Preksha Dhyana: Contemplation And Auto-Suggestion: [4] Technique Of Contemplation

Published: 28.01.2010
Updated: 02.07.2015

Two Types of Exercises

Practice of contemplation is an important exercise in the system of prekṣā dhyāna. As stated earlier, the practice of contemplation falls into two categories:

  1. To contemplate and reflect on what is eternal, true and real. As the thought-process concentrates on a single facet of Reality, contemplation becomes a real experience and the practitioner is face to face with Reality.
  2. To effect attitudinal change by the process of autosuggestion and repeated recitation. This exercise is a practical application of Will-power which has been developed and reinforced by prior practice of perceptual meditation. In this exercise counter- vibrations capable of countermanding the effects of activators of negative attitude are generated.

In both categories of exercise, the practitioner eliminates muscular tension, maintains the motionless posture of the body, breathes slowly and rhythmically and inhibits all agitation and excitation.

As stated earlier, contemplation is concentration of thought-process. Perception and awareness were primarily used for other meditational techniques such as 'Perception of Breathing'. Thinking was considered a distraction and was banished as far as possible. In this exercise the conscious mind is encouraged to engage itself in a thinking process. When thoughts are canalised and unidirectional, the exercise becomes meditation.

In the first category of exercises, the practitioner contemplates on an eternal or transcendental truth. For instance, in the exercise of "Contemplation of Transitoriness", he contemplates, "Everything is associated with everything else by a transient relationship and hence the association must come to an end". On the basis of this basic principle, the practitioner starts the exercise by contemplating and reflecting on the obvious separateness of two associated gross objects e.g. separateness of clothes and body. As the exercise proceeds, he contemplates on the separateness of subtle and still more subtle objects, (which is not quite obvious) e.g. separateness of urges and emotions from the conscious substance, and further reflects on their dissociation. As the contemplation concentrates, the practitioner will realise the truth on the level of real experience.

In the second category of exercises, the practitioner resorts to the technique of auto-suggestion to cure physical sickness, mental unbalance and phsychological distortions. He, not only attains physical health and mental equilibrium but also develops a strong reasoning mind and rationalizes his judgements by conscious reasoning. In other words, he acquires not only physical goodness but also psychical goodness by eradicating all evils from his thought, speech and action. He acquires the capability to transmute habitual negative attitude and psychological distortions and develops positive attitudes and internal harmony. For instance, by contemplation of fearlessness, the practitioner eradi­cates irrational fear. In this category of exercises, concentration of mental equipment is coupled with auto-suggestion.

The practitioner must first select and determine his objective that is he must identify and pin-point the specific evil distortion to be eradicated to acquire the correspending virtue. His aim is attained by becoming what he wills to become and his tool is the technique of auto-suggestion. It must be remembered that until the selected objective does not reach the internal sub-conscious level, his willing will not be successful. One must learn to subdue one's conscious mind and activate the sub-conscious one. The desired image is to be projected upon the subconscious from the conscious level.

Next, the objective is to be repeated in the form of a short sentence or syllable. Repeated recitation, first with a loud voice and then mentally, is to be continued for 5 to 10 minutes daily in very exercise. The continuity should not be broken. Response is likely to vary from person to person; some may achieve full success in a short time while others may take a longer time to do so; but success is always there. Thus, the process of auto-suggestion is very important in the development of physical, mental and spiritual goodness.

TECHNIQUE OF CONTEMPLATIVE MEDITATION

Preparation for Meditation

1. Posture:

For a successful practice of meditation, steadiness of the body is essential. Posture, therefore, is an important feature of the exercise. The practitioner must remain motionless, quiet, and alert for the full duration of the exercise. Obviously, therefore, a posture which produces any kind of distracting discomfort is ruled out. Strain or discomfort must be avoided during the session.

An advance practitioner may adopt a standing posture. In exceptional condition a recumbent posture may also be used. But a sitting posture is most convenient for learners and novices, and is most commonly adopted. Any of the following postures may be chosen -

Full lotus posture (Padmāsana)
Half lotus posture (Ardha-padmāsana)
Simple posture (Sukhāsana)
Diamond posture (Vajrāsana)

Although the full lotus posture is the best, sadhaka may adopt any one of these which can be comfortably maintained for the duration of the session. Some discomfort is inevitable, in the beginning, in any cross-legged posture, but a little practice would eliminate it to the extent that it ceases to be a distraction. However, if at any time during the practice, there is a feeling of distracting discomfort, the position of the legs may be quietly changed without opening the eyes. In all postures, the trunk and nead are erect with the spine and neck in a straight line. There should, however, be no stiffness. Eyes remain softly closed.

