1. Breathing into the heart centre
Please breathe in and hold your breath for a couple of seconds, and feel that you are holding the breath, which is life-energy, in your heart centre. This will help you to develop your inner meditation capacity.
2. Becoming aware of the breath
When you sit down to meditate, try to breathe in as slowly and quietly as possible, so that if somebody placed a tiny thread in front of your nose it would not move at all. And when you breathe out, try to breathe out even more slowly than you breathed in. If possible, leave a short pause between the end of your exhalation and the beginning of your inhalation. If you can, hold your breath for a few seconds. But if that is difficult, do not do it. Never do anything that will make you physically uncomfortable during meditation.
3 Breathing in peace and joy
The first thing that you have to think of when practising breathing techniques is purity. When you breathe in, if you can feel that the breath is coming directly from God, from Purity itself, then your breath can easily be purified. Then, each time you breathe in, try to feel that you are bringing infinite peace into your body. The opposite of peace is restlessness. When you breathe out, try to feel that you are expelling the restlessness within you and also the restlessness that you see all around you. When you breathe this way, you will find restlessness leaving you. After practising this a few times, please try to feel that you are breathing in power from the universe, and when you exhale, feel that all your fear is coming out of your body. After doing this a few times, try to feel that you are breathing in infinite joy and breathing out sorrow, suffering and melancholy.
4. Cosmic energy
Feel that you are breathing in not air but cosmic energy. Feel that tremendous cosmic energy is entering into you with each breath, and that you are going to use it to purify your body, vital, mind and heart. Feel that there is not a single place in your being that is not being occupied by the flow of cosmic energy. It is flowing like a river inside you, washing and purifying your entire being. Then, when you breathe out, feel that you are breathing out all the rubbish inside you—all your undivine thoughts, obscure ideas and impure actions. Anything inside your system that you call undivine, anything that you do not want to claim as your own, feel that you are exhaling.
This is not the traditional yogic pranayama, which is more complicated and systematised, but it is a most effective spiritual method of breathing. If you practise this method of breathing, you will soon see the results. In the beginning you will have to use your imagination, but after a while you will see and feel that it is not imagination at all but reality. You are consciously breathing in the energy which is flowing all around you, purifying yourself and emptying yourself of everything undivine. If you can breathe this way for five minutes every day, you will be able to make very fast progress. But it has to be done in a very conscious way, not mechanically.
5. Total breathing
When you reach a more advanced stage, you can try to feel that your breath is coming in and going out through every part of your body—through your heart, through your eyes, through your nose and even through your pores. Right now you can breathe only through your nose or your mouth, but a time will come when you will be able to breathe through every part of your body. Spiritual Masters can breathe even with their nose and mouth closed. When you have perfected this spiritual breathing, all your impurity and ignorance will be replaced by God’s light, peace and power.
6. One-four-two breathing
As you breathe in, repeat once the name of God, the Christ or whomever you adore. Or, if your Master has given you a mantra, you can repeat that. This breath does not have to be long or deep. Then hold your breath and repeat the same name four times. And when you breathe out, repeat two times the name or mantra that you have chosen. You inhale for one count, hold your breath for four counts and exhale for two counts, inwardly repeating the sacred word. If you simply count the numbers—one-four-two—you do not get any vibration or inner feeling. But when you say the name of God, immediately God’s divine qualities enter into you. Then, when you hold your breath, these divine qualities rotate inside you, entering into all your impurities, obscurities, imperfections and limitations. And when you breathe out, these same divine qualities carry away all your undivine, unprogressive and destructive qualities.
In the beginning you can start with a one-four-two count. When you become experienced in this breathing exercise, you will be able to do it to a count of four-sixteen-eight: breathing in for four counts, holding the breath for sixteen, and breathing out for eight. But this has to be done very gradually. Some people do an eight-thirty-two-sixteen count, but this is for the experts.
