Questions & Answers

What is meditation and why is it so beneficial?

Meditation is to still your mind by clearing thoughts from the mind. Through meditation you get peace of mind.Your blood pressure comes down so your health improves. Meditation strengthens the memory. Whatever you do in life improves including the quality of your work. Through meditation everyone can live and work together better. Meditation improves your relationships and understanding with others. 

Where does one learn this meditation?

One may order the free Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj Meditation Blessings by mail or attend a Shivabalayogi Meditation Program. There is never any charge for Shivabalayogi’s meditation.

How does one do this meditation?

Shivabalayogi (Swamiji) straightened his back, closed his eyes, kept still for a few seconds and then pointed to the spot between his eyebrows with his right thumb. He said, “One places vibhuthi (holy ash) here and has to look at this spot. This is how one should meditate and one should meditate for an hour.” This is the practice of dhyan meditation.

What is dhyan meditation?

Dhyan (dhyana) is meditation in which the concentration is unbroken by thoughts.

Why is the holy ash used in meditation?

The holy ash is to help you to focus at the point between your eyebrows. It helps you to not be distracted during meditation. It is sacred and will loose its potency if dropped on the ground or defiled in any way. A spot of holy ash must be applied at the point between the eyebrows before each regular practice of meditation. This point is not on the forehead but is where the bridge of the nose runs into the forehead at the place between the eyebrows.

Why should one meditate for a full hour?

When you start meditation your mind may remain busy for the first twenty minutes. After that, around thirty or thirty-five minutes later, you may start getting aches and pains in your legs and your body. After forty minutes you will achieve real meditation. If you meditate for one hour then it will usually only be the last fifteen minutes in which you really do good meditation.

Is there a special time to meditate?

No, meditation may be done at any time of the day or night that is convenient. It is helpful to do meditation at the same time every day. Then the practice of meditation becomes a habit like brushing your teeth.

Where should meditation be done?

Meditation should be done in a secluded spot or quiet room where there is no disturbance or distraction. It is helpful if you set aside a particular place which is somewhat darkened. In the beginning it is easier to practice meditation facing toward the east or north.

Why should I practice meditation every day?

One day missed in your practice may require 20 days to make up the setback.

What is the correct posture for meditation?

You may choose any comfortable posture. You can sit on a chair, a bed or on the floor. The spine should be kept straight and preferably erect. The weight of the body should be evenly distributed on the underside of the thighs and buttocks. The body should be completely relaxed and at ease. The face must be held level or somewhat upwards. If there is pain or fatigue in one's posture, change the position and continue meditation. Try not to open the eyes during meditation because this may break the concentration.

How does health effect meditation?

Bodily ailments will distract the mind and prevent concentration. The holy ash may be used for specific health needs. Mix the holy ash in warm water or milk and take twice daily, in the morning and before going to bed and/or mix the holy ash with oil/lotion and apply externally.

What is the best diet for meditation?

Take a nutritious and balanced diet in moderate quantities, conducive for good digestion. Meditation should be done on an empty or light stomach because a full stomach may tend to make one less alert mentally and physically.

How often should one meditate?

Its up to you. You can practice meditation as much as you wish. You do not
have to force yourself to meditate. You can do it for half an hour to one hour each day. You can meditate for as long as you can sit and do it. Then gradually increase the time. Meditation is not just sitting for half an hour or an hour or so. Proper meditation requires steadying the sight, stilling the mind and concentrating them at the brow center.

How does one steady the vision?

First, one must still the movement of the eyeballs by fixing the gaze between the eyebrows. This is a gradual process to gaze without strain until the vision becomes steady at that spot without allowing the eyeballs or eye lids to flicker.

Is this steadying the vision a physical effort?

No, such practices as knitting the eyebrows or forcing oneself to look at the brow center will only result in fatigue in the facial muscles and may cause headaches. This is a mental process and physical effort is not involved. After the vision is steadied it must be held there. Most beginners forget this and after a few minutes their eyeballs become unsteady and start flitting about again.

How does one still the mind?

The first step is to stop the mind’s outward flow of thoughts and focus it one pointedly. This is done by concentrating the entire mind between the eyebrows and not allowing even a single thought to arise. One should not resist thoughts but rather ignore them and let them go away. Keep a constant vigil and watch the mind to ensure no drift from the brow center. 

Why do beginners have so many thoughts?

