Deep meditation or dhyana is the seventh limb of yoga, all other limbs before that, are to sustain the process of meditation to reach the state of yoga. So asana for example is to help the body stay in the right position and to have discipline to meditate. With meditation we turn inwards, away from the focus on maya or the outside world. We seek purusha or consciousness inside ourselves. Meditation is best to be done in Sattvic time which is early in the morning before and during sunrise (and of course with sunset later on). With meditation one gets in between thoughts in complete stillness connected to our soul, purusha or consciousness. For that we have to still the mind. All six limbs of yoga before that, are meant to still the mind to be able to get into this perfect state of samadhi or bliss.
We are all connected with love energy
Consciousness, or soul, or higher energy is bliss. We are all part of a huge cloud of energy which is the body of God. Like we have cells in our bodies, God has cells too: it’s us. We are all connected with consciousness or this huge body of energy which has the same particles as love and bliss. Being in this state of samadhi, we become pure love and bliss so we can merge into the higher which has the same particles. First we have to learn to connect with this energie. For that we have to overcome impurities which come from the mind. We have to still the mind, to get there.
Meditation is the only way to get there
The vehicle to travel to moksha or liberation is meditation, there is no other way than to meditate. Therefor we need to learn to control the mind, the goal of every yoga practice. It’s like switching on the television: we turn on our consciousness by meditating. When one is meditating for a longer period of time it gets easier to connect and consciousness is more present in daily life as well: it’s like opening a huge door to God who has an entrance to enlighten your life and it’s surroundings. When one is meditating, others also benefit from it, without even knowing.
Controlling the mind
Meditation starts with concentration, one needs to be concentrated to have control over the mind. Therefor are different tips and tricks like putting the tongue against the upper teeth (to still the flow of mind in the brain and to stop it to get down), chanting the mantra so ham, focus on breathing, yogic breathing, light meditation, etc. One can concentrate on an object, on breathing, on a mantra but all is to learn to concentrate on the inner connection. We concentrate on an outside source or mantra, to be able to still the mind. Only with a still mind we can travel through the clouds of our thoughts, or be in between thoughts where there is the connection with consciousness. The way we breathe is key to this process. Chanting mantras makes the breath go steady. The breath reflects the mind: it’s connected. With steady long breaths we are at peace, with fast short breaths we a are stressed, or hyperactive (even with doing sports we can have long steady breaths). By controlling breath we control the mind.
The mantra so ham
Por example the term Ajapa Japa meditation refers to the fact that we first concentrate on chanting the mantra so ham outside ourselves with loud voice, than inside ourselves in our thoughts which is stilling the mind and then it becomes unconsciously integrated during the meditation: you become God. That is Ajapa. So ham means I am or I am God. So ham is considered the mantra that unites your breathe with the breathe of God, you vibrate unconsciously on the same page. So while inhaling, ham while exhaling. For this you start with concentration, then it becomes contemplation and after that is is called meditation.
Free the chakras from blocks
We sit straight up with meditation (with the help of asanas) so that all seven chakras (energy centers) are free and the kundalini in our root shakra can reach the top of our heads in the crown chakra and connects with the higher energy in higher dimensions.
Developing meditation can only be done with practice. When practicing we get more concentration and it gets easier to still the mind, although things are happing in life, like in my example with the first question: it gets easier to overcome obstacles when we practice more, because chakras are de-blocked and energy can flow freely.
Tips & tricks
We get more concentration by sitting still, relax the body, sit straight up but relaxed, praying before meditation or chant OM or AUM (which starts with a vibration in the root chakra with A, travels through the heart charka with U and leaves the body in the crownchakra with M). Most practitioners start first with guided meditation or maybe with a mantra or OM meditation and after that, when concentration gets better with contemplation, the meditation gets deeper. After that, we don’t need to concentrate on an object, mantra or outside resource anymore to concentrate, with training we can turn our focus inwards immediately.
There are four mayor obstacles in meditation: Desire, hatred, happiness and sadness. These emotions can be all controlled by contentment. The more we practice yoga and meditation the more even minded we get, the less these 4 mayor emotions can get in the way of a still mind.
Benefits of meditation according to Patanjali are: understanding the inner energy, cleaning the inner energy, increasing the energy, realising soul awareness and eventually it is the vehicle to enlightenment. Modern science has done thousands of interesting studies to research the benefits of meditation which I have studied for the research for the university as well. It’s impressive what meditation does with the brain, our nerve system, our emotion control, concentration and overall well being. It improves cognition and attention, helps dealing with stress, it enhances empathy and compassion and it promotes emotional health. The mind is the bridge between the body and the soul, with meditation we connect to our soul.