This is being posted secondary to a request, and is one of the
articles on our web site in the Concepts of Meditation section.
I tried to post this earlier tonight, so if it shows up again, let's
just laugh at the universe's little cyber chain yanking. In any event,
In any event, here are some...
Meditation is also known as Astanga yoga, the 8-limbed path of yoga.
The eight limbs of Astanga yoga are: yama (self-restraint), niyama
(religious observances or canons), asana (posture), pranayama
(restraint of breath), pratyahara (control of the senses), dharana
(concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (super-conscious
state). The traditional teaching is that if we are not secure in any
of the first 5, we will be distracted, and not able to concentrate
(#6), and thus, not be able to meditate(#7) or attain/experience the
super-conscious state (#8). When we are on the path, we may ask or
answer questions that deal with any or all of these topics. The
opportunity to share something beneficial about one aspect opens the
door to uncovering a truth applicable to all of them. If a seeker asks
a question that relates to lets say, controlling the appetite, a
teacher may discuss how desires inevitably cause suffering, which is
applicable on all of the levels/limbs, and thus be giving 8 "answers"
simultaneously. This can be done with a scriptural quote, a parable, a
smile, a miracle, or even a joke - in many and any ways. So, we may
come to meditation class and find a "beginner" student asking about
something like how to learn to be patient, while another so-called
advanced student is asking how to astral travel, and the teacher
answers in a way that helps rip the veil of ignorance from both. But
on the surface, it may seem that the teacher is having a discussion
about a football teams' need for a middle linebacker. The ultimate
meditation teacher is within you now and always. The life you are
leading is your lesson, and the world you are in is your classroom. Be
a good student. Pay attention. Don't talk in class. Witness your life
and the answer you seek will present itself, sometimes in the form of
a physical teacher and classroom, sometimes with an intellectual
concept, and most commonly with the very common. There are 4 qualities
a student should bring to class. The first is being able to
discriminate between the eternal and the temporary, the infinite and
the finite. Secondly, dispassion relative to likes and dislikes.
Third, Self control in the form of mental, emotional, and physical
control from unrighteous actions and the ability to be one-pointed,
focused and undistractable. The last quality is to have a burning
desire to be liberated. Just as a child brings their pencils and
notebooks to school, be ever prepared for the class that is your life
by having these four attributes. To learn more about this, read, go to
meditation class, pray, and so on. And perhaps the best thing you can
do is to not just talk about it, but actually to meditate.
Now, as far as this lesson is concerned, the great Saint, Swami
Sivananda, used to say much more and much better by simply saying "Be
good, do good", and the not so well know Kir Li Molari would probably
say "Words! Words! Words!". But, I hope this has given you something
beneficial to meditate on.