Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Meditation

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Ganesh K.
India

Question

How do I attain quick success in meditation?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear friend,

To receive quick (and ongoing) success you need to do the following:

  1. Make room for meditation in your life, setting aside regular times to meditate each day.
  2. Set aside a place, however small, that is for meditation only.
  3. Make your meditation times long enough, meditating at least 20 to 30 minutes at each sitting.
  4. Meditate twice a day, every day, without fail.
  5. Concentration. Concentrate completely on the technique you are using, letting go of each distracting thought as it comes in.
  6. Don’t move a muscle! When you first sit to meditate, resolve to sit completely still for the first five minutes. Doing this will allow you to sit for much longer without moving. This will also help in maintaining a deeper level of concentration.
  7. Meditate with joy and love and devotion, bringing these qualities into your meditation from the start rather than waiting for them to come to you.
  8. And then, be patient and know that meditation has become the polestar of your life, guiding you back to your home in God.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Parvati

Diana Barrett
US

Question

On a handful of occasions in the last year or so, I have had the experience (on waking from sleep) of being totally aware. There is not anything to identify with or attach to. Then a second later I become fearful of not knowing and re-identify with my persona. Can you share what state I have been in and how/why it happens? Is it a good thing? Many thanks, Diana

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Diana,

Patanjali identifies and names a spectrum of specific meditative states but while the specifics are secondary let me say that the state of self-awareness without condition or identification with body or personality is an aspect of the causal state of consciousness.

Even if but a fleeting or occasional experience, it is a true and welcome state. You should meditate upon this state: meaning intuitively recall it during meditation (and especially after meditation practices and sitting in the silence). Indeed, this is one of the meditations suggested by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

Thus, while the experience has come to you seemingly unsought (though surely a product of your meditation efforts and karma), it is helpful to see if you can consciously reawaken the state. It can even be done by taking mental breaks during the day but it most certainly should be recalled (by feeling and intuition) in meditation.

Blessings!

Nayaswami Hriman

Nancy Smith
USA

Question

I have been trying to meditate I have so much clutter I can’t clear away

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Nancy,

Here are some suggestions:

Be sure you are using effective techniques such as the ones which Paramhansa Yogananda taught. For instance, the Hong-Sau Technique is quite well suited to dealing with a cluttered mind. This technique simply brings our focus to the breath and the internal sounds of Hong Sau. When learned properly, you'll find you can move past distracting thoughts and dive deep within to an expanding sense of peace and calmness.

It’s also a good thing to include chanting as part of your spiritual practices. Chanting can take the tendency of the mind to be in thoughts and direct the mind to be more one-pointed. Chanting also has the aspect of devotion which can be very helpful in going beyond thoughts.

Here is an encouraging quote from Paramhansa Yogananda, from the book, The Essence of Self-Realization: “Don’t feel badly if you find yourself too restless to meditate deeply. Calmness will come in time, if you practice regularly. Just never accept the thought that meditation is not for you. Remember, calmness is your eternal, true nature.”

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nancy Smith
USA

Question

I have been trying to meditate I have so much clutter I can’t clear away

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Nancy,

Well, don’t we all? It’s tempting to think that, in order to meditate, you need to clear the clutter away. There’s logic to that, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. At best it creates a temporary vacuum that quickly gets filled with pretty much the same clutter.

Instead, you need to bring into your meditation efforts something more attractive than the clutter, something that can lift you above the level of clutter. Make God that “something.” Meditate with God as your partner. Ask Him/Her to guide you, to show you how to reach for a higher octave or your own being. Cultivate your devotion to God, because that will lift you above the clutter, into the light.

Blessings on your efforts,

Gyandev

ruchit
India

Question

i’m getting spiritual chills everytime i do my spiritual practices or when i worship lord i get some chills around my body i.e cold sensations like something floating around me sometimes those chills are very strong,people tell me that it’s because there are some spiritual guardians around me and some tell it’s your aura,i’m confused please provide guidance to me.