7. Alternate breathing
Another technique you can try is alternate breathing. This is done by pressing the right nostril closed with the thumb and taking in a long breath through the left nostril. As you breathe in, repeat God’s name once. Then hold your breath for four counts repeating God’s name four times. And finally release your right nostril, press your left nostril closed with your fourth finger and release your breath to the count of two—that is, two repetitions of God’s name. Then do it the opposite way. starting with the left nostril pressed closed. In this system, when you breathe in, it does not have to be done quietly. Even if you make noise, no harm. But of course, these exercises should not be done in public or where other people are trying to meditate in silence.
You should not practise one-four-two breathing for more than four or five minutes, and you should not do alternate breathing more than a few times. If you do it twenty or forty or fifty times, heat will rise from the base of your spine and enter into your head, creating tension and a headache. It is like eating too much.” Eating is good, but if you eat voraciously, it will upset your stomach. This inner heat acts the same way. If you draw it up beyond your capacity, then instead of giving you a peaceful mind, it will give you an arrogant, turbulent and destructive mind. Later, when you have developed your inner capacity, you can do this alternates breathing for ten or fifteen minutes.
Purifying the Mind
The mind is almost always impure, and it almost always brings in unaspiring thoughts. Even when it is not doing this, the mind is still a victim to doubt, jealousy, hypocrisy, fear and other undivine qualities. All negative things first attack the mind. The mind may reject them for a minute, but again they knock at the mind’s door. This is the nature of the mind. The heart is much, much purer. Affection, love, devotion, surrender and other divine qualities are already there in the heart. That is why the heart is much purer than the mind. Even if you have fear or jealousy in the heart, the good qualities of the heart will still come forward.
But again, the heart may not be totally pure because the vital being is near the heart. The lower vital, which is situated near the navel, tends to come up and touch the heart centre. It makes the heart impure by its influence and proximity. But at least the heart is not like the mind, which deliberately opens its door to impure ideas. The heart is far better than the mind. And best is the soul. The soul is all purity, light, bliss and divinity.
1. Becoming the soul
In order to purify your mind, the best thing to do is to feel every day for a few minutes during your meditation that you have no mind. Say to yourself, “I have no mind, I have no mind. What I have is the heart.” Then after some time feel, “I don’t have a heart. What I have is the soul.” When you say, “I have the soul,” at that time you will be flooded with purity. But again you have to go deeper and farther by saying not only, “I have the soul,” but also “I am the soul.” At that time, imagine the most beautiful child you have ever seen, and feel that your soul is infinitely more beautiful than that child.
The moment you can say and feel, “I am the soul,” and meditate on this truth, your soul’s infinite purity will enter into your heart. Then, from the heart, the infinite purity will enter into your mind. When you can truly feel that you are only the soul, the soul will purify your mind.
2. The inner flame
Before you meditate, try to imagine a flame inside your heart. Right now the flame may be tiny and flickering; it may not be a powerful flame. But one day it will definitely become most powerful and most illumining. Try to imagine that this flame is illumining your mind. In the beginning you may not be able to concentrate according to your satisfaction because the mind is not focused. The mind is constantly thinking of many things. It has become a victim of many uncomely thoughts. The mind does not have proper illumination, so imagine a beautiful flame inside your heart, illumining you. Bring that illumining flame inside your mind. Then you will gradually see a streak of light inside your mind. When your mind starts getting illumined, it will be very, very easy to concentrate for a long time, and also to concentrate more deeply.
3. Purifying the breath
Before you start your a meditation, repeat “Supreme” about twenty times s as fast as possible in order to purify your breath. Feel s that you are really growing into the very Breath of God. Unless and until the breath is purified, the mind will not s remain one-pointed.
4. God wants me, I need God
Focus your attention on a picture. You can look at your Master’s picture or you can look at yourself in the mirror. If you concentrate on your own reflection, feel that you are totally one with the physical being that you are seeing. Then try to enter into the image that you are seeing. From there you should try to grow with one thought: God wants you and you need God. Repeat: “God wants me, I need God. God wants me, I need God.” Then you will see that slowly, steadily and unerringly this divine thought is entering into you and permeating your inner and outer existence, giving you purity in your mind, vital and body.
