Most of our waking hours we live in the senses, identified with our human nature. Meditation gives us an opportunity to identify with our divine nature, Spirit—God.
Meditation gives us a respite, where we enter into the realm of spirit. Paramhansa Yogananda said: “Meditation is the inner switch that you turn on to connect yourself with the Infinite.” The essence of meditation is to simply Be—focused on our connection with the Infinite. Meditation techniques help us attain the higher state of awareness where this is possible.
In our busy lives, we are always Doing. It can be natural, then, when we meditate, to think of meditation primarily in terms of doing our techniques, and to rush through the Being part of meditation. More and more through the years, I have come to recognize the immense value of sitting in stillness—Being—after practicing the meditation techniques.
Swami Kriyananda emphasized this in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga: “Never end your meditation with techniques. They are like finger exercises on the piano, which enable one to play fluently but are no substitute for actual playing.”
The practice of the meditation techniques can be described as preparing a meal, and the Being part of meditation, as eating and enjoying the meal.
Saint Teresa of Avila also emphasized in her writings the importance of “Resting in Stillness.“ She said that when we are able to set aside our intellect, our reasoning, and our ego through meditation, we are able to rest in God. God wants us to experience His love and joy. He invites us into His kingdom and makes us citizens of heaven.
“Father, Thou has made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” (Saint Augustine)
Paramhansa Yogananda writes about what he calls “soul nervousness”:
There is a common form of nervousness: soul nervousness. The soul is so identified with the body that it has forgotten its real nature. Soul nervousness can be destroyed only by meditation—by transferring the attention from your nerves to the perception of Infinite Happiness within, transferring your attention from the bundle of bodily sensations to the infinite nature, which is your true Self. When you have health, you want wealth, and when you have both, you want happiness. Nothing will satisfy you until you find God. Your nervousness will disappear when you realize that you are one with God. Your spiritual Self is calling you every day. You must realize that you are not this body, but the Infinite Spirit within.
— How to Have Courage, Calmness, and Confidence
All meditation techniques are doorways to the goal, which is resting in union with God.
Swami Kriyananda also explains:
At the still center of all things rests the unmoving Spirit. The outward appearance of this world is created by the movement of Spirit in opposite directions from a state of rest. The perfection of the Hong-Sau technique of meditation means to pass from breathing (watching the breath) to breathlessness. Only in breathlessness can God be fully realized.
— The Art and Science of Raja Yoga
The state of absorption (dhyana) is the state of rest in God. As Paramhansa said: “When motion ceases, God begins.”
In Awaken to Superconsciousness Swami Kriyananda writes:
Dhyana signifies that stage when the mind, calm and fully receptive, loses itself in the light (or in some other divine attribute) and finds its ego-consciousness dissolving in that light.
If one is communing with AUM, the sound vibration is experienced in the entire body. The soul marvels in the realization: “This is what I am! Not a physical body, but a blissful manifestation of AUM.
The light that one beholds in deep meditation, or the sound that one hears, or the love or the joy, redefine one’s self-awareness. One recognizes oneself as a manifestation of Infinite Truth, and longs to become absorbed in it.
Spiritual awakening is an “unlearning,” finally, in the sense of being a process of divine remembering. “Ah, yes!” the soul murmurs, “I recall everything now. This is what I am!”
Dhyana, is the true state of meditation. At this point the ego, contemplating the supernal reality, forgets its separate identity and becomes the soul.
In the Being part of meditation, we can focus and absorb ourselves in one of the eight attributes of God: Peace, calmness, love, joy, power, light, wisdom, or sound.
To help us rest in God, Swami Kriyananda offers many visualizations on the eight attributes of God.
Swami Kriyananda wrote a chant called: Rest in God. The words are: “Rest in God, live in God, in His Light, Love, Joy.”
You can listen to Ananda Kirtan (a group of singers and musicians from Ananda) chanting “Rest in God”: