Patanjali, the highest authority on the science of yoga, provides the best meditation (Dhyana) technique:
तत्र प्रत्ययैकतानता ध्यानम् ॥3.2॥
Tatra pratyaya ikatanata dhyanam (3.2 Patanjali-Yoga sutra)
तत्र- प्रत्यय- एकतानता-ध्यानम्
जिस स्थान पर धारणा की गई हो, उस धारणा का लम्बे समय तक बने रहना ध्यान कहलाता है ।
Meaning: When you use concentration (dharana) to direct all of your awareness toward a single form or thought, you are in meditation.
The meditation technique recommended by Patanjali is to focus on a single object or thought, which means repeating a “mantra” over and over again for a long time.
The meditation technique is an effort to meditate, not meditation itself. The doer is the barrier to meditation. You can only allow meditation to happen. Your effort is only to open the door to let the sunlight in.
Meditation (dhyana) is the seventh step of Patanjali’s Eightfold Path to enlightenment (samadhi) in Yoga Sutras. The six steps leading up to meditation are called yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (yoga posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), and dharana (concentration). Each step serves to ready you for the next. Steps in the sense that one follows the other. The second cannot come before the first. The first has to come first, and the second has to come second.
Salute all sages to receive their grace as you begin to meditate.
Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing fills your lungs and raises your belly.
Face the east or the north.
To protect yourself from the pull of subtle earth currents, sit on a wool blanket with a silk cloth on top, as Paramahansa Yogananda advised.
Traditionally, yogis do not wear stitched clothing. When clothing is stitched, the free movement of energy is restricted during meditation.
During meditation, wearing a Rudraksha bead mala acts as a protective guard.
Sit still in one firm (do not move) posture. Sitting in padmasana (lotus posture) is very beneficial. Your spine should be erect and vertical, with the head, neck, and trunk aligned.
Close your eyes.
Turn your mind within. Relax your physical body. Calm your mind. Let go of everything. Be aware of the pure “I.”
Focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath. Keep listening to the sound of your in-breath and out-breath. You can recite the mantra with every breath. Mantra repetition is the foundation of meditation.
Follow the flow of your natural breath. When you watch incoming and outgoing breaths, you realize that the body and breath are separate from you. Then you know you are a witness separate from body and breath. Meditate on the witnessing being. The witnessing being, the goal of meditation, is separate from your waking state, thoughts, and intellect.
You may think there are only two steps to breathing—inhaling and exhaling—but there are actually four steps. After you inhale, there is a gap. The same is true after you exhale, there is another gap. Four steps: inhale, gap, exhale, and gap. Meditation is experienced during the gap between inhaling and exhaling.
If any thought arises, remember, everything that can be witnessed is separate from you. As a witness, you are separate from your thoughts. Focus on pure I-awareness, not passing thoughts. You are like the sky, and thoughts are like clouds that come and go. The sky remains unaffected, whether or not there are clouds. Therefore, switch your awareness to being the witness or watcher of your thoughts.
At the deepest spiritual level, you experience that you are pure, sinless, and divine. Then, you realize that “I am not the body, not the mind; I am the innermost, eternal being, self, spirit, awareness.”
This pure “I” awareness is the witness of your mind—thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Do not meditate on your thoughts. Instead, meditate on this pure “I” awareness, the witness of your thoughts.
Meditation is witnessing. Witnessing means not judging, not evaluating, and always remaining neutral. This witnessing/watching is the key to meditation. As you go on watching, your thoughts gradually go away.
Witness is I-awareness. For example, you dream. Who witnesses your dream when you wake up? Does that witness ever sleep? Yes, the never-sleeping I-awareness witnesses your dream.
Meditation cannot be denied by any religion. Every religion uses meditation as its base. For example, if you are a Christian, you meditate on your deepest being, not religion. Meditation is an inner journey and an inner science.
Only through meditation can you access your innermost self; it purges your sins and gives you a sense of purity. Through meditation, all your senses become acute and incredibly subtle. Meditation enables you to comprehend things that you normally cannot. No one can live a happy life without meditating. Meditation empowers you to be happy even when sad.
Faith is a magnet. It pulls divine grace toward you. In his book, From the Finite to the Infinite, Baba Muktananda (1908–1982) describes the power of having a firm faith by stating:
“I receive so many letters from people who were reading Play of Consciousness and received shaktipat from the book. They put the book against their hearts and began to meditate.”
May you delight in your own being through meditation!