Meditation and Yoga

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The aim of Yoga is to seek oneness with our source – God. We may prefer to use other terms for God; for example, Buddhists talk of realising our Higher Self and entering into Nirvana. However, whatever term we prefer to use, the underlying essence of yoga is to achieve oneness with our highest extended Self.

Yoga is the science of going from our limited egoist self, to the unlimited transcendental consciousness, which is our real self. The practice of yoga enables us to discover the hidden meaning of life; yoga is a path to discover our real identity. In a sense there is nothing to realise, we only need to rediscover that which is currently hidden from our perspective.

“Yoga is union. It is the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Self. Yoga is the spiritual science that teaches us how the Ultimate Reality can be realised in life itself.”

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

On the path of yoga, meditation plays a key role in helping us to seek union with God. Meditation is the process of quietening the mind. Yoga teaches us that the thoughts of the mind can never lead us to liberation. The mind by nature is limited. The perspective of the mind is influenced by our ego. Our ego cannot grasp the whole because it tends to limit and separate different aspect of ourself. In meditation we aim at stopping thoughts completely; when our thoughts no longer bother us, our soul will bring to the fore our own divine qualities.

Yoga means union, meditation is the process with which we can attain union with our soul. At the moment we identify with the body and the human mind; however, yoga teaches us that we are not just the body. Our real self cannot be touched by the injury, illness, or even the thoughts of our mind. The immortal verse of the Bhagavad Gita runs:

“The soul migrates from body to body.

Weapons cannot cleave it,

nor fire consume it, nor water drench it, nor wind dry it.”

Yoga and meditation may seem difficult, even foreign to our nature, however, in practice yoga and meditation are very natural and spontaneous experiences. Through yoga we do not seek to complicate life, instead we aim to simplify life and expand our sense of awareness.

Meditation is one path of yoga but there are also other paths, which aim for a similar result. For example, yoga encompasses Karma Yoga. Karma yoga is the yoga of dedicated action and selfless service. In Karma yoga we seek to serve others devotedly and with a sense of detachment. If we can maintain the right attitude when working in the world, we lose identity with our limited ego. Karma yoga is a long and steady path. At times meditation may be difficult, but we can always make progress with our dedicated service. At the same time, meditation can expedite our spiritual progress in a way karma yoga cannot. Meditation can give us a direct experience of the aim of yoga. Both approaches can be complementary, a seeker can choose between the two and combine them, according to his own preferences.

Reference

[1] Sri Chinmoy: What is Yoga

Ronald is a spiritual seeker and writes on spiritual topics and Religion. He contributes to a site about the Yoga of Sri Chinmoy

http://www.yogaofsrichinmoy.com/

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