5. Asserting control over the mind
You can tell your mind, “I shall not allow you to go in your own way. Now I want to think of God.” Repeat the name of God inwardly or aloud. Then say, “I want to have purity in my whole existence.” Then repeat “purity, purity, purity.” At that time you are not allowing your mind to think of impurity or of any other thing. Don’t give your mind a chance to wander; simply utilise your mind for your own purpose. You have millions of things to accomplish in and through the mind. But the mind is so naughty and mischievous that if you don’t utilise it, it will utilise you.
6. Throw them out
Each time an undivine thought enters into your mind, throw it out of your mind. It is like a foreign element, a thief, that has entered your room. Why should you consciously allow a thief to remain in your room when you have the capacity to throw him out? When an undivine thought enters into your mind, just capture the thought and throw it into the blazing fire of your inner aspiration.
7. Strangling bad thoughts
When a thought comes that is not pure, good or divine, immediately repeat the word “Supreme” very fast. The Supreme is my Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru. Repeat “Supreme” very fast, and each time you use the word “Supreme,” feel that you are creating a snake that will coil around the undivine thought and strangle it.
Exercises in Meditation
1. The heart-rose
Kindly imagine a flower inside your heart. Suppose you prefer a rose. Imagine that the rose is not fully blossomed; it is still a bud. After you have meditated for two or three minutes, please try to imagine that petal by petal the flower is blossoming. See and feel the flower blossoming petal by petal inside your heart. Then, after Five minutes, try to feel that there is no heart at all; there is only a flower inside you called ‘heart’. You do not have a heart, but only a flower. The flower has become your heart or your heart has become a flower.
After seven or eight minutes, please feel that this flower-heart has covered your whole body. Your body is no longer here; from your head to your feet you can feel the fragrance of the rose. If you look at your feet, immediately you experience the fragrance of a rose. If you look at your knee, you experience the fragrance of a rose. If you look at your hand, you experience the fragrance of a rose. Everywhere the beauty, fragrance and purity of the rose have permeated your entire body. When you feel from your head to your feet that you have become only the beauty, fragrance, purity and delight of the rose, then you are ready to place yourself at the Feet of your Beloved Supreme.
2. A river of consciousness
When you meditate, try to bring three things into your mind: purity in your entire being, humility in your entire being and gratitude in every limb, in every cell. When you breathe in and breathe out, feel that a river of divine conscious ness is flowing through you without any coercion or exertion. Feel that this river of divine consciousness is flowing in and out with constant oneness with the Source, the Supreme.
3. Offer it to God
When you breathe in, feel that you are breathing in God’s immortal qualities and when you breathe out, feel that you are offering God your ignorance.
Right now we feel that ignorance is our possession. Although we say that ignorance is very bad, we don’t want to give it away. But we have to know that ignorance is not our real possession; our real possessions are peace, light and bliss. During your meditation, offer to God your false possessions and receive from God your real possessions. Ask God to take what you have and what you are and to give you what He has and what He is. What you have is aspiration, the inner cry to become divine. What you are is ignorance. Ask God to take both your aspiration and your ignorance and to give you what He has and what He is: Infinity, Eternity and Immortality.
4. The golden being
Try to feel that you are inside the Heart of God, the Inner Pilot. Although you have not seen the Supreme, just mentally imagine a human being who is absolutely golden. Imagine that He is right in front of you and you are inside His Heart or in His Lap or at His Feet. Do not think that you are I eighteen or forty or sixty years old. Think that you are only one month old and that you are inside the very Heart of the Supreme or in His Lap.
5. The vastness of the sky
Keep your eyes half open and imagine the vast sky. In the beginning try to feel that the sky is in front of you; later try to feel that you are as vast as the sky, or that you are the vast sky itself.
