Step by step guided meditation techniques for beginners - By Paramhansa Yoganand
God is silence. To find him, the devotee must establish within himself a temple of silence. God is like the moon, and the devotee’s mind is like a lake. So long as the surface of the mental lake is disturbed by restless thoughts, the reflection of the divine moon will be distorted. But when the waves of the mind are stilled by calm concentration and meditation, the divine image can be clearly seen at last.
The fastest way to find God is to go within, in meditation. And the fastest way to achieve success in meditation is to practice some scientific technique for bringing the mind and life force the Prana Shakti under the control of one’s will.
Before I proceed by conducting the sin of copying this article ‘step by step guided meditation techniques for beginners’ from the self realization course originally written by Gurudev Paramhans Yoganand, I heartily pray the great Gurus to forgive me, if I do any mistake. This article is dedicated to our beloved Gurudev and Yogada Satsang Society.
The science of meditation is known as Raja Yoga – the royal highway to God. It is the path taught by Paramahansa Yogananda and the other masters of Yogoda Satsanga. In their lessons, you will receive meditation techniques from time to time, some which are the highest ever taught by any great Rishi of India. Sincere practice will lead you quickly to God. As a preparation to receive these techniques, you should begin now to set aside some time every day, preferably both morning and evening, to sit in silent meditation on you infinite beloved. For correct meditation, please begin with the following practices:
Guided Meditation Techniques:
1. Sit upright with a straight spine, in any posture that is comfortable to you. Padmasana or lotus pose, semi lotus pose, Sukhasana are the best postures, however even sitting on an armless chair with your feet flat on the floor, is all right provided you keep your spine erect and your body relaxed. Keep your abdomen in, chest out, chin parallel to the ground, and draw your shoulder blades gently together. Rest your hands, palms upward, at the juncture of the thighs and the abdominal region. Be comfortable and relaxed.
2. Look up, with closed eyes, concentrating your attention at the point between the eyebrows. This is the seat of spiritual vision. It is also the centre of concentration. A person deep in concentration often ‘knits’ his brows at the point. Do not strain the eyes the upward gaze comes naturally when one is relaxed and calmly concentrated. What is important is fixing the whole attention at the point between the eye brows.
3. In time, you may perceive light at this point, or even see the spiritual eye of three colours. This luminous eye is the astral eye of intuitive omnipresent perception. It takes deep concentration and calmness to behold the spiritual eye; a golden halo surrounding a circle of blue, in the centre of which palpitates a five pointed white star. If you can see this eye, strive to penetrate it.
4. Mentally, with deep devotion, say a prayer to God, the great gurus, and the saints of all religions, to help you in your meditation.
5. To awaken fervor in your meditation, chant out loud for a time, or mentally repeat, ‘ reveal thyself! Reveal thyself!’ fervor is essential for success in meditation.
6. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nostrils to a count of 20; exhale slowly through the nostrils to a count of 20. Practice this six to twelve times. A shorter count may be used, provided it is the same count in each of the three parts.
7. Visualization: in order to attain a state of divine consciousness, which is omnipresent, it is necessary first to expand the mind by meditation on some aspect of God’s infinite nature. You should understand that visualization is not the same as realization, but visualization is an effective aid in stimulating one’ latent diving memory (smriti) by which the devotee recalls and reclaims his lost oneness with God. Exercise in visualization will be given at various times in these Yogoda Satsanga Lessons. Metaphysical meditations, a book by Paramahansa Yogananda, contains many such exercises. The following exercise was often used by him when instructing classes and congregations in the science of meditation.
7. “Sit upright. Focus your gaze and mind at the Kutastha Chaitanya (Christ Consciousness) centre between the eyebrows. Fill your heart with joy. Behold! The sphere of darkness that you see with closed eyes is becoming a sphere of light and joy. This sphere is expanding. Now it is bigger than your body.
