The question is coming from the mind and meditation is beyond mind. Meditation is something which is so vast and the mind which wants to understand it can only understand till the limitations of the mind. Meditation is something of no mind. Meditation is something beyond mind and something which is beyond mind, something which is a state of no mind, the mind can’t understand. Then you would ask, “If we don’t understand then why meditate? What is the benefit of it?” Before going into that I could say by using the meditation method we prepare the body, we create an atmosphere where meditation can happen. We use asana, pranayam, the right location to sit, all those are just supporting an atmosphere where meditation can happen. We do not do meditation, meditation is something experiential and not explanative.
What are the benefits of meditation? This is the question. You are meditating so you should tell me why you are meditating and what benefits it is giving to you. Meditation can be used for stress management, meditation can be used for curing certain diseases, meditation can be used for living happily and joyful. But these are ultimately not reasons why to meditate. Meditation is to know who we are, from where we came, where we will go. In the material world, I say that meditation can also be used to gain power, like if we do tratak, you bring concentration in yourself and
concentration gives power, which we can use in any which way. It can be used to get a good job by remaining focused, it can be used in achieving ambitions, it can be used in making money. So there are a whole number of benefits of meditation and it depends what one is looking for and accordingly one can use it. But the meditation ultimately is for liberation, meditation is for knowing from where we came and where we will go. How to meditate? In order to meditate one needs a method he or she can use which appeals the most to that individual. One requirement is the method. Second, one needs a place where one can meditate. Third, an asana. Something which one can use to sit in a proper posture. Fourth, a posture. Which posture suits that individual. So in order to meditate, after having the logistics and basics in place and where nobody is disturbing the person, one needs to use a technique. Which technique is suitable for meditation. Regarding the technique one needs to go through the number of methods. For example, one can use Vigyan Bhairav Tantra which has 112 methods of meditation. Now, in 112 methods we can quickly go through the list of 112 and out of that you will find for example, 10 which appeal to you. So you short list those 10, write them down separately and have that list. Then out of these 10 you can again further go and check what is more suitable and then you could bring the list down to 7 for example. Then in those 7 whatever technique appeals to you the most first you take this technique and practice it for 41 days and then you will be able to figure out if this works or it doesn’t work for you. Before going for 41 days you could also take each of the 10 methods and practice them for a few days. So, you would know that out of these 10 or 7, whatever you identified, these are the ones which work most. Once you identified those, out of these 7, see which 3 really work well for you. Then you do deeper experimentation on those and then you pick 1 technique. Whichever technique you choose. In the entire history of human consciousness the most people became enlightened using the breath methods, because breath is most subtle to us. One method you could use is Ana Pana Sati Yoga, in which you watch the breath going in and out. Just the portion of the nostril opening. Only this area you remain with, putting all the attention over here. Breath going in and out, in and out. Just this, nothing else. That’s one way to meditate.If the technique is selected, one needs to sit. For sitting I will explain to you various postures, so you choose any one posture. Sit in that posture and then the question comes, “What to do when I sit?”
How to sit in Meditation?
Before starting the meditation process, it’s extremely important to have the right posture which is suitable to you. For the posture, first, it should be stable and second, comfortable. Stable in the sense that it could lead to the first milestone to make the Aasan Siddh which is sitting completely still for three hours and thirty six minutes. For that duration, we do not move at all any nerve including taking in saliva, or the back being bent, then straight again and moving like this. You should be still and totally frozen. To reach that goal, a posture which suits our body is extremely important. Number one, the lotus posture is the finest. The lotus is an indication of being soft, the lotus flower. And once the legs and hips get frozen it becomes lotus which means very soft. And then you forget about the legs and hip area. So in meditation at times you have seen the glances of no mind state, a state where you forgot time and space. A time when you did not realize the time or all of the sudden it’s already two hours later. In lotus posture it’s in a circle. The energy which gets created goes back, circular like a woman’s body, rounded. So from the perspective of preservation of energy and circulating it back, this is the finest. And with this the lotus, the mudra is this (hands together one on top of the other resting palm up near the hara), but one can use Dhyan Mudra too (tips of index finger and thumb touching with palms up resting on knees) and in this one if you keep this, after some time as the awareness goes the hands will roll inwards and fall and then you will need to move and put them back which means the nerves moved and Aasan is not Sidh. So to accomplish an Aasan and its purpose three hours and thirty six minutes are required. If you put the same mudra like this (tips of index finger and thumb touching with palms resting downwards on the knees) then the movement stops. So that’s the reason I prefer this and I recommend you try this and explore for yourself. In mudras, you should explore which one suits you the most and you can try different ones. If the lotus posture is painful and it just doesn’t work then you can work on opening the nerves and muscles. So do a massage on the rounded part of the hips. In the middle of the hips there are nerves you can press, you can also use the elbows over there and press as well as the upper leg muscles and lower leg muscles. If you massage and you practice then little by little the time sitting still will increase. And it is worth it if in six months you can open it up. Whenever you do any aerobic exercises, after a really good long dance or after running, if you do not stretch then the muscles get tighter, so it’s important to stretch. When we were born our body’s natural state was such that we would be able to do this posture, but then later on the body got disturbed and these problems arose. So by doing the posture this sets it back up again. Different postures set different body parts back to normal. So this is number one.
In the lotus posture, the first thing you do is take the left leg first and then the right leg on top. Now whichever leg is not stiff, that you take up first, and then on top of that you take the other leg which is stiff, that makes it easy. If the lotus is not working, then you forget about it. You can also explore taking one leg down, try half lotus. So one leg remains up and one down and see how flexible it is.
