Meditation is the practice of simply observing and allowing reality to be as it is. It is learning to be completely awake in the present moment by calming the mind and observing what is within. By observing and surrendering to what is, we begin to first see and then untie the energetic knots or conditioned patterns that cause suffering and keep us from achieving our full potential.
Mediation is considered to be one of the best ways to develop a strong, focused, and determined mind. It is an ancient Buddhist practice steeped in teachings that help people come out of states of suffering. Because the root of suffering begins in thoughts (and eventually transfers to our emotions and actions), observing the nature of the mind is where meditation begins.
"The quieter you become, the more you hear." ~Ram Dass
Meditation is a practice that takes a certain amount of commitment and fortitude. Not only does it help to harness chaotic mind states, but it helps to strengthen a person’s body by inviting them to bring awareness to the body and to practice sitting for extended periods of time which fosters better posture and stronger spines.
Samadhi, or union with the Source, is the purpose of all spiritual endeavors and all yogic traditions. Samadhi is not a "thing" to be acquired, but rather a "letting go" of clinging to a sense of self. It is a clear insight into our true nature. Samadhi can be attained by practicing the following techniques:
1) Pratyahara is withdrawing from the senses to observe inner energy. Chi is the vibratory field (Pranava) underlying the senses or the feeling of inner aliveness when one turns consciousness within. When the root level of sensation is observed directly and we allow the sensations to simply be there without resistance, we rewire the inner world to be in a state of non-resistance.
2) Dharana is the training of the mind to stay fixed on one thing. The modern mind quickly jumps around and has lost the ability to stay fixed in single-pointed, unmoving consciousness. This is the ‘yang’ aspect of meditation that requires effort. It is reflected in the story of the Buddha who sat under the bodhi tree and said, "I will not move from this spot until I am enlightened".
3) Dhyana is the ‘yin’ aspect of meditation, which is surrendering to whatever is arising in the present moment. Once the mind has been trained to be present, the meditation becomes non-doing or simply being OK with what IS. For this aspect of meditation, there is no technique, since it is letting go of all control. Through Dharana and Dhyana (doing and non-doing), one comes to insights about how consciousness works and how we create suffering and attachment by identifying with arising forms, thoughts, and sensations.
4) Samadhi is a state of deep and profound concentration undisturbed by sensory desires, emotions, thoughts, or egoic clinging. It is consciousness turned back towards the Source and is a state of union with that Source. Samadhi is not something that can be taught intellectually. It can only be experienced directly. Samadhi is realized when the middle way is understood: the balance between Yin and Yang, Dhyana and Dharana, effortlessness and effort. Samadhi is not something reserved for saints and buddhas, but rather it is the birthright of every human being.