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Bee
Australia

Question

I’ve only been doing meditation focusing on the spiritual eye for a week or so, but can feel rapid progress. When I am completely centered on the eye, the base of my spine feels electric, I hear a popping noise and can feel a huge wave of energy rising up.

However, I have scoliosis (two curves in my spine) and when the above happens I automatically become nervous, thinking of my spine not raising the kundalini through it’s middle.

Should I be nervous?

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Bee,

When you meditate and experience the rising of energy, this means that your energy goes up in the astral (energy) spine. The astral spine is not the backbone (those knobs that can be felt along the back), but runs more or less through the center of the body. The shape of the physical spine can influence how energy flows in the astral spine, but does not dictate everything. You can counteract most or all of that influence, through a strong visualization of a straight astral spine.

So continue to do your meditation practice without being nervous, and focus your will power to visualize the astral spine as being straight.

Blessings,

Diksha

Nandini
India

Question

Dear Minister,

We would like to place the pictures of Babaji and Paramhansa Yogananda in our home.

What is the ideal location and direction for placing the same?

Also, is there anything specific other than location and direction that we need to know before we place it?

Regards,

Nandini

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Nandini,

According to the yogic teachings, one should have a meditation room or a special space set aside for meditation. When we meditate the best directions to face are:

East or North, in order to align our energy with the magnetic flow of universal energy. Therefore the altar should be placed at those places. You can hang the pictures on the East or North wall of that room. So when you meditate, you are facing these sacred pictures.

This is a general recommended guideline. Please try it and see how you feel about it. If you feel inspired to place the pictures somewhere else, you can follow your intuitive guidance.

Blessings,

Diksha

sanjay mehta
india

Question

I have done a basic course of Ananda in Mumbai last year, but I have not yet learned to observe the breath as in the Hong Sau technique. I want to learn to observe the breath. I am very eager to learn it and I have also purchased the CDs for that. Please give me some practical steps or methods to watch the breath.

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Sanjay,

Congratulations on taking your first steps towards meditating deeply. As the Hong Sau CD mentions, once you prepare for meditation after sitting upright with palms up at the junction of the thighs and abdomen, tense and relax the body with the double breath three times. With the last exhalation of tensing and relaxing, simply allow your gaze to turn towards the point between the eyebrows and observe the inhalation and exhalation at that point. You needn’t try to control it or change it. Simply watch it and use the mantra as directed. As the breath begins to slow of it’s own accord, become absorbed in the peace between the inhalation and exhalation at the point between the eyebrows. Continue this practice with full concentration on the breath at the point between the eyebrows and relax into the peace between the inhalation and exhalation. This technique is very helpful for concentration, interiorization of consciousness, and absorption into the kutastha chaitanya or spiritual eye.

May you feel deep Divine peace and calmness as you practice this technique,

Kristy

Adam
Australia

Question

I decided to try meditation for the first time. I did the method of relaxing my whole body then counted down from 100. That’s when I first noticed the numbness enveloping my entire body, even my breathing felt numb as if I weren’t even breathing. Then the tingling sensation, at first only slight in my legs then my entire body, it felt like I was going to explode out of my body. Just as I got the sensation of leaving my body I panicked and I severed the connection. Terrifying, any advice?

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Adam,

We are sorry to hear of your unhappy experience the first time you tried to meditate. It is important for you to try again, but this time, be sure to pray for help and guidance from the Great Ones and to use the exact methods they suggest for beginning meditation.

The method you mention (counting down from 100) is not a meditation technique offered by Yogananda. We are not saying that this would be the exact reason you experienced what you did, but still, whenever you meditate, do ask for help!

Here is a good suggestion. Watch a FREE “Beginning Meditation” presentation from Online with Ananda. It offers Yogananda’s "“tried and true” methods for meditating safely and with the right kind of guidance. If that feels good, then sign up for the 6-weeks course: “Learn to Meditate.” This will help you to avoid what you experienced, plus offer you plenty of opportunities to ask questions from our experienced meditation instructors. Simply go to www.onlinewithananda.org.

Finally, what you have experienced is not all that uncommon. But with just a little guidance from experienced meditators, you will easily understand how to change your approach to meditation and not be terrified again by what you experience. Meditation is a wonderful activity — really the best!

Lisa Sen
INDIA

Question

My heartfelt pronam to all.

I have been practicing meditation for 13 years. But I never had any vision nor heard any sound. Only occasionally I feel a throbbing sensation near my heart. Also, I can concentrate only for sometime during the entire course of meditation and more often than not my mind keeps wandering. I cannot understand whether I am progressing in my meditation or whether the process of meditation I follow is right. (I meditate the form of my Ishtam in the heart center).

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your question regarding your meditation progress. I must start by saying I am not familiar with the technique of meditation you are practicing. With that said, meditation should help us to experience peace and calmness initially and as we progress more love, joy and wisdom. Yoganandaji said, the spiritual path is not a circus. We should not be attached to seeing or hearing various phenomena in our meditations.

