About the Expert
Bharat Joseph Cornell, a long-time Ananda minister and Kriyacharya (authorized Kriya Yoga teacher), created Ananda's Meditation Support site to help people learn meditation and receive ongoing support for their practice. He is the author of The Gift of inner Peace, a five-minute inspirational video about meditation.
Bharat has also helped people experience inner peace through his nature awareness work. He has written six Sharing Nature books that have been published in twenty foreign languages and have sparked a worldwide revolution in nature education. He has been compared to John Muir for his impact on the world's awareness of nature.
Posts by Nayaswami Bharat:
One of our devotee smells incense during Aum Technique. Any correlation of Aum technique and smells? any guidance we can share with him to put him at ease?
There isn't a direct correlation between the AUM technique and smelling incense. However, since everything emanates from the Cosmic Vibration, I can see how smelling it could happen.
On the spiritual path there are many different kinds of phenomena that the devotee can experience. Divine smells are one of them.
The important thing is to focus on the inner joy and deep calm you feel in meditation. If you feel this, you know it is a good thing. It is always important not to focus on these experiences and give them too much importance. What is importance is our self-offering to God.
Blessings of light,
Is it necessary to have taken Kriya initiation to make the Pilgrim vow of intention, and how is the ceremony conducted if one does not live near an Ananda centre?
One can take the Pilgrim vow of intention without taking Kriya Yoga initiation, because being a disciple of Yoganandaji is not a requirement for joining the Nayaswami Order. Swami Kriyananda sees the Nayaswami Order being for all devotees.
We encourage people to receive initiation in the Nayaswami Order in a group vow ceremony. They will then be able to experience the magnetism of the order much more powerfully. I would encourage you to attend an Ananda regional retreat or visit one of the Ananda Communities when a vow ceremony is scheduled. However, Pilgrims initiates do not have to attend group ceremony and can receive initiation from a nayaswami, tyagi, or brahmachari or brahmacharini when one is traveling nearby.
Blessings and joy,
I am a novice meditator, still experimenting with the inner light technique that I have learned from your instructions.
1. It helps me if I use some kind of soulful music, I can then quiet my mind and see inwardly more clearly. Is that something that is recommended to do?
2. Should I order the "Ananda Course in Self-Realization" of should I first meditate for some time prior to getting it?
Listening to music does inspire us, but Paramhansa Yogananda did say that when we are listening to music during meditation, part of our life force or concentration is drawn outwards in order to hear a physical sound. If you do want to use music, use it at the beginning of your meditation practice for inspiration.
I do think it is okay for you to use music with a visualization, however. One you do learn the meditation practice like Hong Sau and others that are in the Ananda Course, your energy will be so interiorized that you will not need music. We use music at the beginning of our meditation practice, during a chanting break, and at the end of our meditation.
I would recommend ordering the Ananda Course right away. This way you can learn techniques that will deeply interiorize you during meditation. The course will walk you all the way through. Also, you won't develop any bad habits that you will later have to overcome.
In divine friendship,
i am a buddhist, i have complete faith in the buddha and his dharma. moreover i am also attracted to yoga as it is explained by yoganada in his classic autobiography. i want to be clear if i will be welcome when i approach ananda to learn kriya yoga. will my buddhist faith be a disqualification for initiation into the method of kriya yoga? does your community insist on converting to hinduism or sanathan dharma before any real empowerment can be given?
Your Buddhist faith does not disqualify you from Kriya Yoga initiation.
However, the Kriya Yoga technique does require on the meditator's part a receptive openness and love for Paramhansa Yogananda and our other lineage of gurus.
Kriya isn't a mechanical technique, it is one that is empowered by the magnetic influence of the guru. So there should be a strong bond of deep appreciation and gratitude for our line of gurus. If this is something you deeply feel, then I would encourage you to contact us. Paramhansa
Yogananda taught several meditation techniques like Hong Sau that one can learn without taking discipleship. This is a very profound practice and it is one that he called baby Kriya. You can learn this right away on our website.
Blessings and light,
I can only feel comfortable and relaxed when I set slouching. Whenever I sit perfectly upright I feel knots of tension in my stomach and mind which prevents me from meditating. Any advice?