For unbalanced hips, try taking one leg down. If it makes you very comfortable, then you choose this alternative option. So experiment with this. After the lotus posture the second best is sidhasan. In sidhasan you put the heel of the foot at the Mooladhara where we have the root chakra. So each one can explore where the Mooladhara is, you can touch the hand there and feel the nerves. There are a number of nerves there and on those nerves you put the heel and then you can move it a little to the left and right and you’ll find that there are nerves. Notice them. One leg goes below the genitals and the other leg goes above the genitals. So you breathe in and put the other leg above the genitals with the foot in between the inner fold of the other leg’s knee. So one down, one up. The second one is touching the second chakra. And then what you do with your left leg (or whichever leg you have put down) take the thumb toe up from the fold of the other leg. Then slightly adjust so it still remains at the Moolhadar. So the left leg’s heel is still touching the moolhadar. Now, by putting the leg on the moolhadar when it is constantly pushing it up it will generate heat and give a push to the kundalini. So this benefit you achieve in sidhasan.
In this posture you can sit longer. For most this could be uncomfortable. Then they can take the top leg out. Initially for some time it would be okay but after that it will start burning and the left leg which is touching the moolhadar, that heel would also start burning. So first we explore taking the right leg down and putting it right in front. Many people who have an injury cannot put the right leg up, they can just put the left leg on the moolhadar and just leave it there. And with the other leg out you take this posture with the right leg right in front. Over a period of time you can also switch the leg, one goes in the back and one goes in the front. This, you only do if you cannot keep the leg on the moolhadhar and you really need to change. Or you increase your capacity little by little. This would be relatively easier for many. If you find that the left leg is also burning there and you are not able to meditate then you can remove that. And when you remove that you can sit in Sukhasan. For that or for any posture, if you have the sufficient height (the pillow on which you sit), that will work well. For example, the majority of people will have stiff hamstrings so more height is better for them to sit on. If it is a big pillow you can remain longer in it, too much height will not work for sidhasan, however it will work for sukhasan.
So for that you first put one leg bent in front and then the second leg bent in front of that one. Simple. On the folded blanket, you are sitting on the front portion of it so the weight is slightly forward and then you remain stable for a longer time. This is the most comfortable one. So remember, the weight is not behind, it’s on the front side. And with this you can then hold mudras. So try this, it should work for most. Important thing in posture is what type of cushion we have. Make sure you are stable and you can adjust the height of your cushion. A blanket is soft but also does not give very much stability. The body will move, but initially it is soft, so on a heavy blanket, on top you can put a softer blanket as a layer so the soft blanket is comfortable and the heavy blanket is stable. Start the practice with comfort and then go for stability. Once the hips are more practiced and they are stronger, then you do this. Try it with your blanket. For sitting in Sukhasan stiffer cushions are not so good for longer duration but they are good for Vajrasan. They give good support there. When you sit in this posture, make sure that the ground is level. For any sitting, for any posture you take, make sure the ground is very level. If you are doing construction there is a tool that measures if the ground is level. If the body is slightly unlevel, then the gravitation is pulling it. If it is absolutely straight then the gravitation is minimal. And then we can go longer and longer. If we just bend ourselves, then gravity pulls more. Yes, in lotus posture if the nerves are tight by bending you try to give a relief, but gravitation is pulling. So it should remain stable and you can see with the shoulders which side has more weight. It should be equal and should remain stable. The first goal is three hours and thirty six minutes. So this is sukhasan. Sukhasan can also happen in another way. You take one leg in front and the other foot fits in the inner fold of the other knee and the calf rests within the inner palm of the other foot. The heel is two inches from the private parts so it is not disturbing that. But this one will not be for long hours, it is only for some time if you want to change the posture you can use this. Either leg on top of each other. The next posture is Vajrasan and for vajrasan, best is you sit without a blanket or cushion. Sitting with both knees bent together in front on the ground and feet together in the back. This posture is best for digestion, after a meal one should sit for five to ten minutes in this posture and have attention on the third eye with eyes closed. That’s good for digestion. For meditation in this, this gives a straight back. Some breathing exercises can also be done in this. But one cannot sit for as long as in Sidhasan. So that’s the limitation in this posture. But you can have varieties, if you get tired in another posture you can switch to this and vice versa. If there is a pain in the feet and you cannot sit straight then you can use cushions and height depending on how much support you need. You can try with a cushion and put it in between the legs to sit. That will give stability and comfort for a longer duration. If this height is not comfortable you can put more. Any way that allows you to sit still and comfortable. Some participants are also sitting on a pillow. But the pillow won’t be as stable. So after experimentation, you would know what works best for you and then you choose from it. To summarize, the first posture is the Lotus, the second is Sidhasan, third is Half Lotus, fourth is Sukhasan, and the last is Vajrasan. So these are the Aasans to sit in meditation. Many asked why not simply lay down in Savasan and meditate there. One could do so, but what happens when we lay down flat, there is more chance of falling into sleep and less is our witnessing. In sitting it’s better. One could also do the meditation in standing posture. One can simply stand and do the witnessing, do the observing. Most of Bagwhan Mahaveer’s meditations are in standing postures. So one can also just stand and witness. Osho designed lots of standing meditations. His first instruction is if you can remain standing, stand, or lay down. For example Kundalini Meditation, in the third stage one can stand or sit. Standing is tiring but there is more observation. Sitting is also more work than lying down in Savasan. That’s what I would say right now on Aasans. In Lotus posture, one thing I could add in the end: if the knee is raised up, you can also put something like a folded cloth underneath for support to make it more relaxed. In Sidhasan if the ankles are touching together and it becomes painful then you can insert a cloth in between. Try this and then later on when you get used to it then you know. So these will increase the comfort and are good supports to take.