is "Systematic" Meditation?
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
"systematic" meditation?: The purpose of this article is to discuss what it means to go inward
systematically, through the four dimensions of reality, and how this relates
to yoga practices of meditation. If your logical mind understands
the process, then it is much easier to do your practices systematically,
and to more deeply experience the benefits from that.
Meaning of one-pointedness
through the dimensions: We live in a three
dimensional world, but during the process of meditation, we
systematically move from 3, to 2, to 1, and finally to 0
dimensions. This is a finer meaning of making the mind focused,
or one-pointed (ekagra).
We have levels of our being
through the levels: We have several levels of our being, including
the body, energy (breath), mind, and beyond. To the yogis,
meditation is a systematic process of moving inward, through those
levels, so as to experience the center of consciousness.
articles will also give a greater
understanding of the principle of moving attention inward through
Eight rungs of Yoga
Meditation and your
Koshas or sheaths
Levels and dimensions of
OM and the 7 levels of consciousness
What we would like to do
Going to the
center: Theoretically, we
would like to sit down for meditation, immediately go to the
center of consciousness, beyond
all the surface levels of our own being, and beyond all of the
surface dimensions of reality.
Attention would go
directly to the core of our being that is beyond time, space,
and causation. We would just go there, and rest in the
bliss of the truth beyond.
We live in
where most of us find ourselves, is planted squarely in the
body, dealing with the external, 3-dimensional world. Few
are able to make that leap directly into the core, beyond all
This, then, is where we need to
start our practices; right in the middle of life, in the
3-dimensional world. Then, we can systematically move
inward, through the dimensions.
Moving through the
levels and dimensions: The examples below should give a feel of
systematically going inward, through both the levels of our being, and
also the dimensions of reality. The examples show a series of practices
moving from 3, to 2, to 1, and to 0 dimensions, or one-pointedness, so
as to go beyond in deep meditation or samadhi.
Flexibility in the
examples: As you read through these, please hold the examples
loosely, as far as the specific practices mentioned and the number of
dimensions that is related to that practice. These examples are given so
as to clarify the process, rather than outline a rigid practice
sequence. You might personally think of different practices, or might
have somewhat different opinions about the dimensions of a particular
The first level of
practices is 3-dimensional, whether practicing in the world, or at
the time of your daily practice and meditation time.
Practices may include:
- Yamas, including
non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, remembering the
creative force, non-materialism
- Karma yoga, the yoga of
action, serving others, while giving away the fruits of your
- Relationships with other
people and the world are key.
Practices may include:
- Mindfulness of the ten
senses (indriyas) during daily
- Tapas, which is the training
of the senses (the 3rd niyama of the 8 rungs of yoga)
exercise: Any form of physical exercise can help with the
practice of yoga meditation.
Food: Proper diet is an
important part of yoga meditation, and is said to be the first
part of training.
Hatha postures: During the
practice session itself, working with the physical postures is
the starting point of the practice sequence.
Asana: The sitting
posture and awareness of stillness is rung 3 of 8
breath: The first levels of breathing
practice involve working in 3-dimensions. It may be breath
awareness during the postures, or breath awareness during
actions of daily life.
After having worked
with the grosser aspects of the body and the breath, attention can
now much more easily come to a more refined form. Practices and
attention start to shift from 3-dimensions to 2-dimensions.
There are a variety of practices done in the corpse posture,
which can be called survey, scanning,
or relaxation exercises. These practices are done after
Sensing: Awareness on the sensing
process, such as meditation on the sense of touch throughout the
body. Even stilling
the body is a part of the process of awareness of the senses (karmendriyas
attention is operating in 2-dimensions (up/down and left/right),
since you are lying on your back, and the forward / backward
dimension is less emphasized.
body: During those practices of survey, scanning, or
relaxation exercises, a greater depth comes where you are
exploring the makeup of your own physical body.
Systems and organs: This
may include awareness of systems, such as muscular, skeletal,
cardiovascular, endocrine, or gastrointestinal.
Elements: The survey of
the body may also include awareness of the gross or subtle
aspects of the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space.
awareness: When practicing diaphragmatic breathing, there is
awareness of the up/down and left/right dimensions. So too with
alternate nostril breathing.
Vigorous breath: With
the practices such as kapalabhiti, bhastrika, or agniprasana,
there remains mostly 2-dimensional awareness.
After all of the
practices at the grosser levels, the 3-dimensional and
2-dimensional levels, attention is now able to flow in only
1-dimension. Without having done the preparation practices, it can
be quite difficult to come directly to this 1-dimensional level of
breath: To allow attention to flow along the subtle
with the breath is an extremely useful practice. Sometimes this
is considered to be part of kriya yoga, kundalini yoga, or
Sometimes people have
difficulty going directly to this practice, as the mind doesn't
want to settle into it. By working with the other practices and
dimensions first, this practice comes much more easily.
is now flowing only in the 1-dimension of up/down. (3-dimensions
would be up/down, left/right, forward/backward)
spinal breath: As the spinal breath practice deepens, it
moves beyond gross breath, and more into the mind field.
Attention flows with the sushumna channel of the subtle
as gross breath has been left behind. It is flowing only in the
Attention can be directed to flow between one chakra and
another. This flowing attention is moving in only 1-dimension
(up/down). This is generally done to emphasize issues or desired
shifts related to those chakras.
After the various
practices at 3, 2, and 1-dimensions, attention shifts to
0-dimensions, which means the mind is truly 1-pointed. Few can
consistently, successfully bring attention directly to this focus.
Thus, the systematic approach is best for the majority of
on breath: Meditation on breath at the bridge of the
nostrils can be either a beginning practice, or it can be a very
deep practice, if one truly has the ability to focus. To do this
simple practice as a deep practice can come much more
easily by systematically working first with the other levels and
on a point: After the mind has been systematically moved
from 3, to 2, and to 1 dimension of attention, it becomes much
easier to hold attention on a point. This gentle holding of
attention is the concentration that leads to meditation, that
leads to samadhi.
Space or chakra: Whether
you call it a chakra or merely a space, an extremely important
part of meditation is holding attention in a particular space,
such as between the breasts or between the eyebrows.
0-dimension: Whether you
are watching an inner object, remembering a mantra, listening to
inner sound, or witnessing a stream of thoughts, it is best to
hold attention in one space while you do that. This is holding
attention in 0-dimension.
the point: The word bindu means point. In the subtle body,
beyond all of the other dimensions, there comes the direct
experience of a point, a bindu, in the inner world. This point
is like a point of light or a pearl.
Eventually this bindu is
pierced, gone beyond, into the direct
experience of the absolute reality, and this is the goal of
meditation. It is beyond all dimensions of time, space, and
This site is devoted to
presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of
the Tradition of the Himalayan masters
in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising
quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest
Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the
center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is
one and the same with the Absolute Reality.
This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga
Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the
intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which
complement one another like fingers on a hand.
We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti
Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha,
and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer
finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final
stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the