Our stream of consciousness is usually turned outwards and conveys impressions to us via the senses. During meditation, this stream is reversed, and consciousness is turned inwards.
Many of us find it difficult to just sit and do nothing. This might be caused by restlessness and tension in the body. Here the yoga poses, the breathing exercises and the relaxation are very helpful. By the regular use of yoga, you can achieve peace and a natural well-being, so that the body and mind are prepared for meditation.
If you can manage to sit for a while without moving, you can start to learn meditation. It is a great advantage to know a meditation technique or to follow a course. In yoga, it is not considered meditation to reflect or brood. Through using a specific meditation method, you can go deep and then return to your daily life with a clear view. Described below are a few steps of «Inner Stillness», a tantric meditation.
1. Sit in a comfortable position with closed eyes and upright back. Let the body and mind calm down. Then turn your attention to the surroundings, and listen to the sounds around you. All the sounds together. Without analysing, listen to the whole range of sounds around you (see guidance: the sounds around you). Continue for a while.
2. Now move your attention to your natural breathing. Notice how the air flows in and out of the nostrils. Keep your focus on the breathing as steadily as possible. But don’t get tense when you lose your contact with the breathing. You might feel frustrated as the mind start to wander – but that is okay – notice the frustration as well. Besides the breathing, you might become aware of the often-continuous stream of thoughts. The mind is active even when we don’t want it to. When we are not actively planning or deliberately thinking we have the possibility of being observers and let the mind think by itself. This is a new perspective for most people. It might be a relief to realize this. Now, experience the thoughts as a witness, a neutral witness. You need to remember that the consciousness is in fact an observer of the functions of the body, including the activity of the brain. Avoid getting caught up in analyzing; just experience. Experience the contents of the mind without judging: moods, states, pictures, thoughts, memories etc. Allow everything to pass by. Is the mind just empty or dark? Ok, so experience that.
3. Who is experiencing this? Experience yourself. The feeling of «self», where does it come from? Who am I? What am I? You don’t need to answer, just experience.
There are many meditation techniques in the yoga tradition. The different methods will teach you something about the various aspects of yourself. It’s quite alright to work with several techniques alongside each other, but trying to learn everything at once, without taking the time to go deep with anything, makes it difficult to get anywhere. Good luck!.