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Lesson 106 -
Mantra and Breathing in Meditation (Audio)
Date: Thu Feb 5, 2004 11:39am
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: As I attempt to
develop a better habit of meditation- which though fairly new in the process
I am enjoying tremendously- Does it matter if I imagine/hear inside myself
saying "I" on an inhale, "AM" on an exhale OR if I hear "I AM" "I AM" "I AM"
on an inhale and then the same on an exhale, etc...?
A: Some systems of
meditation involve using mantra with breath. The approach in these lessons
is to not do that. So, no, it doesn't matter if the mantra is with the
breath or not. We just let the breath go in meditation and don't mind what
it is doing. The reason is we want the mantra to be free to change naturally
in speed of repetition and degree of clarity so the mind is free to go to
stillness easily. We want meditation naturally leading the breath, not the
other way around. If we favor the breath leading the mantra, we will drift
into pranayama mode of cultivating the nerves on a less subtle level than
the mind will go if given the opportunity in deep meditation. This is a fine
point that is easy to miss. It will become clearer when we enhance the
mantra, giving it more syllables.
Cultivating the nerves
is very good and pleasurable, and we do that in pranayama. But meditation
with breath leading is not as deep as meditation without breath leading. In
deep meditation when the mind comes to stillness, the breath and metabolism
will automatically suspend. We'd like to be free to pick up the mantra on
very subtle/quiet levels in the mind without having it habitually tied to
breath. If the mantra follows the breath, we don't favor or push the breath
out. We just follow the procedure of easily favoring the mantra on whatever
level of stillness we are at in the mind. Then we will be going to more
stillness and purifying the entire nervous system from deep within with the
rise of pure bliss consciousness.
So, pranayama is for
cultivating the nerves with attention and breath, and meditation is for
letting the mind go deep -- awakening the silent seed of pure bliss
consciousness deep within the nervous system. In this approach we do not
cultivate and plant at the same time. There is further discussion on this in
lesson #43, "Pranayama
Q&A -- Relationship to meditation." You will find if you let the breath go
in meditation, you will go much deeper into silence, especially if you have
done spinal breathing pranayama before meditation.
The guru is in you.
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