Dear Daily Meditator,
One of Swami Kriyananda’s secrets of meditation deserves special attention, because it has the potential to become a great inspiration for our practice:
The Secret of meditation is…
to feel SPACE in the body,
and gradually expand that feeling
from the body outward,
into infinite SPACE.
Here is a proposal: this week let’s use this Secret as a theme, to inspire our daily meditations. In other words, we all concentrate on SPACE, for one entire week. Like curious meditative scientists, let’s see what happens. Sounds good?
To Focus Our Intention
To tune into the topic of SPACE during this week, here what might help you: find a beautiful photo of the cosmos in the internet, and print it. Place it where you meditate. Swami Kriyananda in fact recommends:
As a focus for your devotion, you may find it helpful to set up an altar in your place of meditation. Include pictures on the altar, if you like, of saints, or of images of God, or of infinite light and SPACE. You may even find photographs of stars and galaxies helpful, as reminders of the vastness of SPACE.
Yogananda’s Daily Inspiration
Before starting our practices, every day let’s absorb the following passage of the Autobiography of a Yogi, in which Yogananda describes his inner journey into SPACE:
A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. The entire cosmos, gently luminous, like a city seen afar at night, glimmered within the infinitude of my being. The sharply etched global outlines faded somewhat at the farthest edges; there I could see a mellow radiance, ever-undiminished. It was indescribably subtle; the planetary pictures were formed of a grosser light.
After these elevating words we begin with our special SPACE-sadhana… yoga, relaxation, pranayama, and meditation.
However, I realize that it is bothersome to have to read instructions as you practice. Therefore I decided to make a recording, to guide you. Easier! Here it is as a video and MP3.
Guided SPACE-Sadhana: Video and MP3
The instructions are taken from Swami Kriyananda’s books, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga, and Awaken to Superconsciousness. Enjoy your daily journey into SPACE!
Guided SPACE-Sadhana: Written Directions
Let’s begin with just three simple yoga postures. Directions for how to do them are on the video and audio recordings.
Padahastasana – Jackknife Pose
Enter into the pose, starting from a standing position.
Be aware of the tensions that prevent you from stretching further. Relax them. To relax, think SPACE at the points of strain.
The yogi is taught, as an exercise in mental freedom, to meditate on vast SPACE. Normally, such spatial awareness is obstructed by one’s sense of physical heaviness. In Padahastasana, this natural sense of gravity is disoriented by the half-upward, half- downward, position of the body. If one can relax in this position, one finds that the conflicting directions help the mind to overcome its bondage to gravity. Affirm mentally, “Nothing on earth can hold me.”
Muktasana – Freedom Pose
Again, enter the pose.
Feel the triumphant freedom that is suggested by this position. Feel your energy and consciousness being swept upward to the sky, into SPACE. Affirm mentally: “I am free! I am free!”
Savasana: Deep Relaxation
Stretch out on the floor, comfortably.
Now, strive for deep relaxation. Think of your body as surrounded by SPACE — SPACE in all directions, spreading out to infinity.
Now think of your feet, and visualize this SPACE gradually seeping through the pores of the skin into your feet, until your feet become SPACE. Visualize this SPACE as gradually coming up into the calves, thighs, hips, the abdomen and stomach, the hands, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, chest, the back of the neck, sides of the neck, the throat, jaw, tongue, lips, cheeks, eyes, and brain. In feeling SPACE in your brain, release from your mind all regrets about the past, all worries about the future. Rest in the infinite ocean of the eternal Present. The objects of endless human concern no longer exist. There is nothing in all eternity, but the Right Here, the Right Now.
Affirm mentally: “Bones, muscles, movement I surrender now; anxiety, elation and depression, churning thoughts: All these I give into the hands of peace.”
Sit up, on a chair, cushion, or bench.
Sit upright, keeping your spine straight and your body relaxed. To relax completely, first inhale deeply and tense the whole body. Next, exhale forcibly and relax. Repeat this exercise two or three times.
