Skip to main content

Meditation: Signs of Progress & How to identify a Real Vision from a False One

Hope that you have read my introductory post on Raja Yoga as being one of the four paths to Divinity  prescribed in Hinduism. In this post, I want to delve briefly into some basic aspects of meditation. [Note: I am not a follower or a devotee of Sri Paramahansa Yogananda but I find his teachings deeply inspiring on the spiritual path and I try to make a sincere attempt to study his teachings.]

Meditation: The Importance of Being Receptive

This is beautiful saying from Sri Paramahansa Yogananda: "The man who has the power of receptivity quickly grasps everything. People with no receptivity maybe exposed to the same experiences or information, yet not really see nor fully comprehend what is there. Your experiences bring wisdom according to the cup of your receptivity."

                                                                                [Image:Unsplash]

Guru Mayi Chidvilasananda, renowned among the Siddha Yoga practitioners, says: "There is no honeymoon phase in Sadhana. You don't receive the Guru's attention one day and lose it the next. Grace is abundant. It all depends on how much you expose your heart to grace, how much you hide your heart from grace. As long as your heart is completely open to the Guru and to all those who carry the flame of God in their hearts, as long as you are saturated with the longing to experience the Truth, you have absolutely nothing to fear."

Meditation: How to identify a real vision from a false one?

According to Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, you may see real visions and premature manifestations of imagery when you first undertake meditation. So, how can you know what is real and what is false when you are new to the practice of meditation?

Sri Paramahansa Yogananda indicates that it takes considerable effort, practice and sadhana to get real visions. So, if you start experiencing visions almost from day one of meditation, it is likely to be a false manifestation. Again, this is an experience that you have to analyze and judge, that is not for me to do. The reason that I am sharing this tip with you is so that you are aware of it while undertaking meditation.

To ensure that you are not prone to false imagery, there are two important tips to keep in mind while meditating as per Sri Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings:

1. Keep the eyes half-open and fixed firmly at the point between the eyebrows - that is the seat of concentration and super conscious perception.

2. During meditation, do not love or desire visions more than God. This simply means that do not push in your material or personal requests while you are undertaking meditation.

Meditation: Seven Signs of Progress

For those practising meditation, how will they know they are on the right track? 

The following are the seven signs of progress in meditation based on Sri Paramahansa Yogananda's writings:

1.  An increasing peacefulness during meditation.

2. A conscious inner experience of calmness in meditation metamphorsing into increasing bliss.

3. A deepening of one's understanding and finding answers to one's questions through the calm intuitive state of inner perception.

4. An increasing mental and physical efficiency in one's daily life.

5. Love for meditation and the desire to hold on to the peace and joy of the meditative state in preference to attraction to anything in the world.

6. An expanding consciousness of loving all with unconditional love that one feels towards one's dearest loved ones.

7. Actual contact with God, and worshipping God as ever new Bliss felt in meditation and in His omnipresent manifestation within and beyond all creation.

I have also read Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (known and revered as AMMA) saying that when you progress in sadhana, particularly in meditation, you will sense a power of being able to manifest a thought into an immediate reality. What she conveys is that suppose you have been meditating regularly. After a point, when a thought crosses your mind, it will manifest itself almost immediately as reality. That, she indicates, is a test for sincerity. If you are steadfast and sincere, you will be very careful about your thoughts and you will learn to control the flow of thoughts towards God alone. 

Hope you found this post on meditation useful. If you are practicing meditation, have you had any visions, interesting experiences that you would like to share with like minded people here? I would also love to know any meditation tips that  you recommend based on your experience.

Other Popular Posts
Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi 
Gayatri Mantra: Why Chant It 
Food in Hinduism & its spiritual significance
Four Paths to Divinity in Hinduism
How to practice silence and learn from it

Comments

Asha said…
I practice meditation and deep breathing in my yoga class. They have profound impact on me.

