COSMIC MINDFULNESS MEDITATION IN THE YOGIC TRADITION
Why Join a Meditation Group
Cosmic Mindfulness runs a weekly guided group meditation. Meditating with others has synergistic effect on the mind, allowing each individual to move to a deeper state of inner peace and awareness. Each week we do simple yoga stretches, breathing exercises, chanting and a guided meditation. Have you ever noticed how difficult it seems to keep your individual meditation practice going? Sometimes we are a bit hard on ourselves and conclude “I’m just not cut out for this meditation stuff, when I sit to meditate my mind just wanders all over the place.” However the same people find that at a retreat or even at a group meditation the mind settles quickly into a place of deep inner calm. Why is this?
In our daily lives we are surrounded by people whose minds are in an agitated state and the agitation of others is picked up by our minds like a subtle radio static. When this occurs it is much more challenging for the mind to settle. In contrast, when we are out in nature, or surrounded by other people who hold on to calmness and inner peace as core values, the mind becomes relaxed and is better able to focus inward. The mind calms down and a refreshing period of inner peace ensues. So this is one of the reasons why joining in on a meditation group is beneficial to your meditation. On sitting with others who are deep in meditation your mind settles and also goes into this deep place. It is a place of deep and subtle inner communication with the object of your meditation, the Universal Consciousness that brings coherence and order to the whole of creation. It is in this time that we touch the Infinite and feel the deep inner peace and comfort within. Tensions melt away, outer cares cease and one gains a wider perspective of this challenge of manifesting our spiritual being in a physical world.
The Yogic Tradition
Yogic Meditation and spiritual practices emerged in a systematic way in North India about 7000 years ago. First known as Tantra the practices evolved and developed into the various schools of Yoga and Tantra which are found today. Tantra concerned itself with self-realization, and the word Tantra comes from the Sanskrit roots “Tan”, which means darkness for ignorance, and “Tra” which means to make free or to liberate. The word “yoga” means to yoke or to merge together, a small individual sense of self and the Cosmic Self. Tantric philosophy explains the origin, evolution and the purpose of human life. It explores the nature of the universe, including deep insight into the subtle layers of cosmic and human mind and the subtle body of human beings. Tantra is known for its exploration of subtle body and subtle energy. Tantrik practices provide practical tools for self-realization. Tantra developed from the human need to find the purpose of life and to know one’s deepest inner self.
According to Tantra, there is a consciousness in the universe which is much vaster than the consciousness of man; in fact the entire universe is totally within that subtle consciousness which is guiding it and sustaining it. It is from that consciousness that everything originates and to which everything will return. That consciousness is called Nirgun’a Brahma (unmanifest consciousness) or ParamaPurus’a (parama means greatest, paramount or supreme and purus’a means pure consciousness. ParamaPurus’a can also mean Great Spirit as in the Native American Indian tradition). That Consciousness attracts all created beings towards itself like a magnet: human beings will sooner or later feel its attractive pull.
The small consciousness and mind of a human being is like a small particle of that vast consciousness, separated from it long ago. Every individual mind has an intrinsic longing to return to that original oneness, to be reabsorbed back to its source. That longing is expressed in an incessant pursuit of happiness. It is most purely expressed in Spiritual Dharma, the deep longing of the human being for the infinite. People seek happiness from sensual pleasure, from material security, relationships, fame, honor etc. But happiness and pleasure, based on external sources, are temporary and nothing that is limited can permanently fulfill the human longing. Tantra is a path which guides human beings toward a true and lasting inner joy, a joy which is not dependent on any external factor or person. The goal of Tantra is to bring every individual in touch with their true inner self, their deepest heart, their innermost essence. That most precious place, that essence of being, is a spark of Supreme Consciousness and the goal of every human being is to merge with that origin, the source of peace and harmony, beyond transient pain or pleasure.