Meditation is like churning a vast ocean of tendencies/desires that have been accumulated in the mind from the forgotten past. The practice of meditation throws up thesetendencies/desires in an endless stream of thoughts. As each thought is stilled the related tendency/desire disappears. These tendencies/desires must be discarded for one to progress in meditation. The beginner should not be discouraged or dejected by all these thoughts. This is a normal experience for those starting meditation.

How does one know when the mind is stilled?

One will start having periods of thoughtlessness which will last only for a few seconds at first. Then thoughts will shoot up again. The mind must be stilled again by concentration on the brow center.

How does one know if they are progressing in meditation?

During the initial stages of practicing meditation, the vision and the mind are completely stilled and fully concentrated for only a minute during the entire hour of sitting. As the meditation practice continues, the length of time increases when the mind can be held still and this is the measure of progress in one’s meditation.

How can one calm the mind when it is too disturbed to meditate?

An effective method is breath control. The mind and breath are linked. When the breath is controlled the mind is controlled. One can mentally watch the incoming and outgoing motion of the breath within the nostrils which will calm the breath and the mind. Or one may do pranayana (deep breathing) for 5-10 minutes and stop as soon as the mind is calm. Then normal meditation may be started.

What if one is still unable to calm the mind?

One should discontinue meditation and pursue some other calming practice such as listening to music, reading something inspirational, chanting etc. When the mind is calm then one should sit for meditation again.

What happens after the sight and mind are stilled?

Meditation only begins when the state of one pointedness and pure consciousness is reached through concentrating the sight and mind between the eyebrows. Everything before that is merely preliminary preparation and must not be mistaken for meditation. It is not the time spent sitting but the time needed to achieve one pointedness of concentration that is meditation. One must try to remain in that state for at least 15-20 minutes.

What is pure consciousness?

When the sight and mind are stilled and one pointedness achieved only pure
consciousness will remain. Pure consciousness is the “I am” that remains when all thought forms have been eliminated. At first, this may appear like gazing at a blank wall of darkness. Later, it will appear like gazing into a lighted crystal or a blazing mass of light.

What should I do if I fall asleep while sitting in meditation?

If you are practicing meditation and pass into sleep through the meditation then the duration of sleep can be considered meditation. You will wake up in the same state of mind as you were in when you fell asleep. If you awake before your meditation practice time is over, complete your meditation sitting.

Is it less effective to meditate lying down?

No, you can lie down and the energy is not less. Preferably, you should lie straight on your back with your arms relaxed at your sides. Sleep will often follow.

Can I meditate before going to sleep?

Yes, if you fall asleep while practicing meditation then even your sleep is very peaceful and by the time you wake up in the morning, your mind will be clear. If you meditate when you are going into sleep, then you are meditating when you wake up.

What if I am too depressed to meditate?

You should not stop your meditation because of depression. Meditation should be practiced on schedule. The act of meditation will cause depression to subside. Meditation will help you to understand what is troubling you and help you to solve your problems.

How can I practice meditation while engaged in work and family life?

Neither your family life nor your work should come in the way of meditation. There is no need to renounce anything to practice meditation. You need only sit in meditation for thirty minutes or one hour daily.

What if my personal problems effect my meditation?

You may request holy ash blessed for a specific need such as relationships, work, education, finances as well as health. Use the holy ash as directed and continue your meditation practice.

Should we teach our children to meditate?

Yes, children can easily quiet their minds and they can practice meditation better than adults. Children can start meditation at about age 5 and may meditate for 5-10 minutes. Depending upon their age, they can meditate for about 25-30 minutes.

How does one establish a regular meditation practice?

You should do your meditation no matter what is happening in life around you, regardless of whatever personal problems or obstacles may be confronting you. Do not stop the practice of meditation at any cost. Go deeper and deeper. Experience the bliss in every sitting. Remember that bliss through out the day. Increase the duration of meditation. Increase meditation’s intensity. The more meditation the more the bliss.

How does meditation change us?

The practice of meditation facilitates a conscious process of change that results in balance and harmony among the functions of action, feeling and thought leading eventually to Self-realization in this very life.

What is the ultimate goal of meditation?

The ultimate goal of meditation is to discover who one is. This may be called Self-realization. As you keep practicing meditation you will get a lot of happiness and bliss. The kind of happiness you get in meditation does not exist anywher on this Earth. All kinds of happiness that you experience outside are nothing compared to the happiness you get when you meditate.

"Tapas Shakti" Tom Palotas, 1992
"What is Dhyana" Rick Cook, 1999