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excellent read..

although tips like Many saints and yogis say that if your mind remains concentrated on one object for at least 12 breaths ...

often leads to focusing on waheguru, and also counting how many breaths you've taken :)

personally i don't think there is any harm in wayward thoughts...in fact they give me an insight into what is bothering me, which of the 5 thieves are manifest more within me and what i need to work on in my daily actions.

concentration for me is always just focussing on 'Waheguru' , yes the wayward thoughts will come and go, but providing we retrun back to waheguru, then during the meditation complete single pointed concentration does occur...in fact i feel it is waheguru who pulls us into that place..

God Bless Ji

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Fear of Death

Q: My best friend was killed in a car accident recently, and her sudden death made me realize that I’m afraid of dying. Does it hurt?

A: No, death doesn’t hurt. Death brings peace and takes away our pain. What does hurt though is fear of death. If we can overcome that, death isn’t painful. Many forces in nature are very loving, and death is one of them. It is Mother Nature’s final remedy—the most loving, kind, and generous of Her forces. Yet fear of death haunts our mind.

As you are discovering, fear of death is quite painful. It has two ingredients: fear of loss and fear of the unknown. Fear of losing what we have and what we know ourselves to be is the main ingredient. When we die, anything we identify with is completely wiped out—our thoughts, our feelings, our learning, our attainments, our memories all vanish. From our standpoint, when we die, our children die, our spouse dies, our friends die, our possessions die, our net worth dies. All of it disappears. That’s scary and painful.

This pain is intensified by uncertainty. We don’t know what comes after death. Will I continue to exist? If so, what will my existence be like? Most of us have no experience of the core of our being—the part of us that is utterly independent of our body, breath, mind, and senses. That is why, as we approach the moment when death separates consciousness from our familiar physical and mental selves, we panic. If I don’t have a body, if I don’t have senses, if I can’t breathe, if I don’t have a mind, then who am I? How am I going to be?

This deep uncertainty breeds fear of death.

Meditation destroys this fear by giving us access to the vibrant core of our being, which is completely independent of the body, breath, and mind. This direct experience engenders an unshakeable faith in a dimension of reality much deeper, more profound, and more fulfilling than anything connected with material existence. It infuses our heart and mind with confidence that we are eternal. In the light of this experience, our fear of death dissolves.

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^excellent read. motivational.

Currenlty, my stream of distraction is much stronger, but must keep on going, hopefully attention/concentration will triumph one day. lol.

Loved the example of Mt Kailash, it truly is about preparation & laying a solid foundation. Like preparing the lamp, ghee & batti, so baba Ji can light our jot. :) Like cleaning our utensil so Guru Ji can pour milk inside.

Dhan Guru Nanak!

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Hats off Sat Veer Jee,

I think, by far this is the best post I have come through, upon meditation and samadhi. Though it is information only, but the thing is, the simplicity and carity in it, strongly inspires one to keep going on this path of self realzation first, which then leads us to realize Him.

Once again thank you.

An excellent explanation worth reading. Clearly explains the goal we are trying to achieve when doing simran. The penny finally dropped for me when I read this article.

A Seeker’s Guide to Samadhi

Samadhi is a hot topic in yoga circles. Some practitioners believe samadhi and enlightenment are synonymous. Others think samadhi leads to enlightenment, while yet another group is convinced samadhi makes the mind go blank. Some of those seeking samadhi hope it will fall into their hands if they pray hard enough, and others believe the techniques of yoga and meditation will push them toward samadhi or pull samadhi toward them. In the 30 years of my career as a teacher, I have encountered many students and seekers from different walks of life. I have found them to be good people, very sincere. All of them have an essential qualification in common—a burning desire to have a direct experience of samadhi.

Trying to attain samadhi without having a clear idea of what it is, without adopting a systematic approach, and without completing the preparatory steps is like trying to build a skyscraper when you have never seen one, do not have a blueprint, and do not know how to lay a foundation. You will waste your time and energy and reach nowhere. Just as mastery in any field—surgery, physics, music—requires prolonged, systematic preparation, so does attaining the highest goal of yoga. This goal is attainable only for those who follow a system.

The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most acclaimed texts of yoga, delineates the key prerequisites. It holds that the practice of yoga is painless for those who adopt a balanced diet, balanced exercise, balanced thinking, balanced sleep, and who perform their actions with balanced understanding. These five elements are essential in laying the foundation for a meditation practice. Those who overeat or indulge in fasting suffer from various diseases. Those who exercise too much or too little suffer from exhaustion or sloth. Those who think too much or who fail to use their mind properly become the victims of anxiety or stupor. Those who sleep too much or too little suffer from inertia or hallucinations. Those who act without a balanced understanding of their actions and the consequences of their actions suffer from doubt and fear. When we design our practice against the backdrop of these five elements, our vitality, endurance, comprehension, freshness, and spontaneity expand. As these qualities expand, so does our capacity to concentrate. It is on this solid foundation that you place the formal threefold practice of yoga sadhana: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (spiritual absorption).

These three are like the three stages of a pilgrimage. Let’s say you decide to enhance your understanding of spirituality by making a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. For several weeks before you set out, your entire focus is on preparing for your journey—gathering the necessary clothes and equipment, packing, and then taking the long flight to Nepal. Once in Nepal, you shift into survival mode for the six-day jeep ride along bumpy dirt roads to Mount Kailash. You can hardly breathe because of the high altitude and the thick dust; the sun is blinding and the shocks on the jeep are so bad you feel like your spinal cord is being shattered. You feel hot all day, cold all night, and weak and tired most of the time. Then comes the slow, arduous climb up around Mount Kailash and back down again. During this three-day hike, you can take only one step, one breath at a time.

At first it takes all your effort, then you find your inner rhythm, and once you do, it’s as if the mountain itself lifts you up and carries you. Upon reaching the summit, you find yourself filled with great delight and a sense of fulfillment. When you return home, it takes almost a month to recuperate. But you remember the exquisite joy you felt when you reached the peak. That sublime feeling stays with you like a sweet whisper calling you to return to your inner Self. That’s what this progressive threefold practice entails: first comes concentrated effort, known as dharana; second, the effortless flow of being there with full awareness of yourself and your entire surroundings, known as dhyana; and third, becoming one with that state of experience brought about by this effortless flow. This is known as samadhi.

The Yoga Sutra, the central text of yoga philosophy and practice, calls these three steps samyama. By stringing dharana, dhyana, and samadhi together, the technical term samyama tells us that there is a natural process of starting our practice and reaching the goal of the practice. Most aspirants must follow this process. There is a rare exception—one that flows from complete surrender to God, which is not easy to come by. The grace of God has its own selection process. When it comes, it comes. And when it does not come, it does not come. Therefore let us focus on the three elements that depend on our human effort: dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Step by Step

The first step, dharana, is loosely translated as “concentration.” The Yoga Sutra gives a specific definition of this word: “to confine the mind or fix it in a well-defined space.” Space is infinite. Because it does not have shape, color, or form, identifying space is very difficult. Therefore, to confine the mind to a space, you have to first separate it from the rest of infinite space by putting a border around it. In discussing concentration, Vyasa, the foremost commentator on the Yoga Sutra, advises bringing the mind to a space that is well defined, such as the area around your navel center, the heart center, the center between the eyebrows, or to a particular external point, such as a flame or a particular image.

Once you have decided to bring your mind to the center of your forehead or your heart center, for example, you must then select an object to occupy that space. The object you select—the cross, the Star of David, an image of Ganesha, a yantra, or a mantra—facilitates the mind’s ability to stabilize itself in the confines of that space. Yet when you focus your mind on that object, you’ll soon notice that it is also contacting many other objects in addition to the one you have chosen. In other words, the mind is distracted.

