Although you may have a variety of experiences in your meditation practice, it is easy to classify them into a few basic categories.
Your repetition of the So Hum mantra should be effortless. Silent repetition of the sound does not require clearly pronouncing it in your mind. Rather, have just a vague sense of the mantra, as a vibration, an impulse, or a subtle sound. Listen for its sound more than feel the pressure to articulate it. Whenever the mantra appears to be changing in its rate, rhythm, or pronunciation, allow it to transform without controlling the process.
The most common complaint that new meditators express is that they are having too many thoughts. Thoughts are a natural component of meditation, and it is not possible to forcibly stop thinking. There will be many times in every meditation during which your mind drifts off the mantra to thoughts. You may find yourself thinking about something that has happened in the past or something you are anticipating happening in the future. You may find yourself thinking about sensations in your body or sounds in your environment.
During this period of meditation, when you become aware that your attention has drifted away from the mantra, easily shift it back. Whether you are thinking about what you want for lunch, a movie you saw yesterday, an issue at work, or some profound cosmic realization, when you recognize that you have drifted off into thinking about something—anything—gently, and without straining, return your attention to the mantra.
If your body is fatigued when it is time to meditate, you may drift off to sleep. Don't fight the urge to sleep. Meditation is an opportunity for your body/mind to rebalance, and if it needs to rest, allow it to do so. When you awaken, sit up and meditate, using your mantra, for about ten minutes.
If you find yourself falling asleep in most of your meditations, you are probably not getting enough rest at night. Restful sleep is an important component of a balanced lifestyle. Be sure that you are exercising regularly, avoiding unnecessary stimulants during the day, and eliminating alcohol from your diet, particularly before bed. Try to be in bed with the lights off by 10 p.m.
As your mind quiets during meditation, you will experience moments when there is the absence of thoughts with the retention of awareness. We call this experience going into the gap. There is no mantra, and there are no thoughts. The mind has temporarily relinquished its attachment to time and space and is immersed in the eternal, infinite realm of pure awareness. This is the experience sometimes known as samadhi. With regular practice, the expansive awareness that you glimpse during meditation begins to permeate your life outside of meditation. The relaxation you gain while meditating extends into your activity. The ability to consciously experience nonlocal and local awareness simultaneously is the essence of yoga—established in a state of unity consciousness while being fully engaged in the world of forms and phenomena.
All of the Seven Spiritual Laws are in play during meditation. The process is governed by the Law of Pure Potentiality, which takes your mind to the domain of all possibilities beyond thought. Allowing mental activity to come and go without restriction expresses the principle of the Law of Giving and Receiving. Not indulging in the meaning of the thoughts that arise allows you to transcend the Law of Karma. The core principle of meditation is the Law of Least Effort, for the nonlocal field of awareness is also the domain of least effort. The state of nonlocal awareness, beyond thought, time, space, and causality, cannot be accessed through force. You utilize the Law of Intention and Desire by having the intention to relinquish your need to control, resist, or anticipate during the practice of meditation. The Law of Detachment is essential, for the only way to get to the field of unbounded awareness is by letting go. Finally, the Law of Dharma is active because it is the nature of the mind to seek ever-expanding realms of bliss and wisdom. It is the dharma of the mind to expand during meditation. Letting go and allowing the process to proceed innocently is the proven technique of going beyond thought and quieting the mind.
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