Most days I do my OM japa, i.e., I take my 108 beaded necklace and chant OM slowly as I work my way around each bead. My favorite place to do this is on my garden bench. Then I get the additional joy of hearing birds and other sounds of nature. Sometimes, though, I actually meditate in my Meditation Room. I am fortunate enough to have a home with enough space to have a room set aside for my puja [altar] to the Siddha Yoga lineage, including my guru Gurumayi. I also have a puja to my mother who recently passed from this earth March 2007. Many of my sacred books as well as my spiritual journal are kept in this room.
For seven years (more or less), I meditated the Buddhist way (mostly zen but also vipassana). This way recommended that your eyes be open but not looking, either at a wall or a spot on the carpet. You chanted nothing, only watched your thoughts float by. You could count your breath or just breathe. The goal was emptiness. Nothing added.
The Siddha Yoga way has you chanting the mantra Om Namah Shivaya (or So’ham). Om Namah Shivaya means “I bow to my Inner Self/I bow to the Lord (Shiva).” So’ham means “I Am That.” We close our eyes. Now, when I was meditating the Zen way, we were informed that closing our eyes meant more chances for dreamy reflection which could get in the way. Having done both ways, I prefer closing my eyes. I have sometimes been graced with wonderful visions. I have also been bored. Most of the time, my meditations are something in between. Being in the present is the aim of both traditions. Although ‘just’ sitting peacefully for a half hour or more is perfectly fine, I was amazed to perceive what I call ‘visitations’ of Gurumayi and, a few times, Baba Muktananda.
I want to talk about Baba Muktananda’s book Meditate. Before I found an out-of-print copy to purchase, I had borrowed it from the public library. Later I realized I had received Shakti [awakening of Energy] from touching, reading, and imbibing the words of that book. Reading his words, I went into a state of bliss. It was as if He were speaking to me in the room. Baba has a special way of telling stories. His words remind us of the greatness that we are. He encourages us to remember that we are not separate from the Inner Self and from the Divine. His message is one of great Joy. I love these words from his book, “In meditation, we become the witness of all our states. This is the state of God, of the inner Self, and through meditation we can attain that state because it is within us.”
Again and again, I sit down
to witness the world which is not
separate from the one within me