Sit upright, away from the back of your chair (unless you are sitting on the floor).
Concentrate in the spine. Remember, the spine is not your backbone (those knobs that you feel along the back). It runs more or less through the center of your body. Feel that as your center.
Sway the body left and right. Feel a resistance to that movement in the spine—as though you were perfectly still at your own center.
Now, feel yourself breathing in the spine: up with every inhalation, down with every exhalation. Let the movement begin in the region of the heart, starting at a point slightly below it and extending slightly above.
Lengthen the flow gradually, beginning lower in the spine and ending higher up.
At last, take a slow, deep breath through the nostrils, beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the point between the eyebrows. Hold the breath at that point as long as it is comfortable to do so.
This time, with your exhalation, feel your breath and consciousness soaring out through the forehead, taking you with them into infinite SPACE.
Concentrate, now, on infinity. Feel that from your own center all things are cognizable.
Concentrate on the Breath
By concentration on the breath one acquires the consciousness of being air, or infinite SPACE. …
When concentrating on the breath, keep your mind focused not so much on the mechanism of breathing (the movement of the navel, lungs, etc.) as on the breath itself. In this way, your mental identification will become at last with air, with SPACE, not with a merely negative cessation of physical movement.
Direct the will, rather, toward the thought of becoming the air that is flowing in the nose, or of becoming boundless SPACE at the Christ center.
Meditate on SPACE, and on the feeling of freedom from body-awareness.
When the Breath is Still
As your practice deepens particularly enjoy the pauses when the breath is not flowing; use them to become more fully identified with the thought: “I am He! I am infinite SPACE!”
Sit very still.
Feel that, surrounding your body,
Is an infinity of dark SPACE.
Listen to the whispering silence!
Out of silence was sound born.
Out of darkness the light came.
Of that light, suns and galaxies drew their substance.
Light, not form, is the truth that infuses the universe.
Surround your body now with a halo of blue light—
Soft, soothing—a luminous peace.
Light enters you;
It pierces the pores of your skin;
SPACE lies outside you no longer: It has made you its own.
It reaches deep into your muscles, your bones.
The sense of heaviness has been lifted from you.
You are made of pure light.
Like a boundless sphere, now,
The light has started to grow.
Shining freedom—claim it your own!
Light and joy thrill the air of the room.
The people, the objects nearby—
All these, in the peacefulness of that blue light and joy,
Are one with you.
See: Light is embracing the house in which you live.
It reaches out to your neighborhood—
To your township.
Like an expanding sail, ever outward
The light swells.
It embraces your country—
The whole world is basking
In the peaceful radiance of your joy.
Release your light from the boundaries of this world.
Behold, light rays stream out
To the limits of the solar system—
To distant stars—
To our galactic fringe.
At last, countless galaxies in all SPACE,
Their stars, tiny like the lights of a far-off city,
Glimmer serenely in the vastness of your being.
God’s light and you are one!
God’s joy and you are one!
O ray of the Infinite!
You are not only this little body:
You are more—much more.
All the atoms of creation gather,
Like thirsty children,
To drink from the waters,
To play in the fountain spray
Of your inexhaustible peace!
End with this Metaphysical Meditation of Yogananda:
I soar in the plane of consciousness
above, beneath, on the left, on the right,
within and without, everywhere,
to find that in every nook of my SPACE home
I have always been in the sacred presence of my Father.
Try to take the happy feeling of expansion into your daily life. every now and then, when life allows it, open and close your eyes, remember your meditation, and say with Yogananda:
With open eyes I behold myself as the little body.
With closed eyes I perceive myself as the cosmic center
around which revolves
the sphere of eternity,
the sphere of bliss,
the sphere of omnipresent, omniscient,
With divine friendship and love from my space to yours,
P.S. By now we are a family of Daily Meditators. Through this practice we might grow closer and feel more united. As we expand into SPACE, let’s imagine touching each other. In SPACE our souls meet. We will have a cosmic reunion of Daily Meditators.