Distraction is the mind’s tendency to contact various objects at a fast speed and forget both the main object it was supposed to be aware of and the space in which it was supposed to be confined. Rather than giving in to the habit of distraction, bring your mind back to the chosen object and allow your mind to focus on that. By repeatedly practicing this process of bringing the mind back, you will develop a habit of maintaining that object in your mind field for a longer period. If the object of concentration stays in your mind for a longer period of time than the objects that distract you, you have achieved a state of concentration. Concentration and distraction flow side by side. The only difference is that one stream—the stream of concentration—is stronger, heavier, fuller than the other. That defines concentration. It’s not that your mind is no longer becoming distracted, but that the object of concentration stays in your mind longer than the distracting objects do.

As concentration matures, it turns into meditation, or dhyana. This is the second step. Meditation begins when the process of focusing your mind on the object occupying that space is not interrupted by any other thoughts, or the mind stays on that object for a long period of time without much interruption. So dhyana is a continuation of dharana; your meditation is a more mature state of your concentration.

Students often wonder at what point the process of concentration turns into meditation. Many saints and yogis say that if your mind remains concentrated on one object for at least 12 breaths, you have achieved a state of meditation. If within that 12-breath period, your mind shifts from one object to another object, you are still at the stage of concentration. Think of oil pouring from one container to another container. Oil is thick and viscous so it pours out in an unbroken stream. The unbroken flow of your stream of awareness is meditation. And when this process of unbroken awareness lengthens further, it matures into the third step, samadhi.

Samadhi dawns when your mind becomes completely absorbed in the object occupying the space to which you have confined it. In samadhi, the process of concentration, the object of concentration, and the mind that is trying to concentrate or meditate all have become one. The mind is no longer focusing on the object in an objective manner. All that remains in awareness is the content, the essence, of that object. In other words, in samadhi you are aware only of the essence and not of the details. For example, if you have been meditating on the cross, you are no longer aware that it is made of the finest ebony or is covered with gold. All that remains is awareness that it is an object laden with a great sense of sanctity and divinity, that it indicates your relationship with that higher divinity. That feeling is there—that is all. And in that feeling it appears as if the object does not have any form of its own. It is totally devoid of any form. All that remains is pure awareness. That’s called samadhi.

Let’s examine the difference between meditation and samadhi. In meditation you are fully one-pointed, but that one-pointedness simply refers to the fact that your mind is focused on one object. When you analyze it, you see that deep down, the mind is not perfectly one-pointed. In meditation you are still aware of yourself as a meditator and at the same time you are aware of the object of meditation and of the process of meditation. So three things are going on continuously in your mind: (1) you know you are meditating, (2) you know on what you are meditating, and (3) you know you are the meditator. However, you have only one mind and that mind cannot be broken into pieces. It’s not that one part of your mind is on yourself, and another part is on the meditative objective. It’s a matter of intensity. When you are meditating you are more intensely aware of the object of your meditation, for example, than you are of either yourself or the process of meditating. So one stream is the major stream flowing in your mind field and the other two streams are secondary.

In samadhi, the process of concentration, the object of concentration, and the mind that is trying to concentrate or meditate all have become one.

As you practice focusing the mind on the object of your meditation, eventually your awareness becomes so focused on that object that not the tiniest part is left to analyze, feel, and think that you are the meditator and this is the process of meditation. It requires an exclusive absorption in the object of your meditation for these three streams to merge. That is why in English samadhi is called “spiritual absorption.” No part of your mind is left to maintain the awareness of anything other than the object of your meditation. Then neither internal nor external causes distract you. You are simply in a state of deep stillness, tranquility. And that state may last 30 seconds or two minutes (much longer when you become well practiced), and then suddenly you become aware of some external sound, or you think of checking your e-mail, or you remember you have to meet someone, and you slip from samadhi and become outwardly oriented. You realize you are sitting on your meditation cushion and you still have some practice time remaining, so then you start all over again, making an effort to go from concentration to meditation to samadhi.

