Meditation, mindfulness and consciousness are buzzwords today. Yogis have been practicing meditation (also referred to as dhyana) for ages. Though yoga and meditation are essentially different concepts, there is a symbiotic relationship between yoga and meditation as one learns to silence the mind through meditation and this is a key focus in yoga practice.
Meditation is a technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal awake state. Meditation is the path to seeing all the levels of ourselves and fully and truly experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not part of any religion; it is a science, which means the process of meditating follows specific steps and has defined principles to follow in order to achieve verifiable results.
In meditation, the mind is clear, calm and focused. When one meditates, you are awake and alert, but in an inner state that is completely still. When you are able to silence your mind, your meditation deepens.
From the time we are born, we have been taught to look outward to examine and learn about things outside of us. Generally speaking, most people have not been taught to look within. For this reason, many of us remain strangers to ourselves, while we put all of our time and energy in to getting to know others. This lack of self-understanding is a primary reason for so many failed relationships, as well as the root cause of a lot of confusion and disappointments in life.
Aside from the practice of meditation and mindfulness, there is no other method to learn control over the mind. The part of the mind that dreams and sleeps remains unknown and untamed. The goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind and experience our core nature – which is described as peace, happiness, and pure bliss. Anyone who has tried to meditate knows that the mind is the biggest obstacle between our selves and this type of awareness. The mind wanders wildly, which explains why many people who try meditation only experience daydreams and fantasies, rather than attaining the stillness they are after.
Meditation and mindfulness provide a practical way for calming yourself, for letting go of biases and seeing what is. Meditation teaches you to explore your inner dimensions. Through the practice of meditation, you are committing to yourself and your path.
In yoga, your goal is also stillness and the focus on the breath. Since meditation is the process of giving your full attention to something, such as your breath, the two are intertwined.