Feeling the way you want to feel, with pranayama and energy flow meditations.
Originally published 2015
The goal of meditation is not just about increased calm and reduced stress. Those benefits exist, of course — and they are discussed often enough. But there is a better reason for meditating! You see, the goal of meditation is also joy… and love.
The Joy of Meditation
In fact: Peace, Joy, and Love are the primary emotions that can be experienced through meditation, each arising from one of the major energy centers, or chakras, presented here in the order they awaken in me:
Chakra Kriyas (movements/actions) Emotion Root Safe, Secure, Sound
(movement is not required)
Peace, Calm Third eye
(forehead & base of skull)
Heart Connection with others
Giving and Forgiving
I suspect this article is Part I. There is probably a Part II waiting to be discovered, with emotions to experience for the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th chakras.
Note that a feeling of peace sets the stage for meditation. It is not the primary goal of meditation. Rather, it is the first step — where the mind stops agitating over past and future events. Instead, you bring your entire awareness to the present — to your breathing, to the sounds you hear outside yourself, to the sounds you hear in your head, to your body position and whatever it is in contact with, to smells or any other aspect of the present moment.
The mind is still active in that process. The awareness flits like a butterfly from one aspect of the present to another aspect. But at the same time, the mind is calm. It is still. And the emotion we experience in that stillness is, rather, a lack of emotion — or of emotional turbulence. It is Peace.
In that stillness, it is possible to connect with the greatness that surrounds us — the ocean we swim in, that which is rightly called “God” — the quintessential essence that permeates everything, including ourselves. That gives us a sense of connection with a higher power. The emotion that accompanies that experience is Joy.
Focusing on the root chakra helps to induce that stillness. Focusing on the two poles of the 6th chakra (base of the skull and between the eyebrows) helps to induce that sense of connection.
Then when the body is filled with Peace and Joy, it is impossible not to Love. Eventually the flow of insight and spiritual connection coming into us fills us up, and overflows. It becomes impossible not to express our emotions — to literally “press them outward”, in the form of Love.
Those three emotions: Peace, Joy, and Love — they are the reason to meditate.
Building a Meditation Practice
If you try to sit still and think of nothing — as many try to do — you are going to feel more calm. After all, what else would you feel? But it’s going to be hard to make yourself do the practice every day. It is rewarding, certainly (when you can do it). But is it sufficiently rewarding? For many, it is not.
More importantly, what many people experience is a feeling of failure, as a mind that has been active every waking moment for an entire lifetime stubbornly refuses to be still for a period of meditation. So instead of feeling calm and contented — the minimum benefit of benefit, many people find themselves.
So the practice you build needs to be aware of the mind’s movement, and let it find its own stillness naturally. It needs to use the body to quiet the mind, and and the same time give it things to do to keep it happy. It is after all, a very intelligent child. It is a loving child that very much wants to help — but it is still a child. And while a child can be stifled into stillness, it is only when the child matures into an adult that true stillness can be experienced, happily. So the idea is to build a practice, over time — leading the mind ever so gently into stillness and service.
My own meditation practice grew from the study of Kriya Yoga. Kriya means “movement”, or “action”. And the Yoga practice does include physical movement. But more and more, I have come to view Kriya as the movements of energy — in other words, as energy flows. The practices learned in those studies have been fantastic at removing blockages and increasing those flows, but they have also been remarkable in their ability to facilitate awareness of those flows. Because that is the first step: simply becoming aware of the energy moving in your body.
- Pause Between Poses – because it is the moments between poses that give your Yoga practice meaning.
- The Zen of Yoga and Meditation–because stillness lies in the space between thoughts.
Learn More About Kriya Yoga
- https://anandapaloalto.org – Kriya Yoga in the San Francsco peninsula
- http://ipsalutantra.org – Kriya Yoga with a Tantric flare
- https://www.yogananda-srf.org – The original organization founded by Yogananda
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