If you have been practicing for a long time it does not take too long to get back to a heightened state. It may take just a fraction of a second for you to fall from samadhi to concentration, but you can also climb back up very quickly if you have gained maturity in your practice. If not, it may take some time, even though the memory of that joyful state of samadhi is still there, and the passage to reach there is also very fresh in your memory. Your daily practice reinforces the joyful experience of samadhi, making your memory stronger, clearer, and deeper, thus enabling you to retrieve that memory at will. The memory pertaining to the experience of samadhi empowers you to reach samadhi faster and more effortlessly. That is why consistent daily practice is the way to reach and retain the experience of samadhi.

Signs of Spiritual Progress

Before you enter a state of samadhi, there is a thrill of experiencing stillness. And there are experiences which go with stillness that may distract you, such as clairvoyance or extraordinary sensory experiences. These experiences are called siddhis—yogic accomplishments for those who have never experienced samadhi, and obstacles for those who have experienced it. These siddhis, regardless of how profound or shallow they are, how meaningful or meaningless, are signs that you are on your way to samadhi. As a practitioner, you should not be anxious about these signs nor should you have any fear if these signs appear. Simply keep your focus on your destination, your main goal, which is samadhi itself. Furthermore, anxiety regarding when you are going to reach there, doubt about whether or not you will reach there, fear of never reaching there, and worry about what will happen to you and your loved ones if you do reach there are the breeding grounds for distraction. Not making a big deal about samadhi and yet striving to reach it in the most natural manner is the way to protect the mind from all possible distractions. That is why yogis say, “Work hard but take it lightly. Achieve the highest but don’t make a fuss about it.” This attitude, called vairagya (dispassion or non-attachment), is necessary for protecting and nurturing your practice.

You have heard it said that practice makes perfect. But it is important to remember that it is only perfect practice that makes you perfect. Building a practice can be compared with building a house. A house can be small or big, simple or elaborate. A house can be fitted with lots of amenities or can lack even the most basic facilities. Such is the case with a practice. It can be profound or shallow. It can be designed to take us all the way to samadhi or simply conform to cultural expectations. The function of the practice determines the form. The loftier the form and the grander the goal and objective, the more detailed the architectural plan must be.

The most important aspect of this plan is building a foundation that is capable of supporting the structure you wish to erect. The fundamentals of any fruitful practice are those from the Bhagavad Gita delineated earlier: balanced diet, balanced exercise, balanced thinking, balanced sleep, and performing our actions with balanced understanding. Next comes cultivating a conducive posture. The posture most conducive to our practice is one in which the head, neck, and trunk are in a straight line, the shoulders are relaxed, and the breath serene. Then comes uniting our mind and breath with each other. Uniting the forces of our breath and mind allows us to concentrate with the fewest distractions, thus enabling us to concentrate for a longer period of time on our chosen object. Prolonged concentration matures into meditation, and meditation matures into samadhi. The repeated experience of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi deepens our memory of samadhi.

In subsequent practice sessions, this memory both pushes us toward samadhi and pulls samadhi toward us. There comes a time when this process becomes absolutely effortless. This effortless state of samadhi is called dharma megha samadhi, a samadhi laden with a cloud of virtues—spiritually uplifting and enlightening experiences. From this emerges an indescribable state of awareness devoid of all desires, including the desire for any benefit from samadhi other than samadhi itself. This is the state of nirbija samadhi—the highest samadhi, which sages like Patanjali and Buddha experienced. May we, their students, one day also attain this luminous experience.

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Well, when we want to get real deep and close the 9 doors....completely die in the shabad......One becomes disassociated with all external perceptions..

I've heard of how some people get too associated with some external or even environmental factor that becomes more habitual than anything.

Many people get environmentally accustomed to sitting in one particular place, or even a certain part of the room facing a certain way.

Some get accustomed to sitting in front of a Guru's picture or candle light...etc and also some grow a bond with the mala, lets say....

