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Meditation - Dhayana in Bern

What is meditation?

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Meditation is a central practice in the tradition of yoga and is used to quiet the mind and connect with one's inner self. In a practical sense, meditation is the act of focusing one's attention and eliminating the constant stream of thoughts that may be crowding the mind. This is often done by paying attention to the breath, a mantra, or an object of focus.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written by the Indian sage Patanjali around 400 CE, provide a guide for the practice of yoga, including the practice of meditation. One of the most important sutras in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali related to meditation is Sutra 1.2, which states "Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff (Chitta)." This sutra is often interpreted to mean that the goal of yoga, including meditation, is to still the fluctuations of the mind, known as "Chitta Vritti," and achieve a state of inner peace and tranquility.

Another important sutra related to meditation is Sutra 1.34, which states "By the cultivation of friendliness, compassion, and a sense of impermanence, and by the relinquishing of all involvement in and attachment to them, malcontent in regard to those who are happy, and compassion for those who are suffering, is dissipated." This sutra emphasizes the importance of cultivating positive emotions and letting go of attachment and aversion in order to achieve a state of inner peace.

Sutra 2.1 and 2.2, describe the process of meditation, where Sutra 2.1 states that "Dharana is the fixing of the attention on a single object," and Sutra 2.2 states that "Dhyana is the uninterrupted flow of attention on the object." These sutras clearly outline the process of concentration and meditation and how the mind should be focused on a single object.

In order to begin meditating, it is important to find a quiet and comfortable place to sit, preferably in an upright position with a straight back. It is best to meditate in the morning, but it can be done at any time of the day. The most important thing is to find a time and place where you can be undisturbed. One popular method of meditation is to focus on the breath, by closing your eyes and paying attention to the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nose or mouth, and the rise and fall of your chest or belly. If your mind wanders, gently guide it back to your breath.

It is important to remember that meditation is not about stopping thoughts or clearing the mind completely. It is about learning to observe your thoughts without becoming emotionally involved in them. With time and practice, you will be able to experience a greater sense of inner peace and well-being.

In conclusion, meditation is a powerful practice that can help to quiet the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali provide a comprehensive guide to the practice of yoga, including the practice of meditation. These sutras emphasize the importance of stilling the fluctuations of the mind, cultivating positive emotions, and focusing the mind in order to achieve a state of inner peace and tranquility. By learning to focus the mind and be present in the moment, we can improve our overall physical and mental well-being.

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