Yoga And Meditation

Goal of the Three Streams: The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through the three streams of: 1) traditional Yoga* meditation of the Yoga Sutras, 2) the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and 3) the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. (more) - Yoga - The goal of Yoga* is Yoga*. (more)

About the word "Yoga": Throughout this website the word "Yoga" is used in its traditional meaning of realizing the union of the individual and the universal, rather than the revisionist meaning of Yoga as a physical fitness program. (more)

Definition of Yoga (from Yoga Sutras): Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah. Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam. Yoga is the mastery of the activities of the mind-field. Then the seer rests in its true nature. (more)

Traditional Yoga* Meditation

Yoga Meditation is the art and science?

Yoga Meditation is the art and science of systematically observing, accepting, understanding, and training each of the levels of our being, such that we may coordinate and integrate those aspects of ourselves, and dwell in the direct experience of the center of consciousness. The links above are to a 16-page description of Yoga Meditation, which explains the process in practical terms, and simple language.

Yoga Meditation is not actually a separate aspect of Yoga, due to the fact that Yoga is meditation. However, the phrase Yoga Meditation is being used here to discriminate between Yoga Meditation and the now popular belief that Yoga is about physical postures. Yoga or Yoga Meditation is a complete process unto itself, only a small, though useful part of which relates to the physical body.

3 Stages of Awareness

1) Awareness Manifests Outward to the World

Yoga, Sankhya, Vedanta, and Tantra view the human as manifesting outward step-by-step, whereby the subtler consciousness projects evermore outward, and then gradually forgets those subtler levels. Genesis also explains this outward movement when seen through the eye of the Yogi or mystic. (Sankhya, Vedanta, Tantra, Adhyasa)

2) In Yoga Each Aspect is Trained

Yoga is complete unto itself. In Yoga, each level of our being is trained independently, while also being trained to flow together. The systematic processes deal one-by-one with our actions in the world, senses, body, breath, and and both the conscious and unconscious aspects of mind.

3) Awareness Recedes to the State of Yoga*

Yoga or "Union" is attained by first training, balancing, and purifying each of the aspects of our being individually, and then systematically receding attention inward through those levels, expanding so as to experience the state of Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya.

Individual Stages of Yoga Practice

1) Body and Breath

The Yoga practices with Body and Breath bring health benefits and balance in life. However, many people stop at the Breath, and are unwilling to explore or train the Mind. It is like building a wall between the Yogic stages of Breath and Mind. Some sincere seekers delay out of fear. Others incorrectly believe that Yoga is only about physical fitness. The key for the sincere seeker of the highest joy of Yoga is to be gentle and loving towards yourself, and persist with all levels of Yoga, including directly dealing with the Mind itself.

2) Conscious Mind

Mindfulness of the emotional and mental processes of the Conscious mind is very stabilizing. In Yoga, this includes meditation and contemplation on attitudes of friendliness, lovingness, compassion, and acceptance. It includes cultivating non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, remembering of truth, and non-possessiveness. However, many stop at this level of mind, and effectively build a wall between the Conscious and Unconscious, not willing to explore the depths of the Unconscious. Many get stuck here by thinking the goal of meditation is only a calm mind. For Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya, the streams of thoughts in the Active Unconscious mind need to be encountered, explored, and only then transcended.

3) Active Unconscious

By allowing the Active Unconscious to come forward and be witnessed in a neutral way, the thought patterns colored with intense attraction and aversion gradually weaken, allowing a greater peace and freedom of mind. This is one of the most direct ways to deal with the purifying, centering, or balancing of troublesome thoughts. However, few go beyond the boundary between the Active Unconscious and the Latent Unconscious. The Active Unconscious has alluring visions and sounds. Only the most dedicated Yogis are willing to completely transcend sensory experience of both external and internal objects, and to pursue the formless Latent level out of which the Active arises.

4) Latent Unconscious

To be fully aware of the Latent Unconscious is a very deep state, and an aspect of advanced meditation (Authentic Yoga Nidra reaches this Latent Unconscious level with practice). It is underneath, beyond, or prior to the pictures and words of the Active Unconscious. It is the ground out of which those emerge. All sensory experiences such as sights and sounds have been left behind, whether of external worldly objects or inner images. To consciously rest in the awareness of the Latent Unconscious is to be filled with bliss. However, there comes a point where individuation itself is the final wall, and even the bliss needs to be transcended. Even for the experienced practitioner this can be a great obstacle. It is beyond the mind in the conventional sense of mind, so the mind can no longer be an aid. Body and breath cannot help. It is only surrender that finally helps.

5) Realization

Whether you call it Grace, God, Guru, Shaktipat, or some other name, the greatest help of all finally comes from within to remove the final barrier of ignorance (Avidya). This final stage is a process that has been called piercing the pearl of wisdom (Bindu). A Yogi does not debate whether the Realization is called Yoga, Self, Atman, Soul, or God, etc., but rather, lives "in" the world while not being "of" the world.