I would try sitting upright for just a short period of your meditation. This will help to strengthen your muscles and allow you to sit upright more comfortably. You can also put a pillow on your chair and use it to tilt your upper body so that it is easier to keep your spine upright. Also, doing yoga postures will help you to strengthen your back. Many people feel uncomfortable sitting upright when they begin to meditate but this is overcome as they continue to meditate. Hopefully this will be your experience, too. There is an excellent article on the Ananda Meditation Support site on how to sit comfortably in meditation. Go to www.learn-meditation.org and look under the meditation articles.
In divine friendship,
i have a friend who has recently begun to practice meditation. she is experiencing headaches when she tries to look into the spiritual eye. what would you recommend in such a case?
Your friend is probably physically tensing her muscles while she is concentrating at the spiritual eye. She should "concentrate" on gazing at the spiritual eye with relaxation. I would suggest having her feel that she is looking from the medulla oblongata, through the brain, to the spiritual eye. This will keep her from tensing her muscles around the spiritual eye. She can also feel like she is looking up at a high mountain in the distance.
In time it will be easier for her to keep her eyes uplifted. So tell her not to worry unduly about keeping the eyes focused at the spiritual in the beginning. She can spend just a short time focusing there. This way she can focus more on her meditation technique and less on how her eyes are placed!
In divine friendship,
I have a horrible habit of procrastination. I have never been able to establish a regular meditation routine, for some thirty years. How can I disrupt this habit, if I can't even make time to meditate?
Meditation, by getting us in touch with greater joy, love and harmony, blesses everything we do because we are living more in the consciousna of God and our true nature. Think of having more quality in your life rather than quanity. Take time to get in touch with that which will beautify your whole life, and that is meditation and attunement with God.
Swami Kriyananda, as busy as he is, has said he will never do anything if it means he will lose his inner peace. Because he has done this, he has been a great source of tremendous inspiration to the world, and has accomplish much more than if he would have acted out of restlessness.
What can you do specifically? Start creating the habit of meditation and it will be easier. For example, say, "Before I eat dinner, I will meditate." Then keep this promise, even if it is for 5 minutes. Soon you will want to do more than five minutes and you will find yourself meditating longer. I know of a father of three young boys who were so excited to see him after work, that my friend would stop a block away from home, and meditate in his car for 15 minutes, then go to his home to see his children, which he dearly loved. He knew once he was home, he wouldn't have the chance to meditate.
Also, try to be around other meditators who have a consistent practice. Good company is extremely important. Go on a meditation retreat every so often, and attend group meditation practices as much as possible.
May God bless your efforts to meditate and draw you ever closer to His peace and joy.
In divine friendship,
I have been meditating for 2 — 3 years, and was able to concentrate and stay calm during my meditations. However, I go deeper, I notice that something is fighting me. When I concentrate on the third eye my body jerks; sometimes the hole body shakes. What could that possibly be?
As one's life force or energy becomes interiorized during meditation, some people do experience sensations like the body jerking or shaking.
This is energy withdrawing from your physical body and starting to make its way up the spine. This energy rising in the body is a good thing and it just needs to be refined. We can do this by deeply relaxing our our body and mind so much that the physical body does not have to move with the energy. Keep concentrating at the third eye with devotion. In time the energy will refine itself and you will notice your body moving less.
The more refined your energy is, the more centralized it is in the spine, and the more inspiration you will feel.
This is a process and it may take some time to achieve this. It will go quicker if you keep your concentration at the spriitual eye with deep devotion and self-offering. Don't become excited over any of the enegeries; keep your attention of the technique as much as possible.
Make sure also, that you are not doing any meditation practices that over-stimulate the chakras. One should never try to stimulate the chakra using only one's willpower. Doing it this way can cause a tremendous amount of harm to your nervous sympton. Paramhansa Yogananda's techniques are marvelous for drawing the life force upwards, naturally and harmoniouly.
This is because love is a central attitude we should be meditating with, and Yogananda's techniques are very gentle, yet powerful. We just haven't seen people who are practiceing Yogananda's techniques have difficulties with inharmonious energy.
In divine friendship,
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