After a few minutes please close your eyes and try to see and feel the sky inside your heart. Please feel that you are the universal heart, and that inside you is the sky that you meditated upon and identified yourself with. Your spiritual heart is infinitely vaster than the sky, so you can easily house the sky within yourself.
Exercises in Concentration
1. The dot
If you want to develop the power of concentration, then here is an exercise you can try. First wash your face and eyes properly with cold water. Then make a black dot on the wall at eye level. Stand facing the dot, about ten inches away, and concentrate on it. After a few minutes, try to feel that when you are breathing in, your breath is actually coming from the dot, and that the dot is also breathing in, getting its breath from you. Try to feel that there are two persons: you and the black dot. Your breath is coming from the dot and its breath is coming from you.
In ten minutes, if your concentration is very powerful, you will feel that your soul has left you and entered into the black dot on the wall. At this time try to feel that you and your soul are conversing. Your soul is taking you into the soul’s world for realisation, and you are bringing the soul into the physical world for manifestation. In this way you can develop your power of concentration very easily. But this method has to be practised. There are many things which are very easy with practice, but just because we do not practise them we do not get the result.
2. Vision and reality
Another exercise you can try is this. First make a very small circle on the wall at eye-level, and inside it make a black dot. It should be black; not blue or red or any other colour. Then stand facing the wall, about three and a half feet away, and focus your attention on the circle. Your eyes should be relaxed and half-open. Let the force of your concentration come from the middle of your forehead. After three or four minutes open your eyes fully and try to feel that, from head to foot, you are all eyes. Your whole physical existence has become nothing but vision, and that vision is focussed on the dot inside the circle. Then start making the object of your concentration smaller. After a few seconds try to feel that your whole body has become as tiny as the dot on the wall. Try to feel that the dot is another part of your own existence. Then enter into the dot, pierce through it and go to the other side. From the other side of the dot, look back and see your own body. Your physical body is on one side, but on the strength of your concentration you have sent your subtle body to the other side of the dot. Through your subtle body you are seeing your physical body, and through your physical body you are seeing your subtle body.
I concentrate for success in my life’s journey. I meditate for progress in my life’s journey. I contemplate for God-process in my life’s journey.
When you began to concentrate, your physical body became all vision. At that time the dot was your reality. When you entered into the dot, then vision and reality became one. You were the vision and you were also the reality. When you looked back at yourself from the dot, the process was reversed. At that time you became the vision outside yourself, and the place to which you returned—your body—was the reality. Then, the vision and the reality became one again. When you can see the vision and the reality in this way, your concentration is absolutely perfect. When your power of concentration can bring you to the other side of the point which you were calling reality, at that time your whole existence will be far beyond both vision and reality. And when you can feel that you have transcended your vision and your reality, you will have boundless power.
3. My heart-friend
Just as you can concentrate on the tip of your finger, or on a candle or any other material object, you can also concentrate on your heart. You may close your eyes or look at a wall, but all the time you are thinking of your heart as a dear friend. When this thinking becomes most intense, when it absorbs your entire attention, then you have gone beyond ordinary thinking and entered into concentration. You cannot look physically at your spiritual heart, but you can focus all your attention on it. Then gradually the power of your concentration enters into the heart and takes you completely out of the realm of the mind.
If you do not have purity in abundant measure, if countless earthly desires are in possession of the heart, then before concentrating on the heart you should invoke purity. Purity is the feeling of having a living shrine deep in the inmost recesses of your heart. When you feel the divine presence of an inner shrine, automatically you are purified. At that time your concentration on the heart will be most effective.
4. The heartbeat of life
Some seekers like to concentrate on their heartbeat. If you want to do this, do not be afraid that the heart will stop and you will die. If you want to be a real hero in your spiritual life, you can practise concentrating on your heartbeat. This is the golden opportunity for you to enter into the endless life. Each time you hear the sound of your heartbeat, immediately feel there your infinite, immortal life.