You mention your mind is always wandering. I suggest you get in touch with the Ananda community nearest you in India to learn the techniques of meditation Yoganandaji taught as they help one to concentrate and interiorize one’s consciousness so you can offer the light within you into the Infinite Light with love and devotion. You will feel the Divine response if you stay the course and never give up. Divine Mother tests us to make sure we really want to commune with Her and serve Her.

Ananda India is offering online courses and I’m sure they will have an online meditation course soon if there isn’t one already.

Wishing you a deeply enriching spiritual life that takes you all the way home to God.

In Divine Friendship,

Natasha
South Africa

Question

I have been meditating for about 15 years. I focus on my third eye and use the mantra “I and my father are one.” A few years ago I started getting strong cramps in the upper right side of back during meditation. Sometimes the cramps get so strong I have to end my meditation because I can’t take the pain. Afterwards the cramps fade away quickly. I also used to hear ringing in my left ear, but that has stopped now.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Natasha,

It sounds to me like you are getting tense during meditation: perhaps in the effort to focus strongly at the spiritual eye. Do you practice any yoga stretches or similar physical movement before sitting to meditate? I don’t know your overall health or age, of course, but at Ananda we practice the 39 Tension Exercises (“Energization Exercises”) that Paramhansa Yogananda created specially for meditators (and anyone). (Not everyone is going to practice the yoga postures, whether due to interest, time, health, or age.) They take between 12 and 15 minutes to do after you’ve learned them.

These tension exercises stretch, energize and relax the body (and thus the mind) prior to sitting. Several of them are excellent for the back cramps you describe. At the risk of oversimplfying just one of them: arms outstretched at shoulder height in front of you with fists closed; tense the arms about “medium” tension: now swing your arms side to side with your feet apart at shoulder width and your hips and legs remaining stationery facing forward; let your eyes and head follow the arms (which stay together, the fists facing each other). Back and forth to your full swing as your mobility permits; slow at first, then, if safe to do so, pick up a little speed. Concentrate on the upper back as if by this action you are adjusting the upper vertebrae. There are 38 others! You can learn them from ananda.org.

Getting back to the third eye, let me say that many meditators simply “strain” to focus there. It should be relaxed. The eyes mustn’t be looking too far up but rather through the point between the eyebrows and as if looking through that point at a point two feet or so (arms length) in front of you. It should feel natural, the way the eyes go up when someone asks you a question and you look up to “think about it.” I used to get headaches when I first meditated because I was straining to stay focused. A good approach is to always focus on the heart center, relaxing there first, before commencing your technique(s) that engage the third eye.

During your meditation, scan your body every so often for relaxation and correct posture. The technique of tensing the whole body (while sitting) as you inhale and then expelling the breath forcibly through the mouth as you relax can also help. The spine should assume its natural curvature with the chest up and shoulders relaxed down. Your head should remain level (parallel to the ground) and not be straining up.

I hope you will find these simple suggestions helpful.

Blessings!

Nayaswami Hriman

Maggie
UK

Question

Hi

I’ve been meditating for little over a year and in most cases it has been fine but there are times when I have sleepless nights, hear high pitched noises in my ears, and see blobs of light just below my lower eyelids. I spoke to someone about it and they said it could be “awakening” symptoms and as I was an “advanced” soul, it’s even the more reason why I’m experiencing this. But this person was not sure. I would like your opinion.

Many thanks and blessings.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Maggie,

It’s common for meditators to hear inner sounds and see inner lights. Meditation practice tends to awaken inner energies along with inner awareness, and those energies can cause such phenomena—regardless of whether one is trying to make them happen, and regardless of whether one is an “advanced” soul. (I would say that anyone who seriously takes up the practice of meditation is an advanced soul.) Not to worry. Treat them as distractions, and try not to let them commandeer your attention. This too shall pass. Keep on meditating, and offer these experiences—as well as any others that may come—to God.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Karthik N
India

Question

Hello,

I’m doing breath meditation and recently in my third eye area. I’m getting too much pain and too much heat in my head region. As suggested by my friend I’m planning to move my concentration to heart chakra instead of third eye region. Kindly help me how to focus on heart chakra as whenever I’m trying, now automatically my focus goes to 6th chakra. Is it worth imagining my guru in the heart and look at them instead of breathing? Please help.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Karthik,

Yes, it’s wonderful to visualize your guru in the heart center. The Srimad Bhagavtam describes visualizing the heart first as a downturned lotus flower; then, see it turning upward.

Visualize, too, the guru sitting in lotus pose in the heart of the lotus.

As to pain and heat in the head and third eye: are you perhaps concentrating too much there? Looking up should be gentle and not too high: just to the region between the eyebrows as if gazing a little beyond the forehead, not further than the reach of your arm, perhaps even closer (but don’t cross the eyes).

Since focusing at the third eye is so important to all forms of meditation, may I suggest starting in the heart center and becoming relaxed and at peace with your guru. Then mentally ask him to help you to raise the energy from the heart to the third eye. You might then visualize him gazing back at you just past the third eye. Or, seated at the top of your head to guide you.

Experiment a little, in other words. There are certain cases where staying in the heart is best, but for most people, over time, it is better to gradually become accustomed to looking up and through the spiritual eye.

OK?

Blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman

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