The Power of Spirit through the Practice of Yoga
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Introduction The Basic Technique Frequently Asked Questions Three Stages of Practice Guided Meditation
Nityananda Institute offers instruction in meditation and classes in hatha yoga at its center in Northeast Portland, Oregon. Here we provide a brief discussion of the meditation technique we practice.
Recent world events have shown us that we are all connected - that we are more similar than we are separate, and that actions in one location can have clear and definite consequences at another location. We are seeing that this is true on all scales, from the cosmos to the planetary environment to the human immune system. The key to harmonious interaction between all these complex elements is balance, and one characteristic of a dynamic system (such as our body, or the ecology, or a human life) is that the point of balance, riding the wave, can be defined as health in the physical system, clarity in the mental sphere, and calmness and stability in the area of the emotions. Nityananda Institute director Swami Chetanananda uses the phrase "total well-being" to describe this balance when it includes the spiritual along with the physical, mental, and emotional realms.
Each aspect contributes to our overall health and affects every other aspect - mental strain can lead to physical health problems, the stresses and tensions of our lives can lead to feeling a loss of inner vitality and centeredness. In meditation practice, we focus on our inner vitality or energy (called kundalini) with a simple breathing exercise. By tuning in to our essence, the source of life, we move our entire system towards that essential balance of body, mind, and innermost spirit - we have the opportunity to experience total well-being.
How is this possible? Meditation - both its methods and its goal rests on the awareness of Oneness. Using various techniques, meditation turns our senses and our awareness even deeper within ourselves, and as our attention becomes more and more focused and one-pointed, we realize that the most intimate, personal part of us is universal in nature - there is no difference between our essence and all essence. This awareness allows us the freedom to find that ever-shifting balance point of wholeness on all levels of our existence.
So, if your interest is in reducing the level of stress in your life, research has verified that regular meditation lowers high blood pressure and improves physical health. Or you may wish to be free from the racing thoughts in your head. Regular meditation leads to mental clarity and calmness. You will also experience a new emotional stability that helps you deal with challenging experiences. At the highest level, meditation allows us to unfold the depth and fullness of our innate creative capacity it allows us to realize our highest potential as human beings.
MEDITATION IS THE VEHICLE
Meditation is the vehicle for contacting our source, our strength, the power of Life Itself. It is not something we do with our minds and emotions; it is an experience that we have and cultivate. In cultivating this experience, our knowledge about ourselves and life (and our capacity to deal with ourselves and life) is profoundly changed and expanded.
Through meditation, we can begin to perceive our essential creative energy in all of its forms: our body, feelings, thoughts, intellect, intuition, and our spirit or soul. Most importantly, it leads us to understand the relationship between our ordinary self and the Self within. It's a simple but extraordinary method for expanding our experience of our creative potential - for allowing us the broadest possible participation in Life Itself.
TENSIONS ARE THE BARRIER
Ordinarily, we are so caught up in our everyday tensions and concerns that we neglect to step back and consider what our ultimate potential and true nature might be. We tend to think of ourselves as limited, finite, physical entities whose spiritual yearnings are simply a dream. But the experience of meditation allows us to recognize that our true nature is an infinite, conscious, and joyful potency - the potency of Life Itself.
Imagine a natural fountain that has been covered, over time, with a pile of rocks. The water continues to flow from the fountain's source, but on the surface, only a trickle shows here and there between the rocks. The fountain represents our creative potential and the rocks are our tensions. When we are tense and closed, the energy of our creative potential lies buried within us, as inaccessible as the water in that obstructed fountain. As the years go by, our own instincts for avoiding pain combine with the inevitable difficulties of living to form patterns of rigidity - we put up walls and barriers, thinking they will protect us. But when we meditate, we turn our attention to the flow within. This is our inner work. By turning our attention away from the obstructions and difficulties of life and focusing instead on our essence - for even a short time, once or twice a day - the rocks begin to shift, even dissolve.
THE OBJECTIVE IS LIBERATION
The objective of our meditation practice is to make available to us the widest possible experience - to begin to pull down the barriers Between us and our own true nature. Through meditation, we awaken and cultivate the blossoming of the infinite and universal Self. Realization is not attaining something that is missing or outside us. It is a simple, intuitive insight into the nature of our own heart. It is a release, a liberation - a celebration of Life.
THE TECHNIQUE IS SIMPLE
The method of meditation we practice at Nityananda Institute involves first releasing or letting go of the tensions that prevent us from experiencing and expressing our creative potential. We learn that tension is simply creative energy that has become blocked and crystallized. As our tensions are released, the creative potential within us begins to express itself in our lives. It is a wonderful thing. We learn to react in a way that promotes our highest interest while at the same time promoting the highest interest of everyone around us.
Meditation: The Basic Technique
Meditation: Frequently Asked Questions
Meditation: Three Stages of Practice
More about spiritual practice at Nityananda Institute:
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