Here's our weekly/preview of the Thursday night group meditation and training. I hope you're enjoying the program and finding it helpful -- I know I am. As always your feedback and suggestions are most welcome and I thank you for your support.
If you have a moment, I would love to hear from you and learn more about how you're doing with your meditation practice.
We discussed and practiced the elements of Mantra Meditation: 1. Presence, 2. Being-Awake, 3. Awareness, 4. Idea/Feeling, and 5. Meditating itself -- the process of moving the attention within the mind-field, learning to consistently "favor" the mantra as a path to full meditation, what Patanjali calls Dhyana -- systematically attuning the mind to a more expansive, more adaptive state of awareness and being.
We define this meditation as the systematic release of resistant or stressful thought (yogas-chitta-vritti-nirodha, YS1:2), which allows the mind-field (chitta) to become more fully attuned and aligned (samadhi) to the energy and flow of Life itself. This is the true goal of Yoga: living in total harmony with Life and Nature without obstacles or resistance of any kind.
Mantra, in this meditation, is any idea/feeling used as a vehicle to condition or train the mind to a more expansive, more adaptive way of being. In essence a mantra is is a practiced good-feeling thought; a thought that gives relief. It is a safe haven in the mind; child's pose for the mind.
Proper technique for the use of the mantra in meditation follows the precepts of Yoga: 1. Non-Forcing, 2. Accepting or Allowing, 3. Non-Comparison, 4. Relying-On-Self, and 5. Non-Clinging. In formal meditation we gently condition the mind through daily practice to be more inclusive, more adaptive, more creative and more satisfied.
Proper technique, meaning, how we use the mantra, is essential for good results, and mastering the subtleties of this technique is far more important than the actual mantra itself.
Understanding and practicing these five elements of meditation, which is what we are doing week by week, is the best way to become thoroughly grounded in the experience. The weekly sessions are a systematic way to "tune" your meditation technique, making your practice at home more comfortable and worthwhile.
Last week we also began to explore the metaphor of attunement (samadhi) as a way to understand and guide the experience of meditation. The concept is also useful as a way to guide our development and growth in everyday life itself. What we pay attention to, we attune to. As we focus, so shall we be.
Yoga is fundamentally an energy practice, a spiritual practice. Alignment/attunement is one of the central concepts of both contemporary energy work and traditional spiritual practice. (See last week's journal entry for more information on this. You can find it below this one.)
Attunement is a powerful concept but an even more powerful experience. Learning how to seek and favor alignment/attunement in both formal and informal practice is essential to the successful practice of Yoga.
In the practice of Asana and Vinyasa, we learn to attune to steadiness in position and in flow; one-pointed dedication to the fulfillment of the asana in body, heart and mind.
In meditation we attune to "the good" in mind, in heart and also on the level of purpose or intention. We systematically release resistance to Life's natural flow,
Yoga has eight limbs. In physical practice we focus on only one or two of these. Our Thursday sessions broaden our focus to include the fundamentals of the inner practice of Yoga, the "non-physical" practices of Yama, Niyama, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. This full practice of Yoga will takes your personal experience of physical Yoga to a whole new level, inside and out: spirit, heart, mind, body, and behavior all aligned for the common good.
Hope to see you this Thursday night, 11/19 at Firefly Yoga, 311 Washington St, Westwood, MA. Start time is 7:30pm. This coming Thursday's session will focus mostly on the experience of group meditation. We've got enough understanding and flow in the group at this point to sustain longer meditations and that's what we'll be doing.
The more experienced meditators will hopefully attend to energetically support those who are newer to practice, the way a rising tide floats all boats. And hopefully those of you who can't be there will support/join us in spirit.
All are welcome.