2. Mudra:

The position of practitioner's hands is called mudra. One of the following two mudras may be assumed:

  1. The back of the right hand rest on the right knee and the left hand on the left knee, both palms turned up. The index fingers touch the roots of thumbs, with a slight pressure in the contact. The other fingers are kept straight.
  2. Both arms are bent at the elbows. The back of the left hand rests on the central part of the lap and the back of the right hand on the top of the upturned palm of the left hand.

In a standing posture, stand erect with the spine and neck in a straight line but without stiffness.

Feet are parallel to each other with a distance of about 10 cms. between them.

The arms hang down loosely from the shoulder joints close to the body, with the palms open, facing inwards and fingers straight and pointing down, all skeletal muscles are relaxed.

If a practitioner is unable to adopt either standing or a 'sitting-on-the-floor' posture, he may sit in a chair. An armless chair is to be used Keep your back and neck in a straight line without the back rest. There should be no stiffness. Feet are kept parallel as in the standing posture. One of the two mudras given above, is to be assumed.

If a recumbent posture becomes absolutely necessary, one may lie down on his back, keeping a distance of about a 25 cms. between two feet, hands about 12 cms away from the trunk, palms turned upwards and eyes softly closed.

PREMEDITATION EXERCISE

Recitation of Arhaṁ

Arhaṁ is a Sanskrit syllable (mantra). It has unique sound and its loud repetition has many beneficial effects, not only on the physical level but also on psychological and spiritual levels.

Instructions:

Remaining in the posture as described before and with eyes softly closed, exhale fully. Then inhale deeply and quietly for about 4 to 5 seconds. Begin the intonation in a firm and controlled manner—

Concentrating your attention on the navel, exhale slowly producing the sound 'a' for about 2 seconds. Next produce the sound 'rha' while concentrating on Ananda Kendra (near the herart) for about 4 seconds. And lastly taking your mind upwards through the throat to the cranium, press your lips together and produce without interruption, the sound m,m,m,................ resontating it like the buzzing of a bee. This should last for about 6 seconds. You shall experience the vibrations produced by the entire intonation first in the abdomen, them in the chest and finally in the cranium. At the end of the recitation the lungs are fully emptied.

Inhale deeply again and repeat the performance nine times.

Throughout the performance, visualise that the sound waves weave together to form an impregnable web of armour all around you. This armour will repel the evil effects of malevolent vibrations from outside during the entire meditational session.

Alternate Exercise: Recitation of Mahāprāṇa Dhvani

Inhale deeply and silently for about four to five seconds, concentration you attention on the cranium, and pressing your lips together, exhale slowly and without interruption, produce the sound m,m,m,.... resonating it like the buzzing of a bee., This may last for about 8 to 10 seconds. Inhale deeply again and repeat the performance nine times.

First Phase of Meditation

Relaxation (Kyāotsarga)

This is an essential precondition of meditational practice, resulting in steadiness of the body. The whole body is mentally divided into several convenient parts and full attention is concentrated on each part. By the process of autosuggestion, each part is relaxed and the relaxation experienced. The relaxed and motionless state of the body is maintained throughout the meditation session. Simultaneously, there should be a keen awareness of the spiritual self. This exercise will take 7 to 10 minutes.

Second Phase of Meditation: Internal Trip (Antaryātrā)

Full attention is to be concentrated on the bottom of the spine called śakti kendra It is then directed to travel upwards along the spinal cord to the top of the head-jñāna kendra. When the top is reached, direct the attention to move downwards taking the same path until it reaches śakti kendra again. Repeat the exercise for about 5 to 7 minutes. All the time, the consciousness is confined to the path of the trip (i.e. the spinal cord), and the sentations therein, caused by the subtle vibrations of the flow of the vital energy, are carefully perceived.

Third Phase of Meditation: Contemplation. (Anuprekṣā).

