Excerpt from A Guide to Intermediate Meditation, by Swami Rama.
“After practicing the first step of meditation, I’m now introducing you to the intermediate steps. Those who have practiced the first step will benefit more by these instructions. First of all, you should be confident of yourself, and fully aware of this fact, that this method of meditation will not disturb your religion, or cultural concepts. For a true method of meditation does not disturb anyone’s religion, but helps one to understand the religion. The method of meditation is a way of realizing one’s own self on all levels. According to our studies, meditation is an inward method for experiencing higher and finer levels of consciousness, and there is no mystery in it.
First of all, it is important to release stress and strain on all levels: body, nervous system, and the mind. Before you determine to experience inner spiritual life, you should learn to practice a steady and comfortable posture, and be physically still. Then you learn to practice diaphragmatic breathing, and form that habit. Habit becomes part of life. Once you have done so, you have the ability to meditate on the breath. Meditation on the breath means being aware that you are breathing. Let your mind flow with the flow of your breath. Breath awareness gradually calms down the mind.
Before giving you the practical instructions, I want you to know that meditational practice should be conducted punctually and regularly. Holding one’s posture is important, seems to be important, and essential.
Direct experience alone should be accepted as valid. Most often, the students have expectations and they want to visualize or experience strange things or see visions. But the aim of this method is to give you the experience of higher levels of consciousness. No action is external in meditation. This is called journey within; journey without movement. Keep your head, neck and trunk in a straight line. Ask your mind to observe and watch the whole body from head to toe. Mind can easily know which part of the body is tense.
Ask your mind to relax. Relax does not mean loosening the muscles. Relax means not being tense. Now you have to do it on the breath level. Exhale as though you are exhaling all the toxins, all the problems, that which are not needed by your body. Inhale the energy from the atmosphere. So when you exhale, as though you are exhaling from the crown of your head, going down to the toes, relaxing. Inhale as though you are inhaling energy from the toes, going to the crown of your head. Now pay attention to your breath, for breath is life and life is breath. Your breath has no noise, it has no jerks, it has no shallowness. Your breath is smooth and slow.
You are not only a physical body, breathing being, but you are a thinking being too. Body is gross. Subtler is your senses, your breath, and subtlest is your mind. These instruments are yours, but who are you? I am seated behind and beyond mind, breath and body. I am not identifying myself with my mind, breath and body. I am different from my mind, breath and body. Who am I? I am a ripple of joy, bliss, in the ocean of bliss. I am born out of this ocean, I play in this ocean, and I merge into this ocean. I am immortal and a child of immortality and eternity. I don’t die. Death belongs to my body; death belongs to my physical body, breath, and my mind. There is no death for me, for I am child of eternity.
Once in a day, put yourself in a situation where you are calm, quiet, still, and in deep silence. We all are children of the silence and go back to the silence. Breathe deeply. Pay attention towards your breath. Gently open your eyes.
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