Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra

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What is "Systematic" Meditation?
by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati 

What is "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-pointednes

Moving inward, 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 

Moving inward, 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.

The following articles will also give a greater understanding of the principle of moving attention inward through the levels: 

Yoga Sutras 
Eight rungs of Yoga 
Steps in meditation 
Meditation and your levels 
Koshas or sheaths 
Levels and dimensions of consciousness
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 3-dimensions: However, 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 dimensions.

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 practice.


The first level of practices is 3-dimensional, whether practicing in the world, or at the time of your daily practice and meditation time. 

  World: 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 actions.
  • Relationships with other people and the world are key.
Senses: Practices may include: 
  • Mindfulness of the ten senses (indriyas) during daily life.
  • Tapas, which is the training of the senses (the 3rd niyama of the 8 rungs of yoga)
Physical 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 in yoga.

Gross 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.

Survey: 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 the postures. 

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 and jnanendriyas).

2-dimensions: Mostly, 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.

Physical 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.

Breath 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 practice. 

Spinal breath: To allow attention to flow along the subtle spine, with the breath is an extremely useful practice. Sometimes this is considered to be part of kriya yoga, kundalini yoga, or pranayama.

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.

1-dimension: Attention is now flowing only in the 1-dimension of up/down. (3-dimensions would be up/down, left/right, forward/backward)

Deepening 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 spine, as gross breath has been left behind. It is flowing only in the up/down dimension.

Between chakras: 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 people. 

Meditation 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 dimensions.
Meditation 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.

Finding 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.

Beyond dimensions: 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 causation.



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 Absolute.








Yoga Nidra Meditation CD by Swami Jnaneshvara
Yoga Nidra CD
Swami Jnaneshvara