Depending on each person's personal requirements and goals, these bandans may need to be broken if you feel that they could be inhibiting you from progressing.

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Hmm for that I don't think it's necessary to break good habits.

It's not like you pull away from 9 doors, from external perception and enter the 10th and then you are done lol. There is no end goal to achieve here. It's a daily practice until you die. So you still have to get back into it the next day and your habit (that got you there in the first place!), will be necessary vehicle to get you back in to the door.

The habit is what you fall back on when temporary spiritual experience has passed. So you just have to make sure you have developed good habits.

Now you mention attachment to ritual... let's be honest, there could be attachment to anything, ritual or not. You could get attached to the idea of not having a ritual, of not having a habit or whatever. You could get attached to being a spiritual person, attachment to the image of one who meditates. Any of these can be road blocks. The best thing we can do is to develop and sustain good habits and continue to practice developing a thick stream of concentration.

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Concentration: The Prelude to Meditation

The notion that a meditative mind is a blank mind is counterproductive when you’re trying to develop a fruitful meditation practice. The quickest way to achieve a blank mind is “to ask a friend to hit you over the head with a hammer.” Far from being blank, a meditative mind is concentrated; meditation is concentration sustained.

Meditation arises when we hold an unbroken, one-pointed focus on a single object for a prolonged period. Trying to meditate without training the mind to concentrate is like trying to run before learning to stand. It can’t be done. Until the mind becomes one-pointed, it will never flow into meditation. We avoid the effort because we’re accustomed to equating concentration with exertion—like the effort required to solve a calculus problem—tension-inducing and not particularly “spiritual.” But the inward concentration that precedes meditation is neither stressful nor unpleasant. It is simply relaxed, focused awareness, a state of mind that is both calming and soothing once you get the hang of it.

Multiplying Concentration

The yogis define concentration as 12 seconds of unbroken attention. Sustain it for 144 seconds (12 x 12) and you have reached a state of meditation. If the mind can maintain that state for another multiple of 12 (12 x 144 seconds, or 28 minutes and 48 seconds), you have reached the first stage of samadhi (pure spiritual absorption).

Edited by Sat1176

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On 6/30/2019 at 11:42 AM, tva prasad said:

 

Very nice.. But difficult one. Couldn't understand in one go

One thing pls @tva prasad @Sat1176    @Lucky what Does neti neti means in this video???

And will u be kind enough to explain this pankti below

ਨਾਨਕ ਸੇਵਾ ਸੁਰਤਿ ਕਮਾਵਣੀ ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਥਾਇ ਪਾਇ ॥੨॥ ang 88

Nanak seva Surat kamaavni Jo Jar bhaave so thaae paae.

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Quote

 

what Does neti neti means in this video???

 

"Neti, neti" comes from "na iti, na iti" which translates to 'not this, not this'. Thus, an attempt to understand Brahman (God) through identifying what he is not. 

 

A variant of this is used by Guru ji in the first chand of Jaap Sahib:

ਤਿ੍ਭਵਣ ਮਹੀਪ ਸੁਰ ਨਰ ਅਸੁਰ ਨੇਤ ਨੇਤ ਬਨ ਤਿ੍ਣ ਕਹਤ ॥

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On 7/7/2019 at 4:51 AM, tva prasad said:

 

"Neti, neti" comes from "na iti, na iti" which translates to 'not this, not this'. Thus, an attempt to understand Brahman (God) through identifying what he is not. Sunn samadhi, as explained in the video is when one transcends this notion of "neti, neti" as one realises all is Brahman. This is when the sense of "I am", therefore ego, is eradicated. This results in coming out of trigunn maya as the ego is dissolved.

As for the pankti above, it is saying that, serve with the awareness that: only that is approved which pleases the Lord. Thus, know that the actions which are pleasing to God as worthwhile. 

