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Basic Yoga Tips and Tricks

Mar 17, 2008
What is the basic difference between concentration and meditation? In concentration, one involves only the mind; in meditation one involves the heart and the whole being as well.

The ability to concentrate is the mark of genius; the ability to meditate is the mark of saintliness.

A person who has mastered the art of concentration usually also develops a magnetic, vibrant, and inspiring personality to which people are easily drawn.

It has been my experience that for a beginner the most suitable object for concentration is the light of a burning candle. Before you begin, select a quiet place where you are not likely to be disturbed. Then choose a comfortable position in which you can sit at ease, keeping the spine erect. You may assume any meditative pose or merely sit cross-legged. Use a chair if you prefer, but remember to straighten your back.

Then light a candle and, your gaze fixed steadily upon the light, start on some rhythmic breathing. Look at nothing except the flame - neither at the candle itself, nor at the wall behind, nor at any other object. Do not stare, however, and do not tense up - remain inwardly relaxed though motionless.

Let a minute pass, then close your eyelids but continue to envision the flame with your inner eye. In other words, you must be able to see the flame uninterruptedly, even with your eyes closed. If you cannot successfully capture the vision of the flame, or if it vanishes too quickly, immediately reopen your eyes, look at it, then close them again. Repeat this several times until you are able to capture and hold the vision of the flame. Resume your rhythmic breathing from time to time.

Now begin reflecting upon the qualities of the flame, upon its color, its shape. Look at it with a warm feeling of affection.

Ponder on its symbolical meaning as representing the eternal divine Light. Thus you begin to meditate on the light.

After a few days it will no longer be necessary to light the candle. You will be able to visualize the flame by simply closing your eyes and concentrating on it. To start with, set aside some five to ten minutes a day for the practice of concentration.

The next stage of meditation is more difficult: You start by concentrating on the light as you have been doing so far. Then dismiss it and do some rhythmic breathing for about half a minute. Imagine now that the light which you have been contemplating is no longer outside but within you.

Place it right in the sacred chamber of your heart and let it shine there, brightening every dark corner, sending out warmth and friendliness in all directions, to every living being. Let the flame in your heart grow bigger and brighter all the time, dispelling the darkness of loneliness, fear, hatred, anger, envy, jealousy, greed and lust . . . dispersing disease and pain . . . giving you health, strength and courage, becoming the source of love, compassion, and happiness.

When finally the light in your heart permeates your entire being and you have become one with it, you will attain a union with the eternal divine Light which is Love, which is Truth, which is God. In a week or so, after you have succeeded in visualizing the candle flame without difficulty, you may change to something else or take up another object in addition to it.

It is not advisable, however, to make this change before you are able to concentrate successfully or meditate on the first object you had chosen. Abandon it only when you find that it is too hard for you to hold your attention on it.

Always choose something beautiful and pleasant to concentrate on.

When you notice that you have begun to make good progress, you can start concentrating and meditating on abstract matters, on various qualities and ideas. But be doubly careful to select only those which are positive, right, noble and elevating.

With a little practice, you will find meditating easier, and will derive enormous benefits from it.
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