On a recent vacation, my husband and I were hiking near Calistoga, California.
When we started our hike, we were in a valley: thick forest, many trees, but little sunlight. We kept putting out energy to climb, and as we neared the top of the mountain, we began to see more and more of the whole valley; it was dramatic. The sun was shining brightly, the air was fresh, and the view was incredible.
I found this analogy helpful for people, when explaining what meditation is:
In our daily life we mostly live in the valley, with a narrow view, and the use of our five senses, logical mind and intellect.
When we meditate, we put out energy to interiorize and lift our consciousness, and we rise to the top of the mountain. We get perspective, we receive fresh insights and solutions, and the mind is clear and light.
True meditation is superconsciousness. Paramhansa Yogananda used the term “superconsciousness” to refer to that level of awareness that is achieved when the individual merges with Infinite consciousness. From that state we feel unity with all creation; we’re able to grasp the subtlest truths of the universe; and we can tap into an unlimited stream of energy and creative solutions in our life.
Yogananda describes his first experience of this state of superconsciousness in his Autobiography of a Yogi: “An oceanic joy broke upon calm endless shores of my soul. The Spirit of God, I realized, is exhaustless Bliss; His body is countless tissues of light.
“A swelling glory within me began to envelop town, 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.”
This superconsciousness level of perception is something attainable by everyone. Through the practical techniques of yoga and meditation that Yogananda brought to the West, he has made high states of spiritual development accessible to all who sincerely seek them.
Here are some scientific research articles showing the power of meditation to help us cope with life’s challenges, and find peace of mind:
Free the Mind Reveals Power of Meditation
Doctor’s Orders: 20 Minutes Of Meditation twice a Day
Free Your Mind Through Meditation
New Meditation Research Studies 2010-2012