Blog: Yoga Path
by munificent

Yoga Inner Journey

Meditation, breath, & kundalini yoga- its a choice!

Date:   1/13/2006 7:50:27 PM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 1755 times

Our Inner Journey

One of the goals of silent meditation is to discover and connect with our inner state of being. Our inner state is complex, has many levels and is ever changing. When we first begin our inner journey, our first encounter is with our mundane thoughts-about what we have to do, our plans for the day, our opinions about what we are doing at the moment.

I remember my first attempt at "meditation" which must have been about 1973-4. I had been practicing hatha yoga daily for 3-4 years. I decided I would sit still for a few minutes after my asanas. Wow. What an effort that was to actually sit "still" for the eternity of three minutes! I certainly wasn't still and my mind certainly wasn't silent. But I did sit there for three minutes and that was a great accomplishment for me at that time.

I was very pleased with myself for actually attempting this heretofore impossible feat. The point is we have to start sometime and somewhere. Sometime could be now. And somewhere is where we are at at this moment. Needless to say I have made a lot of progress since that first day, but it has taken a long time and I am still at it.

Meditation is the tool for getting in touch with what is really happening inside our psyche, beyond the flow of thoughts that initially clutter our inner terrain. One of the things I have discovered is that there are many things going on and they are often contradictory. I can feel happy and sad at the same time. I can access feelings of anger and detachment simultaneously. I notice that I am both afraid and excited. There is an inner anxiety that seems to be a curtain that covers a dynamic peace.

I have drawn two simple conclusions from all of this:
(1) This is the way things are, within me and in the universe. Realities that appear to be opposites or even conflictual exist simultaneously.
(2) At every moment I am at choice. I can choose which reality I wish to give my attention to. It is as simple as making a choice.

Sometimes making specific choices is difficult. In making choices I have the following touchstone facilitates my decision-making process --What will make me happy, more peaceful and feel good?

Make One Decision

I have found out that making one decision and letting it guide my life is a good strategy. Here is my most dramatic example. I remember when I first started getting up for Sadhana (morning meditation and yoga). In the ashram I had to get up at 2:50am (!!) to get to the Sadhana room at 3:45am. Those were cold, dark winter days in Boston. I was living in a cabin that was much colder than my warm bed. In fact, sometimes there was ice on my shower floor! Talking about a cold shower.

I realized that if I were to make the decision "to get up or not to get up" each morning, I would subject myself to unbearable torture on a daily basis. So when I was feeling good, I made the decision ONCE to get up at this "divine" hour. For years, I never had to make that decision again. And that is my secret. That is how I did it. I turned off my mind and my feelings as much as I could when the alarm went off and got out of bed. After the cold shower, it was all downhill for the rest of the day.

Because there will always be pressing reasons and valid excuses to distract us from our spiritual practice, we may need to make an all-encompassing choice that will serve as a foundation for our daily choices.


Making Choices

There is a myth that when we meditate, we can stop our minds and tune into this place of inner bliss. Yogi Bhajan tells us that the mind processes 1000 thoughts at the wink of an eye. So don't even consider stopping your mind. We can however change channels. I find that one of the tricks to meditation is accessing the neutral channel and being able to stay there long enough to experience that there is some place else to hang out besides in the chatter of the rational mind. Knowing that we do in fact have a choice of where we operate from is a critical first step toward inner sanity.

We can know all of the above intellectually. And the concepts are probably familiar to many of us. The real challenge is to experience in your own meditation the existence of the different feelings and realities in your psyche and body. This is the goal of silent meditation at this point in your process. Get in touch with the agitation, the fear, the impatience and the anger. Also get in touch with the peace, the contentment, the ability to be detached and not react and the desire to simply be.

It is the actual experience of the different energies within you that will allow you to make a choice between the two. Sensory experience is a necessary for training yourself to use the energies that initially appear as "bad" for action, energy and motivation. It is the acceptance and honoring of all our energies that is the energetic foundation of self-love.


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