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ruchit,

Since I don’t know the specifics of your spiritual practices, I can answer your question only in a general way, and I hope it will be helpful.

Many sorts of phenomena, like seeing light, hearing sounds, having visions, feeling cold or hot, and so on can and sometimes do happen when one meditates. It is generally a sign that energy is on the move and that’s a good thing. Best thing to do, when it happens is to pray to your Guru if you have one, to guide you about the best way to proceed. It’s nothing to be afraid of and it happens to just about everybody at one time or another. Generally the sensations will pass away in time.

Keep the attention at the spiritual eye and always pray for help and guidance before, during, and after meditation—in fact, all the time. The experience of chills doesn’t happen to everyone, but that’s OK. When you meditate, make sure that you practice with relaxation, with loving God, and not over-doing any particular technique beyond your comfort zone.

Blessings,

Diksha

Rahul Solanki
India

Question

I want to start meditation and yoga, but in my locality there is no yoga teacher to teach me.

So please guide me, how to start yoga and meditation.

Thank you

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Rahul,

Congratulations on your resolution to start practicing yoga and meditation. You are correct that it is ideal to have a teacher guiding you, but even if that is not possible, there is much you can do.

Since you are in India, for meditation, start by visiting Ananda India’s website: http://anandaindia.org/meditate/

You will find there many excellent resources for learning meditation.

As for the yoga part, I don’t know where you live, but you can check the Ananda India website to see if there is a teaching center near you. Aside from that, your best option is probably a book. My book, Spiritual Yoga, would be an excellent resource (it also addresses meditation). I wish it were available in India, but it isn’t yet. If you don’t mind ordering from the USA, you can do so here: http://www.crystalclarity.com/product.php?code=BSYHA

I hope you will find these resources helpful.

All the best to you in your new practice(s).

Blessings,

Gyandev

Suzann
United States

Question

I have found it uncomfortable to look upward towards my spiritual eye while also concentrating on the Hong-Sau breath. Today I become confused as everything I had read had advised to look upward: Until I found This:

Should one concentrate on the breath and also at the point between the eyebrows

Not until the attention focuses itself naturally on the flow of breath at the beginning of the nose. To do so otherwise would constitute a division of concentration which would be self-defeating

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Suzann,

You should lift your gaze only slightly above the horizon. Perhaps you are turning your eyes up at a sharp angle, which would be both difficult and uncomfortable. In any case, do not try to see something in the direction you are looking, as that will divide your attention, which should be completely on the breath. Concentrate on your breath wherever you can feel it most easily. Gradually you will feel it higher and higher in the nose, until you feel it at a place toward which your gaze is turned.

Here is an approach that Swami Kriyananda suggested and you might find helpful: feel as though your eyeballs exist only in the upper half of their sockets. In this approach, there the gaze will turn slightly upward by itself. Try it.

I hope this will help.

Blessings on your practice,

Diksha

Hitesh Khiani
India

Question

Is attaining the permanent state of Nirbikalpa Samadhi (Nivikalapa or Nirbeej Samadhi) necessary for a soul to attain Liberation/Moksha?

In Adi Shankara’s vivekachudamani he seems to be indicating very clearly that unless one unites one’s soul with spirit in samadhi, there is no question of moksha.

However, in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna in several places indicates several ways by which we can reach him and he does not seem to insist on Nirbikalpa Samadhi for Moksha.

Please clarify.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Hitesh,

According to Paramhansa Yogananda, nirbikalpa samadhi is indeed a necessary step toward the higher state of moksha (liberation). I suspect that Sri Krishna does not elaborate on samadhi states in the Gita because he is emphasizing the things we need to do in order to approach samadhi. First things first!

But do not be discouraged, for we do not know what states we have already obtained in past lives. Yoganandaji asked one of his most advanced disciples, when she was on her deathbed, if she had any last wish. When she asked for samadhi, he told her that she was beyond that. And yet, advanced as she was, she didn’t know! I find that very encouraging.

In any case, Hitesh, all we can do is keep meditating and leave the results in God’s hands.

Blessings,

Gyandev

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