in the realisation that the outer embodied universe reflects the disembodied One, that the materiality is also actually spiritual only? As I move into the main dance hall of the Chidambaram complex, I marvel at the persona of Shiva, where different attributes complement each other, not contradict. His all-encompassing compassion and love for devas and asuras alike, without discriminating between the two, reveals a Being in love with creation, not a destroyer. Perhaps what he seeks to destroy is the negativity and the baser elements of our nature.

John Marshall saw a Proto-Shiva in the famous Pashupati seal of Mohenjodaro where four wild animals ­ tiger, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros ­ surround the yogi-God sitting in the meditation pose, the three faces representing Time in its past, present and future dimensions.

The Mahakal, Controller of Time, the Rudra, God of wild beasts and Yogeswara, the Supreme Yogi aspects of Shiva appear to coalesce in this Indus seal. Other traditions like the Tevaram hymns and the Tirumurai compendium of songs in Tamil eulogise the Ashutosh svarupa of Shiva the God who melts at the call of a sincere prayer.

The Tirumurai tradition maps out the philosophy of Shaiva Siddhanta , with its formulation of three eternal entities of God, soul and bondage ­ Pati, pasu and pasam. The Shaiva Siddhanta states that God is One, souls are many and bondage happens because of the three impurities of anava which causes the negativity of soul ­ karma, the law of action-reaction and Maya the cause of all materiality . Maya is real in Shaiva Siddhanta and not an illusion as in Vedanta. Shiva’s Grace alone can help in breaking this bondage and evolution of the Soul to an understanding of the relationship between the Nirakara aspect of the Self and the dynamic aspect of the Self ‘s energy as it manifests .

They say that Shiva is finally within only . But the inscrutable and beautiful outer form of Shiva gives as much solace.

Om Namah Shivay

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All About Love, Aesthetics and Ecstasy


What is love? It is the expressed form of devotion. When does this expressed form occur?

When there is seed, only then it will sprout; that seed is devotion. So, only that one can make oneself great, who one can take the correct ideation of Parama Purusha, who has the seed of devotion within … How can you surrender without bhakti, devotion? Therefore, from ancient times aesthetic science existed and there was devotion. While one remains in aesthetic science, one does not get entry into supra-aesthetic science. One feels, “I am serving Parama Purusha, I like Him, because I get pleasure in serving Him, by taking His ideation I get joy .“ If you ask artists or architects why they do what they do ­ why do they create works of art ­ they will say, “We get pleasure from it.“ This is aesthetic science. A poet composes a poem, because he gets pleasure.

Parents love their child very much.Do they love for the sake of their child?

No! They love their child because they get pleasure for themselves. If their child turns into a vagabond, or becomes cruel, and he does not even utter the parents’ names, then parents do not get pleasure.

After that what happens? By taking the ideation of Parama Purusha, when the quantity of pleasure increases, a person loses the self first. He feels “I take the ideation of Parama Purusha not for my sake. I love Parama Purusha so that, because of my love, He gets pleasure. I may or may not get it.“ When this stage is attained, it is called Ragatmika Bhakti, when one feels, “I love Parama Purusha, I do not care whether He loves me or not.“ When this Ragatmika Bhakti is attained, in that stage one is also called Gopa as described in scriptures.

Gopa here does not mean the cowherd. Gopayate means to give pleasure ­ “Gopayate yah sah gopah.“

One whose nature is to give pleasure to Parama Purusha or Paramatma is Gopa. When one is established in Ragatmika Bhakti, from Raganuga one enters the arena of Mohana ijnana when one is fascinated and charmed, and in that state, art, architecture, all come to an end; one’s verbosity stops, one becomes mute. This is Ragatmika Bhakti.

So long as human beings are in the sphere of Raganuga Bhakti they are in domestic life; they create arts, architecture, literature and painting, and get pleasure in them. They are within the scope of aesthetic science ­ Nandana Vijnana.

And what happens when they are established in supra-aesthetic science ­ Ati Nandana Vijnana? All their worldly music is finished. All the Ragas and Raginis and the art of dancing, whatever they be, they come to an end.In that condition, there remains only an ecstatic state, Bhavibhora. The music of that state is called kirtana.

If you want to be established in Dharma Sadhana, then in any case do not forget the importance and greatness of kirtana, and also the greatness of devotion. Always remember that the devotion begins with aesthetic science and its ultimate domain ends where supra-aesthetic science ­ Mohana Vijnana ­ begins.

Om Namah Shivay

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