Guided Meditation with the Ananda Monks
September 22, 2018
A group of the Ananda monks lead a 32-minute guided meditation with Yogananda's meditation techniques.
Welcome friends to our meditation. Before we even begin with a prayer in the chat, let's start to prepare for meditation already.
Preparation for meditation
Relax the mind. Let go of all worries and thoughts of the day, past, and future. Let's just be in this moment, for this time.
Relax, also, physically the body, let go of any tension, physically and mentally, and have a straight spine throughout, even as we pray and chant, shoulders back, chest out. And during the meditation, we want to concentrate at a spiritual eye, eyes gazing gently upwards, which lifts our consciousness upwards also. Wherever we pay attention, that's where our energy goes. And so, if we pay attention and concentrate here at the spiritual eye, then it uplifts the energy and brings us much more quickly into an uplifted state of consciousness.
We'll be doing a chant and a prayer and then practicing some Hong Sau, an interiorization.
So, let's begin by praying together, invoking the presence of God and the great masters.
Heavenly Father, Divine Mother, friend, beloved God, Jesus Christ, Babaji-Krishna, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Sri Yukteswarji, Beloved Guru Paramhansa Yoganandaji, saints of all religions, we humbly bow at Thy feet.
Oh, Great Masters, be with us as we meditate. Help us to relax our bodies, to still our minds, to let go of all thoughts, past, present, and future. Open our hearts to receive your grace, your guidance, and help as we try to contact the divine within ourselves.
AUM, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
And we'll chant now, and this is a beautiful chant written by a great master from India, Guru Nanak. The chant is called Oh God, Beautiful. And the first couple of lines are:
Oh God, beautiful, Oh God beautiful.
At Thy feet oh, I do bow; at Thy feet oh, I do bow.
Finding a comfortable seated position. Relax the body sitting upright with a straight spine, relaxing the shoulders, opening the heart, and turning the palms facing upward in that act of receiving.
So, in meditation, as we release the restless thoughts, relaxing the body, and beginning to withdraw our energy, through concentration and absorbing ourselves in that presence of stillness within, we're receiving that grace that's already within us.
We're opening up in receptivity, that all of these qualities that we're seeking in our life are already within us, this peace, this joy, the stillness, and this expansive state of awareness of that we are one with all that is. We are one with that presence of divine love that flows through all creation.
So, palms facing upward, feel that you're opening yourself up in this meditation to receive that which is already yours.
And we're first going to release any lingering tension in the body, using a double breathing exercise; we're going to take a double breath in through the nose. It's a short to long inhalation. We're going to tense the body in a wave of energy with lots of energy and willpower.
Then we're going to relax that energy through a double breath through the mouth with a short to long exhalation. When we release the breath, release the tension, tune in through your awareness to feel that sense of expanding relaxation within you. So, let's do a few now together.
So, let's take a double inhalation through the nose and tense the body. Vibrate with lots of energy, and release. Relax and feel. Again, double inhalation, tense and vibrate and release. One last time: double inhale, vibrate, and release.
Take a moment now to just tune into the breath with your awareness. Just begin to observe the breath flowing within you. You can imagine yourself standing by the side of the sea, watching the tide gently flowing in and back out.
And behind closed eyes—gently close the eyes and gaze upwards as you begin to visualize yourself standing by the sea, feeling that sense of expansive beauty all around you. Feel the gentle tide as it rises and falls back, withdrawing back into the ocean.
Feel the power of the ocean as you tune into that flow of the tide.
Now, just the same, begin to observe the breath. Every inhalation, every exhalation feel a sense of gratitude, feeling that sense of grace that is flowing through you at this very moment.
So, let's just begin to release the mind from all attachments to the past and to the future and know that as we become present in this moment, all things will be offered into that light, offered into that solution-oriented consciousness. So, the greatest service that we can bestow upon our life is to become present, holding that present moment awareness as we begin to observe the flow of the breath.
