Two stories

Meditation occurs when you are ready for it. Here are two stories which have been handed down because they illustrate meditation so well.

A student (a chela) went to his teacher (his guru) and complained that he was making no progress with his meditation. His guru instructed him to meditate on his bullock. The lad returned the next day to report that his mind was so busy and so distracted that he could not concentrate on his bullock. The guru gave him the same instruction, ‘Go and meditate on your bullock’. The boy did as he was bid, but then returned the following day to report no success. Yet again he received the same instruction. It was on the third day, when he returned, that his guru invited him in that the boy declared, ‘I cannot come in. My horns are too large!’ (He had become one with his object of meditation.)

The second story is about a travelling swami who visited with a remote yoga community on an island. He listened to them chanting their Sanskrit mantras, and later told them that they had got some of the pronunciations wrong. They listened carefully as he put them straight. The next day the swami rowed away from the island, and after a while he was astonished to see one member of the community running across the water to speak to him! ‘I have forgotten the correct pronunciation, please would you tell me again?’ The swami smiled and said, ‘You’re doing fine. Carry on as before.’ (This demonstrates the power of meditation, and that intention and coming from the heart is far more important than pedantically following set rules.)

Make all conditions favourable, and practice your meditation from your heart. This is Dhyana, the seventh Limb of Yoga.



DHYANA, meditation

The seventh of the Eight Limbs is Dhyana. Meditation occurs when you are ready for it, and the previous six limbs have been a solid preparation.

Make all conditions favourable for meditation to take place. Many of my students use small, wooden meditation stools. Their legs (the stool legs!) are cut at a slant so that the lower back is held in the correct position. My favourite meditation position is to sit on the folded stool (you could use a block or small cushion), with a meditation shawl (you could use a pashmina) around my shoulders. That small lift under the buttocks ensures that the knees are lower than the hips. This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you concentrate. Always sit for meditation with the back straight. This enables the flow of energy from the root chakra to rise through the other wheels of energy to the crown chakra.

Having a meditation corner in your home is an enormous help. You can create a PUJA, a place of ceremony. Here you can place flowers (white roses are especially spiritual), candles, photos and crystals. I always have Ganesh close by. He is the elephant god who removes obstacles. My friend, Sarah, has recently created a beautiful meditation corner, and she religiously meditates at the same time each day. This is making all conditions favourable for meditation to occur.

Let’s talk about some meditation exercises and techniques tomorrow!