“Yoga is the cessation of movements in consciousness”
Yoga Sutras 1.2
“Be still, and know that I AM God”
At the heart of our spiritual practices we are cultivating Inner Silence—pure bliss consciousness—in our daily lives. The essential nature of our consciousness is blissful silence. It is what is behind the mind, what is experienced when the mind becomes still. It is an infinite storehouse of peace, bliss, creativity, health, and optimism. People who have cultivated this Inner Silence, not only experience these qualities themselves, they radiate them out and into their surroundings.
How do we bring our minds to silence? Meditation is the process of systematically allowing the mind to be still for specific periods of time each day. In doing this daily ,over weeks, months and years, blissful inner silence gradually permeates all of our daily activities, even when not on our meditation cushions.
In AYP, the primary tool for cultivating inner silence is a simple yet powerful form of Deep Meditation. We use a specific thought—a mantra—to draw our mind to stillness. The mantra that we use in AYP Deep Meditation is:
We use this mantra, not for the meaning of the words, but because of the specific vibratory quality of the sound, which produces purification in our nervous system. The process of enlightenment is a process of purification and opening to the divine within ourselves. The mantra I AM has a vibratory quality that produces profound purification—a “global purification”—within our system that will provide a stable, unshakeable foundation upon which we will layer additional, more targeted purification techniques.
In the AYP system, no more than 20 minutes of Deep Meditation, 2x per day is recommended, once in the morning before your morning meal and again in the afternoon or evening before your evening meal. For tips on how to integrate meditation into a busy schedule, see the AYP Lesson “Finding the Time”.
Here is the technique of Deep Meditation:
1) How to Sit: The first priority is comfort. We want to minimize distractions to facilitate the process of bringing our minds to rest. Sitting in a comfortable chair with back support is a great way to start. As you become more established with your meditation practice, you can sit with your legs crossed (so long as this remains comfortable).
2) Meditation Procedure: As you sit comfortably, close your eyes and relax. Take a moment and notice the stream of thoughts in your mind. After a minute, gently introduce the mantra…I AM…silently in your mind. Think the mantra in a repetition very easily inside, at whatever pace feels comfortable to you. Whenever you realize that your mind has wandered off the mantra and into a stream of thoughts, return to “I AM”, gently favoring the mantra over the thought stream. Like that.
Encountering thoughts during meditation is a normal part of the process. When you find yourself in thoughts, do not try to “force” the thoughts out. Just gently favor the mantra over the thoughts. Deep meditation is a process of going toward the mantra rather than away from the thoughts. Gentle persuasion.
3) Rest Period: When we are performing the Deep Meditation procedure, purification is going on deep inside our nervous system. A lifetime (or two) of inner obstructions are being released as we deepen into inner silence. Resting at the end of meditation allows the obstructions that are in the process of being released to dissolve before we get up and resume our daily activities. A couple of minutes of rest with no mantra may be adequate, or 5-10 minutes of rest may be in order if many releases are occurring.
The benefits of Deep Meditation are profound. As we purify and open our nervous systems we are unfolding inner peace, creativity and energy in our daily lives. If we begin to experience irritability or discomfort outside of our meditation period, it can be a sign that we are not taking enough rest at the end of our meditation session. If we take 5-10 minutes after meditation and are still having symptoms of irritability or discomfort this can be a sign that we are meditating too long—ie, experiencing too much purification at once. This is a signal to “self-pace”, reducing our meditation time in 5 minute increments until we reach a comfortable balance. Self-pacing is very important to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness as we pursue our spiritual unfoldment.