Ananda Marga way of meditation
The practice of Ananda Marga encompass a wide range of techniques for physical, mental and spiritual development, the central practice being meditation.
Meditation is an ancient psycho-spiritual practice that allows us to recover the connection between our individual self and the Universal Self. Such practice expands our mind allowing greater manifestation of consciousness and of our essential spiritual characteristics.
Meditation is a process where the mind is withdrawn from disturbing thoughts and concentrated on a single object that brings peace, clarity and harmony. When the mind is made calm, it can reflect and experience the truth of its own nature more clearly. By meditating on God, little by little, we are transformed into God. “As you think, so you become”. Thus through meditation we can realize our unlimited potentialities.
Special trained teachers give personnal instruction in the process of mantra meditation.
Sadhana in Samskrta (Sanskrt) language
“Sadhana” comes from the Sam’skrta root, “Sadh” meaning “to complete”. Sadhana means the struggle through which a person becomes fully realized.
Most human beings run around here and there seeking to realize their wishes, trying to find pleasure, forgetting they already posses the same object they seek, that treasure hidden deep in the mind.
Meditation is the effort to withdraw the mind from the world, concentrating it at one point and, through the repetition of a Mantra, expand it towards the Universal Mind, touching the source of all happiness and vibrating with the Essence of Being.
While the goal of meditation is the spiritual development, it is highly verified that regular practice produces great benefits, improving overall body state and mind balance. Monks and Nuns (Acaryas) of Ananda Marga teach advanced meditation lessons. Meditation should be accompanied by a personal ethical and moral behaviour to achieve balance, serenity of mind and the spiritual development.
“Mantra” means “that which frees the mind from suffering and imperfections.” It is a Sanskrt word, with great power, and its constant repetition infuses the mind with a more subtle and spiritual vibration. It is important to repeat the mantra received in the initiation in a correct way, given its significance in order to identify with the Supreme Being. Normally, due to by fears and anxieties, people use only a small part of the infinite potential of knowledge, and the energy within their minds. That infinite knowledge and power is but the Supreme Consciousness that exists in each entity of the entire Universe, but we are seldom conscious of Him.
Why we meditate
Many therapies are based on the principle that if it is located and recognized the source of a particular mental tension, then it can be understood and confronted. Or that experiencing again the situation in which a particular strain was formed, root stress can be expressed and therefore eliminated. We must remember that theories are not a liberating method to humans.
The type and extent of recognized conditioning depends on the school of thought. For example, many schools believe that at birth, the individual is an “empty plate” on which all likes, dislikes and beliefs are formed. Others trace the origin of the conditioning and creating tensions to the uterus and prenatal experiences. The concept of conditioning and its psychological impact is also important in Tantra, (that which liberates from darkness). How the mental darkness is released? Through meditation. And how we should meditate? Through an effective and personal mantra.
Tantra expands the parameters of conditioning to cover the whole individuality of one person. All sensory impressions and thoughts, initiated or experienced by the individual, are combined to form the identity of his ego.
Then, in a pure unconditional state, the mind completely changes the limiting ego and replaces it with the identity of the Universal Consciousness. Individuality is transformed into a feeling of oneness with all things. This liberation of the shed conditioning of the mind is facilitated by meditation. By identifying the mind with the essential Consciousness, beyond the preconceived view of the ego, becomes gradually reduced, revealing a more meaningful identity and a clear, fresh view of the world, without prejudices.
What is Meditation?
Many people believe, mistakenly, that meditation is an instant product: by just sitting down and the process works magically, lulling the meditator in a world without thought, full of bliss, quiet and bright lights. When these experiences do not occur in the first weeks of meditation, new practitioners assume they are doing something wrong or the techniques are faulty. Consequently they discontinued the practice due to a simple wrong understanding. So what to expect in the first weeks of meditation? “The mind is like a mad monkey stung by a scorpion,” said the great yogi Ramakrishna, and all who begin to meditate and try to concentrate, know that this is true, especially at the beginning, the mind is uncontrollable and unruly. While sitting many thoughts arise: one begins to travel mentally thinking of something different: sound and noise from outside diverts that inner concentration, the body does not want to stay quiet and in the end, you get up thinking that nothing has happened.
But certainly something has happened! Through constant practice, the ability to maintain a fixed mind is increased. As the body of an athlete in training acquires physical strength and endurance, so the meditator who strives develops mental strength and ability to concentrate. It is only after some time when the stage at which we can truly set our mind on the object of meditation and keep it there, that real meditation “is done”. Another enigmatic experience for some is when the mind seems even more unstable after starting meditation. Thoughts arise more than normal and this is taken as if the process was not being carried out properly. But it is exactly the opposite of the truth .the function of meditation is to work internally in the mind, eliminating all deformations and impressions that our past actions have recorded in our subconscious mind.
It’s like cleaning the house in the middle of the process, it might seem worst than when we started, but persevering and not yielding to the halfway point, we get to clean it. So as we continue meditating, it becomes more and more clear. Meditation is the effort to control and develop the mind, to realize our true nature. It is the means through which we can fully develop our potential at all levels of physical, mental and spiritual existence.
- Don’t worry if you have trouble concentrating – it’s normal. It takes some time and practice to be able to focus on the one thought. Every time you realize your mind has wandered away from the mantra, concentrate on it again – it will get easier the more you do it. The main thing is to keep practicing, and really try to tap into the flow of the ideation.
- Don’t meditate sitting on a chair or on your bed – you are likely to get too relaxed to concentrate. Instead, sit cross-legged on the floor in a peaceful place where nobody will disturb you. Sit on a blanket or mat, and keep it only for your meditation. If you have trouble sitting cross-legged, put some cushions under you so your backside is higher off the ground. That will take some of the pressure off your legs, and help keep your back straight. Avoid resting your back against the wall.
- Refresh yourself with cool water before you start.
- Meditate twice a day – in the morning before breakfast, and in the evening before dinner. Each time is important, to get your mind and body used to it.
- Singing the mantra aloud before you meditate calms the mind and prepares it for meditation. You can sing to any tune you like, with or without instruments.
- Repeat the mantra throughout the rest of the day, singing it if you like. That will give you a continual feeling of lightness and happiness, and make it easier to meditate.