Category (I)

Contemplation of Transitoriness

  1. Contemplate the transient (soon-to-end) association of yourself with the premises (or room) in which you are now performing this exercise. Reflect on the basic principle that "what is transient is not permanent" First contemplate and then actually experience the ultimate separateness between yourself and the premises (1 to 2 minutes).
  2. Contemplate on the transient association of yourself with the cushion (or chair) on which you are now sitting. Reflect on the basic principle as before. Contemplate and experience the ultimate separateness between yourself and the cushion (or chair) (1 to 2 minutes). 3 to 9. Continue the above process of contemplation, step by step, substituting the following for 'cushion' in step No. 2 above:-
  3. Clothes worn by you
  4. Your body
  5. Your somatic and psychosomatic diseases
  6. Your mental problems
  7. Your urges and impulses, emotions and passion.
  8. Your negative attitudes and bad habits (addiction etc.)
  9. Your subtlemost microbody (karma śarīra) which is the origin of all emotions etc.

Maintaining the above sequence, contemplate, reflect on and experience the ultimate separateness of your conscious (real) self and each of the above associates. (l to 2 minutes for each step).

Step Nos, 10 to 18. Now reverse the above sequence and repeat each step (beginning from body up to the premises) 1 to 2 minutes for each step.

19. Next recite the following slogans three times:

  • Body is transitory
  • Sickness is transitory (i.e. will be cured)
  • Mental problems are transitory (will vanish)
  • Emotions and passions are transitory (will be subdued)

Similarly other exercises such as contemplation of solitari­ness can be performed.

Category (II)

1. Contemplation of Fearlessness [1].

  1. Lie down flat on your back (or continue the sitting posture) and further relax your body. At the end, be aware of total relaxation of the body and alertness of the mind.
  2. Regulate your breath and make it slow, deep and rhythmic. Continue for 3 minutes.
  3. Concentrate your full attention on the chest region (from neck to heart).
  4. Visualise that everything around you including the air, is coloured bright green. Inhale slowly and visualise that long streams of green air enter your lungs with each inhalation.
  5. Recite the following sentence nine times:
    " The virtue of fearlessness s becoming stronge; I am Becoming free from fear."
  6. Now recite the above mentally for 2 minutes.
  7. Visualise that the above words are written on the chest region in bright green colour. Read each word slowly and silently. Repeat and continue for 5 minutes.
  8. Now concentrate your full attention on anand kendra (centre of bliss) near your heart and sustain the visualisation of green colour for 5 minutes.
  9. Again spread your attention on the entire chest region. Visualise that the word "ABHAYA" (FEARLESSNESS) is written on this region in bright green letters. Read it slowly and mentally for 5 minutes.
2.  Contemplation of Forbearance [2]

Same as above except:

Substitute blue colour for green in steps nos. 1 to 4.

Recite the following sentence nine times in steps no, 5,6,7:" The virtue of forbearance is becoming stronger; I am becoming free from intolerance".

Concentrate attention on Visudhi kendra (centre of purity) and visualize blue colour in step no.8.

Recite the word "ANANTA SHAKTI (INFINITE ENERGY)" as in step no.9.

3.  Contemplation of Modesty.[3]

The technique is the same as above except that the colour is green. Recite " The virtue of modesty is becoming stronger -I am becoming free from arrogance" as in 5,6,7.

Substitute "Darshana kendra (centre of intuition) between the two eyebrows and green colour." in 8.

Recite the word "SHUDDHA ATMA (PURE CONSCILUSNESS)" in 9.

Footnotes
1:

Jump to occurrence in text

2:

Jump to occurrence in text

3:

Jump to occurrence in text

Sources
Published:
Jain Vishva Bharati
Ladnun-3 41 306 (Rajasthan) Editor: Muni Mahendra Kumar © Jain Vishva Bharati Edition: January, 2009 Printed by:  
S.M. Printers
Uldhanpur, Delhi-32

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Abhaya
  2. Anand
  3. Anand Kendra
  4. Ananda Kendra
  5. Ananta
  6. Anuprekṣā
  7. Atma
  8. Body
  9. Centre of Bliss
  10. Centre of Intuition
  11. Centre of Purity
  12. Concentration
  13. Consciousness
  14. Contemplation
  15. Darshana
  16. Dhvani
  17. Dhyāna
  18. Equanimity
  19. Fear
  20. Fearlessness
  21. Internal Trip
  22. Karma
  23. Karma śarīra
  24. Kendra
  25. Mahāprāṇa
  26. Mantra
  27. Meditation
  28. Mudra
  29. Padmāsana
  30. Prekṣā
  31. Prekṣā Dhyāna
  32. Sadhaka
  33. Sanskrit
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