For the past two months, i hav'nt practiced and it has had adverse effects on me. Lots of thoughts crisscross my mind and there is no clarity and it even leads to insomnia.

Now, i have discovered raja yoga. a person comes to our place to teach, Today is the 3rd day, let me see how it goes and will share it with you.
Ajith said…
nice share esp reading the 10 points
check list from Yogananda.thanks for your effort in sharing this.
@Asha: Now that you are practicing Raja Yoga do share your thoughts with me as you progress and also share what the initial hurdles have been like and how you were able to overcome it. Would love to know more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

@Ajith: Good to hear that you found it useful. Thanks for dropping by.

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

This post on Kerala's caste system has not been written with an intention to ridicule or glorify any caste as such. I do not ever judge or like to be judged on the basis of my caste. I do not support any form of caste discrimination because I know exactly how it feels to be treated differently because of one's caste. It isn't a great feeling.  

First Question is always "What is your Caste?" In Kerala, one of the first things you are bound to be asked by even new people you've just met is, "What is your caste?"  This is not a tirade against any caste but my experience, personally. And just for information, I have never used my caste name 'Menon' to this day. That is something I have learned from my father - who has never used 'Menon' in his name because he believes his destiny is shaped by values, vision and actions, not  by his caste.
As some one who is a Menon by birth, I can also tell you frankly that it often feels like a curse to be…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. 
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and he took to …

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Earth Angels have amazing super powers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions &  becoming invisible at will
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in this world. But y…

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

World Book Day: An Introvert's Perspective on Books as a Refuge

Books and bookshops have always been a part of my life. 
As a child stranded between cultures far too often, it suited me to find refuge in the world of books. I didn't know then that I was an introvert, but it was clear that my escape into the world of books was one of both necessity and protection. 
Books protected me. Back then, children of my age who considered themselves to be ''cool" would never sit next to me if I was reading a book - which is exactly the protection I wanted for myself. I wanted to be left alone.
As a habit since childhood, I carry books with me everywhere. It particularly helps when I travel - I can forget about my tensions and also get rid of strangers who try to open a conversation with me when all I want to do is escape into a book.

Books have been my best companion ever since the early years when I learned to distrust people's intentions - what they said had little to do with what they eventually did - and this continues to baffle me. But …

Say a little prayer for me in the language of love

Recently, I saw the blurb of a book which asked, "How many of you (Hindus) have seen the inside of a Muslim home and how many of you (Muslims) have seen the inside of a Hindu home?" The question provoked a spark of anger in me because I do not view relationships through the prism of caste, community or religion.

However, I understand what the distinguished writer was trying to say - we are so insulated in our ways that even when we talk about tolerance, we still don't dare step beyond the boundaries of our community, caste or religion. 

When I say this in North India, I am told, "You have only read about Partition. You haven't lost a family member or seen a tragedy unfold before your eyes - it's easy for you to talk like this." Maybe...

However, one of the many advantages of having grown up outside India and then during my teens, in Kerala, is that I never learned the social distinction between "Hindus"and "Muslims." There was never &qu…

Mahashivaratri: I'm loving it!

When I was a child, Mahashivaratri bhajans used to be conducted at home. It meant 24X7 work for my parents, especially my mother. But this is the one festival that we loved to get ready for. 
You had to prepare in advance for hosting so many people overnight. They had to be comfortable yet alert because no one who stays can be allowed to fall asleep unless they are unwell or on medication. So, if there were aunties who wanted to take a ten-minute nap, I would time it and call them exactly in ten minutes!
The joy of watching grown-ups make a fool of themselves over getting few more minutes of sleep cannot be underestimated especially when you are ten or twelve years old!
Perhaps it is those beautiful growing up years that make it difficult for me to stay away from an all-night vigil during Mahashivaratri. I can't stay away from it no matter where I am, even if the following day is a working day. This year too, I attended the Mahashivaratri bhajans at the Sai Center, Lodhi Road, and I …