Improve Overall Health with Breath and Color Meditation

- in My Brain, My Mindfulness
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Improve Overall Health

Meditation is a clean body state like any other, such as arousal or sleep. In the state of meditation, you can obtain the welfares which include relaxation, energy, and perspective on your lifetime. Health researchers take meditation seriously in the process of stress relief and ways and means to improve overall health.

Consciousness

According to yogic tradition, there are four states of human awareness.

  1. The state of waking consciousness and awareness, or Jagriti. This is the most basic state when we are awake.
  2. The state of dreams, or Svapna. When dreaming, there is no consciousness of the outside world, but the mind is not at rest. The worlds of the subconscious and the super conscious are active.
  3. The state of deep, dreamless sleep, or Sushupti. In this state, the mind is apparently at rest, but the seed of all mental activities lies dormant. As soon as the individual awakens, and the mind goes into the waking state, the dormant seed sprouts again into the many manifestations of the mind.
  4. The state of pure consciousness, or Turiya. This is not an ordinary state. It is the state when the mind has gone and there is no longer a sense of “I.” Tantra and Yoga offer a variety of practices (Sadhana) that lead the individual mind to be absorbed into the universal mind.

Breath Meditation

Breathing is made up of two acts: inspiration, in which the air is taken into the lungs; and expiration, in which the inspired air is expelled from the lungs. The air that is expelled from the lungs makes the sound HAM, and the inhaled air produces the sound SAH. The two sounds together make the Sanskrit word HAMSAH (literally “goose”), which is a synonym for the Supreme Spirit. In Hindu mythology, the goose is a bird that can separate milk from water, a normally impossible task. This special ability of the mythical goose has made it a symbol of judgment between what is real (the spirit) and what is merely transient (the world of names and forms). Moreover, the goose is pure white and spotless and therefore it represents the soul.

The SAH and HAM Sounds

The HAM sound symbolizes the male creative principle of consciousness and is known as the seed mantra of Shiva. The SAH sound represents the female creative principle of energy and is the seed mantra of Shakti. When the word HAMSA is reversed, it spells SOHAM in Sanskrit.

At a practical level, the SOHAM sound that the inhaled and exhaled breaths make can be used as a means of developing awareness. This is traditionally called the practice of spontaneous repetition (ajapa japa) and is very effective in cultivating awareness and controlling the mind.

This technique is also known in Buddhism as the mindfulness of breathing (anapanassati vipassana).

The Soham Japa is a natural method (Sahaja) because no mantras, no mala (rosary), and no initiation are needed. All that is required is to be constantly aware of the two sounds made by the in and out acts of respiration. The sound is always with us and remains constant during all states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. If an awareness of the SOHAM sound can be kept going through the three states of consciousness, then the individual reaches the fourth state of enlightenment.

Practicing the Breath Awareness

Choose a clean place, free from noise and other disturbances. The place should be without any unpleasant associations. A naturally beautiful place near a flowing stream or in a grove of flowering trees would be ideal. It can be any time of the day or night. What is important is that the mind should be calm and relaxed.  If you are sitting in a room, try to place a photo of a nice, and tranquil place in front of you.

  1. To begin with, sit in any comfortable posture, with the eyes either closed or open, as convenient.
  2. Then breathe in slowly and try to hear the SO sound. If at first, you do not hear the sound, try to either imagine it or mentally repeat it.
  3. While breathing out, hear, imagine or mentally repeat the HAM sound. Take care to maintain continuous breathing and the SOHAM is not broken up like a verbal mantra.

Generally, when one becomes conscious of the process of breathing, its rate alters a little. This can become uncomfortable. If this happens, rest a little and then resume the practice. Ten to fifteen minutes at the beginning should become longer and longer until the awareness of the sound becomes natural and spontaneous. When this happens one might feel that the breath has stopped. But there is no need to worry as this is a sign that the practice has now become natural. This is the Sahaja state.  The Sahaja state leads to total awareness of breathing. With the awareness of breathing comes an awareness of the nature of emotional, psychological, and physical conditioning. When you are aware of the nature of conditioning of the mind you are free from the bonds of attachment.  In freedom is the final meeting of consciousness (Purusha) and energy (Prakriti).

Color Meditation

 Color Meditation

Color meditation is generally considered helpful in maintaining inner calm and in understanding the subtle working of the vital energies of the human body. It is essential to remember that the color meditation is directed toward emotions, and so it is necessary to understand the significance of the colors.

Red

The first color for meditation is red. This color represents all the fiery emotions like anger, passion, lust, hate, violence, and constant activity. The purpose of meditating on this color is to become one with the emotions it symbolizes and to understand these emotions in our psychological makeup. In Hindu mythology, red is associated with Brahma, the principle of creation, and the mother goddess, the basic energy of the cosmos.

Black

The second color for meditation is black. This symbolizes all the negative feelings of the human mind. Depression, sorrow, grief, and so on, are all referred to as “dark” emotions. Negative attitudes and emotions are harmful to our physical and mental health. But to overcome them, we must understand them. And to understand them we must accept them.

We normally try to push the negative part of ourselves into the subconscious and project only the good. But simply repressing the negative aspects does not make us free from them. They have to be brought into the open and understood. Any power that is understood loses its dangerous quality. Meditation on the color black helps us in bringing the dark part of our mind to the surface. Black is a symbol of night, sleep, and death, and hence represents Lord Shiva, the universal power of death.

White

Having understood and gone beyond the disturbing emotions of passion (Rajas = red) and negativity (Tamas = black), meditate upon white, the color of inner peace and harmony. This is the symbol of Lord Vishnu, the cosmic principle of order and balance. White also represents light and wisdom and stands for purity (Sattva).

Practicing the Color Meditation

The method of color meditation is simple.

  1. Sit in a comfortable posture. Generally, Padmasana or Sukhasana (easy posture) is recommended, but any posture will do.
  2. Then take a large piece of cloth or paper of the required color. Stare at the colored cloth or paper and allow the color to become part of you. Let your entire body take on the color you are meditating upon.
  3. When you feel that the color has covered you completely with its nature, close your eyes and visualize the color inside you. When you can successfully visualize the color with your eyes closed, you have perfected color meditation. The various physical and psychic benefits will come automatically to you.

If you want to explore deeper this subject refer to Secret Power of Tantrik Breathing: Techniques for Attaining Health, Harmony, and Liberation

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