Funny story, just a few days ago I was wondering 'what is it that makes a good action good and a bad action bad?' As they are both created by God, then why is one considered 'good' and another 'bad'? Then as I was listening to Tva Prasad Swaiye, it struck me... The translation said "the Great Giver looks daily at our flaws but does not stop providing (even when annoyed at our evil deeds)". This implies that evil deeds are something which is not pleasing to God. Therefore, good deeds please the Lord. It all made sense... Even though nothing is 'good' or 'bad' (advait), during the initial stages one should do 'good' deeds in order to please God. This is why each religion is bound by rules, despite the fact that all is the same due to one source. 

 

7 hours ago, dalsingh101 said:

A variant of this is used by Guru ji in the first chand of Jaap Sahib:

ਤਿ੍ਭਵਣ ਮਹੀਪ ਸੁਰ ਨਰ ਅਸੁਰ ਨੇਤ ਨੇਤ ਬਨ ਤਿ੍ਣ ਕਹਤ ॥

Thank u so much. That makes sense.

Just one more thing?? ( m sorry if I am being unreasonable) how do I serve 'him' with 'Surat'?? Does it refer to Jaap/ reciting baani quietly in surat?

 

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1 hour ago, Sukh_preet said:

 

Thank u so much. That makes sense.

Just one more thing?? ( m sorry if I am being unreasonable) how do I serve 'him' with 'Surat'?? Does it refer to Jaap/ reciting baani quietly in surat?

 

You are quite welcome. It is good to resolve doubts.

Surat simply refers to awareness, in this context, as per my understanding. The awareness of doing what pleases god is the surat referred to here. I.e. trying to do things that you believe will please God. This could be anything as long as your awareness is aimed at pleasing God through your actions.

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6 hours ago, tva prasad said:

You are quite welcome. It is good to resolve doubts.

Surat simply refers to awareness, in this context, as per my understanding. The awareness of doing what pleases god is the surat referred to here. I.e. trying to do things that you believe will please God. This could be anything as long as your awareness is aimed at pleasing God through your actions.

O that makes it easy.

I heard a Hindu story months ago where a bhagat used to sit near a river and did bhagti all in his thoughts...  in his thoughts he used to cook for 'Ram ji', bring flowers made garlands and so on. While he's busy sitting near the river all the day, his farms used to bear bountiful crops whereas his brother's farm- instead of working hard couldn't bear good crops...

So he being jealous came to his brother near the river and kicked him hard . at that time his brother was cooking kheer for his Lord in the ' surat' , the brothers' feet thus got badly burnt.

But that's NOT as per Gurmat .. Right?? I mean serving your LOrd  in Surat 

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13 hours ago, Sukh_preet said:

O that makes it easy.

I heard a Hindu story months ago where a bhagat used to sit near a river and did bhagti all in his thoughts...  in his thoughts he used to cook for 'Ram ji', bring flowers made garlands and so on. While he's busy sitting near the river all the day, his farms used to bear bountiful crops whereas his brother's farm- instead of working hard couldn't bear good crops...

So he being jealous came to his brother near the river and kicked him hard . at that time his brother was cooking kheer for his Lord in the ' surat' , the brothers' feet thus got badly burnt.

But that's NOT as per Gurmat .. Right?? I mean serving your LOrd  in Surat 

It is not against gurmat, rather the opposite I may add. I heard this sakhi a few years ago where a gursikh (can't remember who exactly) was bringing a mango for Guru ji (again can't remember specifically which of the 10 gurus, but it barely matters here). He ate the mango while remembering Guru ji through his surat. Guru ji was acting as though eating a mango despite holding nothing in his hands. The gursikhs present asked what he was doing and guru ji said he was eating a mango given by a devotee. There is another sakhi where a gursikh holds the Guru's feet through his surat and Guru Hargobind ji (I think it was) couldn't move his feet. 

However, looking at the context of the pankti, it means to serve the lord through constant awareness of pleasing him. I understand how you might have confused it. 

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