8. Go on expanding the sphere of joy and light. Your home and everyone in it are present in the sphere of light that you are beholding. Go on expanding it until you see your whole neighborhood in this sphere of light and joy. Ever increasing, the sphere of light and joy in encompassing all of India, and is still expanding, until it includes Asia, Europe, America, the world! See the world bathed in the light o fthis peace ful sphere of joy. The earth appears as a little ball moving in the vast sphere of light and joy. The sphere is becoming even larger; see ! our planetary and solar system the milky way, and island galaxies like little bubbles, are floating in it.
9. ‘Expand the sphere of light and joy within you, in which all things are moving, glimmering like the lights of a city. Meditate on that joy, which is God; for the scriptures say, ‘Thou art that.’ This vast sphere of light that is your father is also your self. You are this sphere of light and joy! Meditate on that. You have no boundaries eternity above, below, everywhere. In this eternal sphere of light and joy all things are moving. Mentally affirm, ‘ in men the worlds are floating like bubbles. I and the Infinite are one.’
10. “now open your eyes. Look at the body and see how little it is! Close your eyes and realize again that you are not the body. You are the eternal sphere of light an joy in which all things have their being. Go on meditating, mentally affirming: ‘I am the cosmic sphere of light, joy, of love, in which worlds and universes are floating like bubbles. My father is this cosmic sphere of light; my father and I are one. I am not the body; I am the eternal sphere of light. Aum Shati Shati Shati’
11. The more you practice this exercise in visualization, the more vividly your soul will remember its true status as a price of the kingdom of infinity. The prodigal soul, long truant on the pathways of incarnations, will return at last to rest in the arms of the infinite beloved.
12. The meditation period should last at least thirty minutes the morning and thirty minutes at night. The longer you sit, enjoying the state of meditative calm, the faster you will progress spiritually. Carry it into your daily activities the calmness you feel in meditation; that calmness will help you to bring harmony and happiness into every department of your life.
Unending joy awaits the sincere seeker of truth that conscientiously meditates each day. Through the grace of God, through the blessings of the masters, and through your own devotional efforts you can achieve the state of diving joy experienced by all saints that have become established in the Lord (i.e. consciously aware of their identity with spirit.
Aids to meditation
1. Form the habit of regularity in your meditations. It will be easier for you to put aside all other duties, and to go deep into your true self, if you can sit for meditation at the same hours every day.
2. As soon as possible, arrange a separate room or even a screened off portion of your bedroom, to be used strictly for meditation. Try not to use that place for any other purpose than meditation. Also, place a picture of the gurus on the altar. Thus you will impregnate the spot with spiritual vibrations that will help you to make each day’s meditation deeper than the meditation of the preceding day.
3. Arrange a comfortable seat. A cushion is recommended, as it permits the natural flow of circulation. Cover the meditation seat with a deer skin, a tiger skin, or a woolen blanket, in order to insulate the body from the downward pull of certain currents in the earth. This insulation will assist you in the raising and focusing of your life energy (Prana) at the point between the eyebrows.
4. Sit facing east or north. Certain currents flowing from these directions will assist your concentration if you meditate facing one of them.
5. Hold the body perfectly still and relaxed. Any physical tension or movement will prevent you from lifting your mind above body consciousness. Every now and then mentally check the body to make sure it is relaxed.
6. Remember that intensity of concentration is much more important than the length of time one sits. It is better to concentrate with intensity for five minutes than half heartedly for half an hour. But intensity does not mean strain, or concentration with a sense of effort. It means complete, loving absorption in the object of your attention. When you can meditate a short time with this kind of absorption, extend the duration of your meditation. The longer you meditate with intensity, the more you will be filled with the joy of spirit.
Be persistent if you would attract God’s attention. Remember that meditation must be practiced with devotion, with the real love for God. Love of God means craving for God. The magnetic attraction of love he cannot resist. Meditation techniques help to awaken in you that diving craving which will take you to the heights of realization, of soul union with God Bliss. Resolve that you will never give up until he comes to you. Whether you realize it or not, he is listening to the cry of your heart. In his own time, he will bestow the supreme gift of himself.
- This step by step guided meditation technique, is originally written by Paramhans Yoganand (Autobiography of a Yogi) in the YSS self realization course. The YSS self realization course deals the Kriyayoga Meditation lessons. You can join here to change your life and destination.