5. The inner flower
For this exercise you will need a flower. With your eyes half closed and half open, look at the entire flower for a few seconds. While you are concentrating, try to feel that you yourself are this flower. At the same time, try to feel that this flower is growing in the inmost recesses of your heart. Feel that you are the flower and you are growing inside your heart.
Then, gradually try to concentrate on one particular petal of the flower. Feel that this petal which you have selected is the seed-form of your reality-existence. After a few minutes, concentrate on the entire flower again, and feel that it is the Universal Reality. In this way go back and forth, concentrating first on the petal—the seed-form of your reality—and then on the entire flower—the Universal Reality. While you are doing this, please try not to allow any thought to enter into your mind. Try to make your mind absolutely calm, quiet and tranquil.
After some time, please close your eyes and try to see the flower that you have been concentrating on inside your heart. Then, in the same way that you concentrated on the physical flower, kindly concentrate on the flower inside your heart, with your eyes closed.
Exercises in Receptivity
1. A receptive place
One way to get immediate receptivity is to repeat the word “Supreme” in silence over and over again, as fast as possible. First select one place in your body—let us say your third eye—and concentrate there while repeating “Supreme” as fast as possible. Then select another spot and do the same thing. It is better to go from the top downward than from the bottom upward. The place you concentrate on does not have to be a psychic centre. It can be any place you want. If you can do this in seven different places in your body, at one particular place you are bound to find yourself receptive.
2. A child’s cry
To create receptivity when you do not have it, try to make yourself feel that you are only three years old—a mere baby. You have no mother, no father, nobody at all to protect you, and you are alone in a forest on a very dark night. All around you is darkness. Death is dancing right in front of you, and nobody is there to help you. Then what will you do? You will cry to God from the very depths of your heart, with absolute sincerity. When that kind of inner cry comes, the Supreme is bound to open your heart and make you receptive.
3. Depend on God
You can increase your receptivity if you feel that you are extremely helpless without the Supreme, and that with the Supreme, you are everything. This idea, this truth you can write on the tablet of your heart. Try to feel that your inner existence and your outer existence entirely depend on the Supreme. If you feel that your entire existence is meaningless and useless if He is not within you to guide you, to mould you, to shape you, and at the same time to fulfil Himself in you and through you, then your receptivity will expand. Try to feel that you are the chosen child of the Supreme just because He is utilising you, but if you are utilising yourself with your own ego and pride, then you are thousands of miles away from Him. The moment you are away from Him, you are nothing; but the moment you are one with Him with your dedication, devotion and surrender, you are everything. When you feel that you are one with Him, automatically your receptivity expands.
4. Inner joy
Another way to expand your receptivity during your meditation is to try to consciously feel inner joy. If you cannot feel inner joy immediately, then try to imagine for a few seconds or a few minutes that you have it. This will not be false. Your imagination will intensify your aspiration and help you to bring forward true inner joy in the course of time. The very nature of inner joy is expansion. When you expand, your receptivity will automatically increase, like a vessel that keeps getting larger.
An Exercise in Contemplation
Try to imagine a golden being and feel that he is infinitely more beautiful than the most beautiful child that you have ever seen on earth. This being is your Beloved Lord Supreme. You are a divine lover and the golden being is your Beloved Lord Supreme.
Now, try to imagine that your own existence and also that of your Beloved are on the top of a mountain in the Himalayas or at the very bottom of the Pacific Ocean, whichever is easier for you. Once you feel this, then inwardly smile.
After a few seconds please feel that you yourself are the Beloved Supreme and that the golden being is the divine lover. It is like a divine game of hide-and-seek. When you become the Supreme Beloved, the divine lover seeks you, and when you become the divine lover, you search for your Beloved Supreme. One moment you are the supreme lover and the next moment you are the Supreme Beloved.
In the beginning, please do this with your eyes half open. When you become expert, you can close your eyes.