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    « New Workshop: The Yoga of Love and Relationships | Main | Q & A from the Thursday Night Meditation Group »

    What is Yoga Meditation?

    (Newsletter from the Thursday Night Group)

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks again to all of you who are supporting and participating the program. It's so good to sit in Satsang with you every week.

    So what is this meditation? Why do we do it? And why the ongoing practice?

    On the simplest level, meditation is setting aside intimate, quiet time with oneself, and it's using that time to bring all parts of yourself into alignment.

    We use a theme (a mantra) to align our thinking and feeling, our attitudes, understandings and perspectives so that all parts of us are operating without conflict, without stress, and all our activities reflect and support our actual purposes and values in life.

    It may sound complicated but It's actually a lot easier than most people think. Good technique makes all the difference. The real reason most people fail in meditation, or asana practice, isn't that it was too hard or they couldn't do it -- it's that they weren't given a good grounding in proper technique.

    In Yoga practice, technique is everything. Proper technique is what makes Yoga enjoyable and rewarding, safe and productive.

    Success in Mantra Meditation depends less on effort and more on skill and understanding. No amount of mental effort or determination will accomplish what good technique can do. That's why we spend so much time perfecting and clarifying our understanding of practice  -- so that we can get better results with less struggle, less difficulty.

    Done properly, meditation should leave you refreshed, restored, calm, rested and more aligned within yourself so that you can return to activity with a sense of clarity, purpose and capability. It should never feel like a struggle.

    Meditation in the traditional sense, in the Yoga tradition, is a heart-centered practice, not a head-centered one. Correct use of a mantra (think of it as an mental organizing principle that we use to bring all parts of us into harmony) allows a person to transcend the stress and busyness of conscious thought and tap into the deeper currents of feeling, presence and awareness, and this integration of heart and mind allows the inner resources of soul, self and purpose to infuse every part of our being, strengthening and supporting all of our intentions and activities in life.

    By strengthening and supporting your resolve, your sense of purpose and your resourcefulness, Yoga meditation supports your life on four different levels.
    Traditionally, these four parts of life are known as:

    - Dharma (alignment with and support from Nature and the environment)
    - Artha (enjoyment of physical and material security, success and comfort)
    - Kama (fulfillment of enjoyment, happiness and personal desire)
    - Moksha (liberation from all bondage and existential suffering).

    Improvement happens spontaneously in all four parts of life as a result of regular practice.

    The surface, thinking mind is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to utilizing our real capabilities, our full potential. Meditation that stays on the surface of the mind, on the level of monitoring, or practicing non-judgmental awareness may calm a person down, make them more detached, but it won't help a person be more motivated, inspired, resourceful or adaptive, the way Yoga meditation does. It won't enliven the four parts of life the way Yoga does.

    To truly transform the total person, meditation must involve what is called transcendence, diving deep into deeper resources of heart and mind -- where the power lies and the magic happens. Most of our intelligence (EQ and IQ), our creativity, motivational resources and social skills lie deep within, in the deeper parts of heart and mind, waiting to be tapped and utilized for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

    Yoga, and Yoga meditation is a natural, easy, enjoyable way to tap into and enjoy these inner resources.

    In this way we arrive at the totality of ourselves. In this way we begin to enjoy more of the fullness of life.

    Come join us this and every Thursday as we explore and refine our understanding of Yoga and meditation: 311 Washington Street, Westwood, 7:30pm.

    We'll mostly likely be continuing these weekly meetings until the end of May. Until then, the sessions are open to all, beginner and experienced meditator alike -- all levels of practice are welcomed and supported.

    Hope to see you there.




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