Yoga and meditation are not a religion per say but they are tools to incorporate into your life. It does originate from the ancient people of the Hindu tradition as they sat and contemplated God and the universe.
Meditation is part of Yoga. “Yoga” means “union” and it describes the means for the Self to reunite with the whole. Shiv-Shakti, Radha-Krishna, Atman-Paramatman and Christ consciousness are different descriptions of the union with God. In essence all religious practices are forms of Yoga – ways of getting close to God and uniting with God or knowing your true “Self.” So each person is doing some form of yoga in the form as it is described today, such as Bhakti, Hatha, Karma, Mantra, Raja, Kriya, Siddha etc. They are all parts of the whole process of Yoga(Union with God).
The different forms of yoga starts the purification of the different layers of the human being.
- Bhakti focuses on the love for God(expanding the heart)
- Hatha – proper diet and exercise and some different breathing exercise for a healthy body for better mind, body connection
- Karma – having compassion, doing good, sharing, giving, doing charity work. This is tied to your DNA and some of it is recorded in the subtle layer.
- Mantra -clearing the mind at the subtle layer of the body through the science of sound. Some cannot focus the mind or cannot sleep and it affects the actions we do as a result.
- Raja – concentration, meditation
- Kriya – working on the subtle body – the energy layer of the body. If one has a guru and meditates, these occur naturally – there are internal and external kriyas. In advanced stages there are mudras.
- Siddha yoga – spontaneous yoga through shaktipat.
This is just a short generalization but just as all science subjects are necessary for a science degree so too all these are necessary for complete Yoga. They are connected to each other and doing one leads to another one. For example:
Loving God(bhakti – love and prayer) then causes you to love creation – life, family, the animals, people and even yourself. Loving yourself will make you choose good company and proper nutrition and exercise(hatha) causing you to do good works(karma) and service to society and be the best at your profession, which allow you time to do a more inner search. We live in the world where other things and people are happening and we need to work out our anger, jealousy, hate and most of all fear. So inevitably it leads to the other forms for we seek to know “what is the meaning of life”, “who am I,” ” how do I find happiness”, or “how do I find God.” So yoga in essence is a “template” for anyone from any religion.
The ancient sages, rishis, munis, enlightened beings experienced the many changes that they encountered during their search for God and the meaning of life. The Vedas came from within. They documented this and created several physical exercises, breathing techniques, vedic mantras, even rituals for all of of humanity.
Meditation is a broad name for many tools and practices. In the ancient days they were a process as part of Yoga to connect to God. Nowadays it is more understood as a practice to calm the stress or quiet the mind or be an observer of the mind. So there are mainly 2 different reasons why one would start meditating. Eventually they meander into the each other. Therefore it is not surprising that there are many different schools of meditation, meditation practices, different techniques and teachers. There are even more mystical techniques and they are still called meditation.
Someone talking about meditation may be referring to any some or all of the following:
- Prayer – talking to God
- Mantra chanting – chanting an ancient Vedic Mantra either silently or in the mind with or without beads
- Breathing exercises – watching your breath other other breathing exercises(pranayam), incorporating mantra and breath.
- Listening in – listening to the sounds of the Nadis
- Listening out – listening to a sacred chant or relaxing music
- Sitting in nature and just watching a tree, water or mountain and being in that moment.
- Sitting in silence and observing the thoughts that come out and letting them go. This is a good case of where it meanders: if you are an observer of the mind and senses then the question is then who or what are you? This is where the soul or atma and the God question and answer arises.
- Meditating or focusing on different parts of the body or chakras(mystical techniques)
- Meditating on a form of God or Satguru – practiced by people who are awakened.
So in order to get one to silent the mind or reduce stress then more tools are given:
- Journaling – writing your thoughts and feelings
- Walking in nature
- Playing a musical instrument
- Yoga exercises
- Kirtan singing and chanting
- The chanting of the ancient – some of the modern techniques have replaced calling it sound healing so they have tibetan singing bowls, or other sounds, drumming etc.
The list goes on.
Meditation have better results when one changes their diet also. According to the technique you use it may naturally cause your diet and habits to change.
.When you become awakened to the evolutionary impulse or divine force of the soul then true meditation begins. It is divine energy and it is very different. There is much information on the internet about this. Only when you experience it will you know. If prayer is talking to God, then meditation is a broad name for part listening in and part communion with God. Meditation is sitting in presence.
There is not much to say except that only when you start to do it will you see the changes in yourself. It starts clearing the junk things such as anger, jealousy, hatred and the egoistic behavior. It opens new ideas. It quells the restless mind. It helps you to give unconditional love. The final goal of meditation is ultimate knowledge of who you are and fulfilling your purpose resulting from knowing and experiencing your eternal nature. It is said that this result gives you a choice to stop reincarnating on this materialistic plane of the earth planet. We reincarnate and keep learning. Some come to teach. The ancients say it is merging in God or “samadhi. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describes the stages in meditation as Patanjali saw it. In the end, we as humans are always trying to make sense of the world, improve our abilities and our life in different ways so that we could feel happy and at ease inside. So we don’t really aim to stop reincarnating but just to improve our personal life – a life free of hate, fear and addiction.
If you meditate within a group you will grow faster because the presence of this divine energy is amplified, especially if there are persons awakened and who connect to Guru more directly than others.
“A person might say what will I find inside of me? A person will find peace, prosperity, and love only inside his own self. It is only inside that he can experience Paramatma. A person can only experience Paramatma outside(external to his own self) once he has experienced Paramartma within.” Shree Nandini Maa
“What is meditation? Becoming one with the soul. It means banishing the consciousness of being related to the body and to human limitations, and trying to remember that one is a soul. When man begins by conscious mental effort to relate himself to the immortal soul, rather than to the body that he inhabits for one life only, he will recall more of his past experiences, and will eventually remember that he has come down from the bosom of God.” Paramahansa Yogananda
In the end we have to change the brain and the nervous system and meditation is a key part of this process. It is said that we do not use 100% of our brain. A perfected being uses that 100% and it is rare to find such a being. We are beings on the evolutionary path to perfection but we get sidetracked. When we can utilize the human brain to expand consciousness then we move on and there are no more questions or pondering about anything.
For more information on the side effects of meditation from a modern scientific viewpoint, please do an internet search. There is much documented evidence with regards to health and well being.
We see or feel only a small spectrum of the energy of the outer universe with the energy, vibration and emotion from our internal universe.
COPE BETTER WITH STRESS AND CHANGE YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY. GOOD LUCK