If I try to meditate, I experience pressure sensation in my forehead. So, I am unable to meditate. Are there any other ways in which I can seek God, when meditation is not an option?
We receive reports like this from time to time; not just online but in our many classes throughout the world. While I don’t want to suggest a one-size-fits all solution, I can say with experience, including my own, that for many people the pressure you are feeling is the result of “trying too hard” to concentrate (usually at the point between the eyebrows, the seat of the “spiritual eye” as it is taught frequently).
There may be, in your mind, too high an expectation for results in meditation; even, perhaps, a subconscious fear about what could happen. Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: “The soul LOVES to meditate; the ego HATES to meditate!”
You didn’t make any reference to what kind of a technique; or what kind of a step by step routine you are following; or whether you are just trying meditation on your own. But no matter what it is, Yogananda taught a simple, step-by-step, process that begins with RELAXATION. Relaxation is the first and essential step in “going within” and past the body; past the restless thoughts; into the still state awaiting “the coming” of light, love, joy, peace, or, more personally, the guru or deity. You can’t do a frontal assault on the soul. Swami Kriyananda describes meditation as “upward relaxation into superconsciousness!” (cool, huh?)
1. Let go of all expectations of what is “supposed” to happen during meditation.
2. Do some simple stretches (yoga, etc.) to relax the body.
3. When you sit, do some preliminary pranayam(s): simple, diaphragmatic breathing. But not in the style of a competitive sport or gym workout, but as a relaxing, enjoyable way of moving from outward activities and thoughts into and toward a still state of quietness.
4. Offer a heartfelt prayer to God, guru, etc. as you feel. Maybe read a few lines from the Gita or other inspirational material.
5. Perhaps chant a few rounds of AUM, whether aloud or mentally as your circumstances at home permit.
6. Then begin feeling the breath moving through its normal course: first in the lungs, and then as you get calmer, follow its movement through nasal passages. You can use the Upanishadic chant, “Hong [inhalation] Sau [exhalation]” or any word formula in your native language that means the equivalent of I AM PEACE; I AM SPIRIT; etc.
7. Let that taper off into or towards total stillness: of body and mind. Even if this only happens for a few seconds or a few minutes by total relaxation of mental activity enjoy the peace of the quiet mind. In this stage, if you are of a devotional nature, pray in the silent language of your heart, COME TO ME, REVEAL THYSELF. When your enjoyment begins to wane, then chant AUM and with gratitude end your meditation.
For now, the instruction of raising your eyes and gazing through the point between the eyebrows might be suspended in favor of resting in the heart center until you are calm and relaxed enough to “look up.”
For more detailed instructions on this simple technique visit any Ananda center in India and/or go online to www.AnandaIndia.org. Also the American web site has plenty of meditations, too: www.Ananda.org. Perhaps best of all is search for the Ananda Meditation app in your “play store” on your smart phone and it has everything right there: wherever you go.
Blessings and joy to you,
Seattle WA USA