A Precaution for Meditation

By Rudra Shivananda

man meditating under rock

There is a misconception that every system or technique loosely called meditation is equivalent and the same rules apply to them. Most of the time, it is assumed that meditation is always good and can be practiced at any time by anyone with positive results. Such an assumption is incorrect and can lead to unwanted mental effects.

The problem is that meditation is a catch-all word used to describe a variety of spiritual practices and does not really have a strict meaning in English. It can span the simplest concentration exercises to the preliminary mental cleansing methods through to the most advanced techniques that can only be performed in Samadhi states. The common factor is that meditation techniques affect the mind.

The seeker should not meditate when he is in mental or emotional distress. Remember that most meditations require a calm and concentrated mind to begin. When one is not calm for whatever reason, the first thing is to attain a peaceful state before continuing. This can be achieved with mental and emotional healing techniques which can sometimes be also called meditations – these should be the foundation of all meditation systems and must be practiced well before graduating to the higher parts.

I’ve met many seekers who assume that the techniques they have been taught will automatically lead to a calm mind which is usually not the case but they push ahead anyway with the result either that they are too distracted to practice or negative energy infects their meditation.

When the mind is distracted, one waste one’s effort – the first priority is to achieve calmness and then concentration. Most meditators have had the experience of distraction and dissatisfaction with their practice. However, less understood is the risk of undermining one’s own mind with powerful techniques that embrace the poison of negativity without transforming it.

These two cases can be understood from the analogy of physical posture practice. When one is tired but persists in asana practice, one will not have a good experience – either one gives up due to fatigue or one may even get hurt due to carelessness. It is important to rest and relax with gentle movements until one is ready for the postures.

It is good to remind oneself why we are meditating, just as it is important to keep in mind that posture practice is for flexibility and health and not for performance or competition. The prime purpose of meditation is to control the mind. Until some degree of control is achieved, all attempts to engage in higher practices of Mantra, Kundalini or Kriya systems are going to be difficult if not impossible. If one’s mind is still in turmoil then one should be careful about the delusions that can arise with advanced techniques. Always assume an attitude of love and compassion. Give up all fear and anger. Calm the mind. Focus the mind. Then one is ready to meditate.

 

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Meditation on the Senses of Smell and Taste

NOTHING IS HAPPENING IN MEDITATION?

Training the Mind through ‘Noting’ Meditation

 

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