Expanding Your Consciousness
September 30, 2018
Nayaswami Jyotish leads a 30-minute guided meditation to help you expand your consciousness.
Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi are founding members and spiritual directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide, as well as long time teachers and meditators.
Hello, and welcome. Today we're going to do a meditation primarily focused on the state of expansion.
Meditation has three phases to it. The first is relaxation. And we have to relax both the body and the mind. And then secondly, after we're relaxed, we need to concentrate. And that concentration will bring us into a stiller state, mentally and emotionally. And then finally, the final stage of meditation is to expand our consciousness, because ultimately, our consciousness is infinite. And we at this point in our development, feel confined to a body and a personality. But meditation will help us go beyond that into our infinite reality. So let's start, first of all with the prayer.
Heavenly Father, Divine Mother, Friend, Beloved God, Great Masters, Jesus Christ, Babaji Krishna, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, our beloved Master Paramahansa Yoganandaji. Saints of all religions, we humbly bow to you all. Bless us, that we might feel our expanded Self, to go beyond the confines of this limited body, this limited personality. Let us feel our unity with all things and with all space. AUM, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Now let's begin our meditation with a chant. Chanting, Paramhansa Yogananda said, is half the battle. For one thing, it opens the heart, and it helps us concentrate the mind. Most of the chants that we do are, in fact, affirmations of a certain state of awareness, a state of energy that helps us expand. Today we're going to do one of my favorite chants called "Door of My Heart".
The words are:
Door of my heart, opened wide I keep for Thee. Wilt Thou come, wilt Thou come, just for once come to me. Will my days fly away without seeing Thee my Lord? Night and day, night and day, I look for Thee night and day.
As you chant this, try to feel that your heart is open to the influence of the Divine and that you're trying to draw that presence, that infinite consciousness into your own expanded consciousness. And if you do that, try to chant first with the words and then get behind the words into the feeling of this. This is a very devotional and very reverential chant, so try to feel that you're drawing the presence of God into your life and into your consciousness.
[Chant is sung]
Okay, now let's begin our meditation. As I said, meditation has three phases: relaxation, concentration, and expansion.
So let's begin with a couple of exercises that will help us relax the body. The body holds tension, and unless we relax it, we won't be able to meditate deeply. We're going to start by inhaling, tensing the whole body, and then throwing the breath out and relaxing completely. This helps us get rid of subconscious tensions. Then we'll go on to a complete relaxation of the body.
So close your eyes. Inhale through the nose, tense. Throw the breath out and relax. Relax completely. Now let's do that again. Inhale and tense, throw the breath out and relax. Again relax completely. Now one more time, inhale and tense, relax completely.
Now we'll do a deep relaxation starting at the feet, concentrate on your feet. Feel the energy there. Feel that you're relaxing, holding no tension: the ankles, now relax the calves and the shins, the lower legs. You can feel that there's space there or light there. But let go of all tension.
Relax the knees, especially the back of the knees. Relax the thighs and upper legs, the hips, abdomen. We hold a lot of tension in the abdomen, relax it.
As you inhale feel the stomach slightly expand and slightly come in, baby breathing some people call this. And spend a moment just feeling the stomach go out with the inhalation and in with the exhalation. This is caused by deep diaphragmatic breathing.
Now relax the hands, the forearms, the upper arms. Relax the chest, shoulders. Again we hold a lot of tension in the shoulders. Be sure they're relaxed.
Relax the throat and the neck, jaw. Relax the lips and cheeks, the eyes and eyelids. Finally, relax the forehead. Check to see that your spine is upright and relaxed. Your shoulders slightly back. Check one more time to see that the body is completely relaxed.
Now bring your attention to the point between the eyebrows. Again, feel that your forehead is relaxed but look into the point between the eyebrows or through that point as if out into infinity and relax completely. Let's relax the mind and the emotions. We can do that best by focusing at the point between the eyebrows and just observing. Become the observer and not the thinker. Let go of all concerns about the past. Let go of all projects and anxiety about the future. Be completely centered here and now.
Now we'll move on to a concentration exercise. But this also needs to be done in a completely relaxed manner. We're going to watch the breath just observing that. So inhale deeply. Exhale three times. And just observe the breath as you inhale and observe the breath as you exhale, watch the inhalation and the exhalation. Don't try to control, only observe.
Now if you would like you can add a mantra to this observation of the breath. As the breath comes in with the inhalation mentally chant, "Hong", H-O-N-G, and as the breath goes out mentally chant, "Sau", S-A-U. Hong Sau, Hong Sau. This is done only mentally of course. This mantra helps to relax more deeply, and bring your energy into a concentrated state.
If you find that your mind has wandered, bring it back just observing the breath and mentally chanting Hong Sau. This requires both relaxation and concentration. Let's do this silently now for several minutes.
[Period of silence] If you find the mind has wandered just gently bring it back, concentrate on the breath, just observing it.
This technique alone will bring you into an expanded state. But let's also do another exercise that will help us expand our consciousness.
So let's end the practice of Hong Sau, the watching of the breath. Take another deep breath and exhale three times.
Concentration with Expansion
Now concentrate at the point between the eyebrows. Try if you can to see light there. If you can see light then try to penetrate through that.
See a golden tunnel, large golden tunnel. And penetrate through that tunnel. And if you can, now see a blue tunnel; penetrate your consciousness through that. And if you don't see these tunnels, that's okay.
Just feel that your consciousness is expanding out through the point between the eyebrows until you're out in space, just floating, completely relaxed, completely at peace.
Feel that you're surrounded by space, infinite space, a trillion miles in front, a trillion miles behind, above, beneath, all around.
Feel that your body is made of space. Just float. Feel your consciousness expanding and expanding, completely relaxed, completely at peace. Let's continue this in silence for several minutes.
[Period of silence]
Now in this expanded state feel joy, the joy of your own being. Someone mentioned that it could be equated with happiness without any cause. Feel completely joyful, completely relaxed, and infinitely expanded. Let's sit in silence deepening this experience. [Period of silence]
Now as we begin to come to the end of our meditation, let's send waves of blessing, waves of joy, and peace. First, out to the loved ones that you have in your life, your family, your friends, everyone that you're connected with. If anyone is having physical, mental, emotional problems, difficulties in their life of any kind, float them in the expanded joy and peace of your being, blessing them and wishing them well.
Now if you're having difficulty with anyone, or if there's something that you don't like, or someone that you don't like, float that in the expanded awareness of your own joy, bathing it in a sea of acceptance and love of the person, not necessarily the action.
But give everyone and everything in the world your love. And share your joy with them. Let them float with you in this expanded state.
Fill with Energy
Now let's come back into the body. Take a deep breath and exhale three times. Feel your body. Again, feel it relaxed but now filled with energy, filled with peace, filled with joy.
Act with Peace
Try to maintain this expanded sense as you transit into your working day, into your active life. Spend a few minutes before getting too active. Just doing a routine task or two. But feeling that you're doing that with joy and with peace.
As you do that, you will begin to be able to build a bridge between the expanded states of consciousness that you experience in meditation and your everyday life.
Visualize the day ahead of you. Especially if there are any points of potential difficulty, fill those points with joy and with peace, visualizing everything going well. Everything filled and embraced by the joy of your own one being.
AUM, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.