Lying Down for Meditation
September 16, 2014
I suffer from hemorrhoids and so I am unable to sit for Hong Sau technique. Will it be effective if I do it lying down with my upper body slightly elevated?
When you have any body discomfort, you can adjust your body to allow you to practice. Yes, you can lie down with the upper body slightly elevated.
You can also meditate while sitting on a special pillow for use with hemorrhoids.
At the end of your meditation practice, you can visualize light and send it to the area of the hemorrhoids for healing.
Discouragement in the Spiritual Life
September 16, 2014
It was October 11 I enrolled in the YSS Self Realization lessons. I am a kidney transplant patient. I am not regular in practice. I feel I am not able to perform the techniques correctly. My mind keeps thinking of all nonsense things. I get upset I am not able to develop love for God Guru. Kindly help me.
Dear Ruma Nath,
It is common for the mind to think of nonsense things when we try to meditate. That is due to (a) habit, (b) concentration not yet well developed, and (c) resistance of the ego to meditation (so it sends distractions of thought). Do not be discouraged. Every time you find your mind wandering, bring it back to your practice. This happens for everyone, but persistence will make it happen less and less. (Here is a blog that I recently wrote about overcoming the tendency of the mind to wander in meditation.)
Also, the very fact that you are upset about not having developed love for God and Guru tells me that such love is already inside you. It might not take the form that you expect it to, and it might not be as strong as you want it to be (and as it eventually will be), but it is there. Just keep your longing alive—that will carry you far. Strive to increase it, and pray for devotion; Paramhansaji recommended that!
Paramhansaji also said that discouragement is the greatest tool of the darkness. It may seem as though it comes from within you, but it really does not. Do not give it a home in your heart—not even for a moment. You cannot afford it. Turn to the light. Turn to the guru.
Centering During the Highs and the Lows
July 22, 2014
Meditation leaves me wonderfully lighthearted but some times during the day I also feel angry thoughts. I am diabetic and this usually happens during high sugar times. Negativity charges like a bull at me.
Meditation does not change the outward circumstances of our life but it can profoundly change our reactions to those circumstances. As meditation becomes a regular part of one’s life one becomes more centered. The highs of our lives don’t pull us so far out of our calm self that the only possible outcome is to come crashing down from that high. The lows of our lives don’t pull us so far out of our calm self that we lose all perspective.
Staying in our calm self may initially sound kind of boring! But I can assure you it is not. Staying centered allows one to appreciate all the good things without becoming over excited. Staying centered also allows one to weather the (inevitable) bad patches without becoming depressed. Instead, one lives with steady heartfelt joy.
I think in time, if you stay committed to finding the calm stillness within yourself through regular meditation, that your angry thoughts will become less pronounced, that you will not identify with them as much, and simply let them pass through, so to speak, until they eventually cease. You may also find that meditation will help you physiologically as well. You may find that your high sugar times become less intense or less frequent.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
Visions in meditation
July 22, 2014
When I meditate on ajna and guru chakras I reach a uninterrupted blissful state. However, while in that state after some time I get clear, powerful visions of the Buddha in various forms and divine light showered by him on me. I am neither a practising buddhist nor have I ever visited a vihara or spoken to any buddhist monk so far. So I wonder why I am getting these visions? Thanks.
Perhaps these visions are simply a gift from the divine, to bless you spiritually and help you in going deeper still in your meditations. But because they are specifically of the Buddha, perhaps they represent a spiritual direction for you to explore further. That will be for you to determine, mainly in your meditations. One way to do this is to be aware of what kind of inspiration these visions leave you with. Is it simply Divine upliftment, or is there a directional feeling to the inspiration that you experience?
Regarding why you would be receiving visions of the Buddha specifically, I would say that our experiences in this present lifetime make up a very small part of the totality of who we are. This totality will include experiences from many lifetimes. For that reason I don’t find it unusual that you would be receiving these visions.
Also the Buddha, born as an Indian prince, was an avatar who came to awaken people to their own divine reality within. As with Krishna and Jesus Christ, it is the followers of these great masters who create separate religions in their names. But the essential message of each master is the same, “Go within and know who you really are in your true Self.”
One of the Buddha’s universal statements was that the reason we should love everyone, is that everyone (in one lifetime or another) has been our father, mother, son, daughter, friend, lover, etc.
Many blessings to you on your spiritual journey.
Physical Sensations in Meditation
July 8, 2014
While I am doing meditation I feel like a huge source of energy is falling to my forehead and pushing me forward and at the same time. My head itself is pushing against the energy. If I continue with meditation the energy comes down through nose to lower neck and center of chest.
I was continuously doing for 4 years, now I have stopped because of this experience. Is this normal in meditation?
Shall I continue?
When meditating, we might have a variety of experiences that can seem strange—and what you have experienced certainly fits that description. But since I don’t know what kind of meditation technique you were practicing, I can’t really know why it has happened to you.
One thing that often comes up when people are experiencing “pressure” in the body is the possibility of tension having crept into your practice. That is where you might start: look for physical, mental, or emotional tensions, and try to release them.
Beyond that, I would recommend that you read the meditation basics from Ananda, and see if there is anything that might improve what you are doing.
Here is the link to Meditation Basics:
Sleepy or Restless Meditations
July 8, 2014
Is there such a thing as a wasted meditation? I wonder about this sometimes when I meditate while being assaulted by sleepiness and restlessness. Like perhaps I even fell back a little bit from the goal of superconsciousness by succumbing to these things?
Good question! Who among us doesn’t sometimes have a sleepy or restless meditation? In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna: “What if I fail in meditation? What if I can never control my mind?” Krishna’s response goes right to the heart of your question: “No good effort is ever lost.” As long as you’re doing your best, neither God nor Guru will expect more of you than that. Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: “God reads the heart,” which is to say, sincerity is the bedrock of the spiritual path.
Another side of this is, What makes you think a sleepy or restless meditation is wasted? Sure, you wish it were better—both for your own enjoyment and to connect better with God. But scientific research has shown that, even on a physical level, every meditative effort is literally helping to rewire your brain to be better at meditating. Who knows what additional good things are happening at subtler levels?
So no meditation is ever wasted. Take heart, never give up, and leave the results of your meditations in God’s hands.
Hong-Sau lying down?
June 27, 2014
Since I suffer from backache I can’t sit for long. Can I do the hong-sau meditation lying down? I wont fall asleep.
Dear Anu, The Hong-Sau technique of meditation can be done anywhere, any time, and in any position. However, meditation is much more effective if it is done, if at all possible, in an up-right sitting position, with a tall spine, and an open chest (heart chakra).
It is not merely a matter of not falling asleep. It is a matter of how energy flows in the body. When you are lying down, your energy (prana) naturally spreads out all over your body; and it becomes much more difficult to send the energy inward and upward toward the spiritual eye.
And when lying down, it is much easier to fall into subconsciousness, even if that doesn’t necessarily mean falling asleep. The mind drifts and wanders and is generally in a very different state than it could be in (superconsciousness).
If injury or any other physical condition makes it difficult for you to sit correctly for meditation, we’d suggest at least starting in the correct posture for at least a few minutes before lying down. You can begin gradually strengthening your back muscles that way.
Also there are many gentle yoga stretches, which, if done regularly, will go a long ways toward helping you become able to sit up for longer periods of meditation.
Be sure you have tried many different sitting positions, using a chair, a meditation bench, many cushions to support your back or legs or knees. There are many options! One may work well for you.
Finally, Yogananda said that eventually we must learn to: "Dump the body!" That is to say, through deep meditation techniques, such as Hong-Sau and Kriya Yoga, we learn to go beyond all bodily discomforts — we simply don’t feel them while meditating. I know this is possible from my many years of meditation, despite some fairly severe back injuries.
Having Unusual Meditative Experiences
June 19, 2014
I’ve never tried to sit properly and meditate but after doing a fast during the Maha shivaratri celebration, and singing bhajans the whole night without food and sleep, a strange thing happened. I went into a meditative state and for one week my third eye was tingling. There was strong energy flowing all over my body. I felt I was falling fast into a deep abyss between my eyebrows and my breath would stop and chest and body would start expanding, as if air was filling the body. Why did this happen ?
From what you’ve described it seems that you have experienced an awakening of your inner prana (life force) or the kundalini energy.
The increased focus of your awareness through the fasting, devotional chanting (bhajans), and lack of sleep, seems to have stimulated these experiences that you have mentioned.
The important thing now is to continue to expand your consciousness and awareness, through regular, deep meditation on a daily basis. This will help you integrate whatever experiences may come to you.
I encourage you to connect with Ananda India and learn the meditation techniques taught by Paramhansa Yogananda; these techniques will give you the balancing effect of being grounded and expansive as you grow spiritually.
Blessings on your spiritual journey,
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