And as you feel the breath flowing within, feel you're relaxing more and more into that awareness of that grace that's flowing with your breath.
The Hong Sau technique of concentration
We're going to transition into our meditation using a very powerful, ancient technique. This is the Hong Sau technique of concentration. Hong Sau is a Sanskrit mantra. It's a technique of concentration, a technique to bring us to a point of absolute stillness with using the breath.
This mantra, Hong Sau, meaning I am Spirit—Hong, meaning I am, Sau, is Spirit. When we use this mantra as we engage the mind with repeating this mantra as we follow the breath, there are great benefits that come when we attune to this mantra.
But even more so, within this technique, within Hong Sau lies the power. As we feel the vibration of this mantra, we're not only repeating this mentally but feel the power of the vibration.
Just as when you speak, you can feel that vibration within you. So even though we repeat this mantra silently, try to feel within you, through your intuition, through your feeling nature, feel that vibration as you repeat Hong Sau within.
First, prepare for this technique. Behind closed eyes, gently gaze upwards to the point between the eyebrows. So, we want to feel that we're relaxing upwards with our energy, up to the point between the eyebrows. This is the point of our intuition, the point of superconsciousness. And when we gaze upward, it's a relaxed gaze, but feel that you're gazing upward in that act of anticipatory joy.
And as Yogananda has stated that, "behind this veil that separates us," perhaps you may only see darkness, or if you see a little bit of light, keep concentrating there with all your focus. And know that "just behind the darkness," just behind this veil, "lies the light that is brighter than a thousand million suns," that Yoganandaji said. So, gaze upward, with that anticipatory joy as you offer yourself upwards.
On the inhalation, we're going to follow the breath, repeating Hong silently within. Feel the vibration of this mantra as it follows the breath, Hong on the inhalation.
When the breath is ready to release of its own accord, follow the breath with the mantra Sau. As you go deeper and deeper into this sacred technique Hong Sau, I am spirit, feel the breath becoming still.
If there's a pause in between the breath, feel yourself absorbed in that experience of stillness or anything that you may experience. But offer yourself, feel yourself absorbed in that, that presence of absolute stillness in between the breath. Then when the breath is ready to flow, follow it with the mantra so Hong on the inhalation, Sau on the exhalation.
And as you practice Hong Sau now, feel you can begin to tune in to feel a sense of coolness entering in the nostrils. And as you go deeper into this practice of Hong Sau, feel that your practice of Hong Sau is becoming more and more interiorized, where you feel this flow of energy, the breath, beginning to shorten and beginning to focus more in the area of the point between the eyebrows.
You can begin to feel perhaps even the breath from the heart to the point between the eyebrows, and then as you continue to go deeper, feel the breath withdrawing. As you feel the energy practicing Hong Sau higher and higher toward the point between the eyebrows until that last the breath is just absolutely still, resting there at the point between the eyebrows.
If the mind begins to wander, just bring yourself back to the mantra, to the practice of Hong Sau, and know that concentration is just like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Just continue to bring yourself back to becoming aware of the breath, adding the mantra Hong Sau, Hong Sau.
So, we’ll meditate now, offering ourself with all the concentration and all of our willpower, and know that this grace, the blessings are with you, guiding you as you offer yourself into your practice.
And now, as we end our Hong Sau meditation, let's feel deeply the blessings of stillness, of peace, harmony, love, and light and call to mind any loved ones, friends or family, and the whole planet. Remembering that meditation is one of the greatest gifts, one of the greatest acts of service that we can do to raise our own consciousness but also the consciousness of the planet.
Blessings of stillness of peace
So, let's call forth the blessings of our own meditation and send out those vibrations, send out that energy to all hearts, all minds, all souls, and those in need of peace, of healing, of love.
Let's rub our hands together, gathering energy from our heart center and sending it out to the planet with three AUMs of blessings.
AUM, AUM, AUM