The 8-Limbs of Yoga: Dhyana "Meditation"

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

Why do people meditate? There is one simple answer: to bring more peace into their lives. We often say we want peace, but how do we get there? Not just temporary peace, but long-term unshakable peace, so that we may face whatever emotional obstacles life throws at us. To be able to make that connection to peace at any time, it will take some practice and concentration. Once Dharana (concentration) becomes stable, the student is ready for meditation. Dhyana (meditation) is where the mind is effortlessly fixed on the object and you are the observer. The continuous flow of consciousness in meditation creates a feeling of bliss and peace. This peace becomes part of your para, or your subconscious underlying feeling. One way to build this connection to peace is through mantra meditation.

What is a mantra? The word ‘mantra’ literally means “mind tool”. Mantras are energetic sound postures for the mind that create emotional frequencies, expand our consciousness, rewire and transform negative thought patterns in the subconscious mind, and build positive neuropatterns in our brains. Sound is the fundamental creative source of the universe. Hearing relates to the element of space (akash), which is the origin of all the elements and ever present within each of the elements (space, air, fire, water, earth). Through sound, we can affect all elements out of which our body is made and our para (underlying feeling). Whether your underlying feeling is stressed, calm, or cheerful, this feeling comes from the subconscious mind and the thousands of energy centers in our bodies (chakras/nadis), all of which are vibrating to generate para. Para sounds generated by our energy are the source of all intuition, inspiration, thought and source of all action. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the thoughts you give attention to, the lyrics you are listening to, and any negative self-talk you engage in, because they can become mantras in your mind that influence your subconscious feeling. When we have repeated thought patterns, they create lasting impressions on the soul. By using the ancient practice of mantra meditation, we can make positive impressions on the soul and control our para, bringing us closer to peace.

Some mantras like the Gayatri mantra are specifically designed to enhance self-awareness, while others may be used to reduce anger or fear, generate feelings of love and joy, and remove certain attachments and desires. The power of mantra goes beyond meaning because it is based in a deep understanding and science of sound from the Vedic culture. In the Sanskrit alphabet, each sound has a particular meaning associated with a specific effect on the energy. For example, if you have a sound that creates an energy that makes you feel more courageous, then the meaning of the sound will also mean “courage”. There are also many other benefits to repeating mantras. For example, when we say “AUM” or “OM”, the sound generated vibrates our brain and stimulates the Vagus nerve and entire limbic system, alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety. We all want to lead more peaceful lives, we just have to give peace some attention. Through mantra meditation, we can move from Dharana (concentration) to Dhyana (meditation) and move one step closer to bliss.

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