|| BHAVANA MEDITATION TRAINING, BASIC
by Steve Spano
The great meditation teacher Patanjali recommended that in order to alleviate mental or physical distress we should practice bhavana meditation. Bhavana is a Sanskrit word meaning to dwell upon in order to become. What Patanjali is referring to is the fact that from birth until death we continuously move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts, the thoughts we dwell upon most.
To understand the power of this meditation and how you can apply it, understand that human beings think in two fundamentally different ways. One way is through the naming or analytical function of the mind, symbolized by the light fish shape that rises upwards in the yinyang image at left. The other is through the embracing or acting function of the mind, symbolized by the dark fish that descends.
The naming mind is the analytical mind. It weighs and chooses, accepts and rejects. It is shown rising up into the light because our thoughts are always in our view as hundreds of words go through our minds every minute. The embracing mind is the acting mind, meaning that it controls the bodily actions and functions, as well as habitual thought patterns. It is shown descending into the darkness because it works behind the scenes, below the level of daily awareness. Few people are even aware of it. The embracing mind is so named because it embraces any image, idea or concept that is presented to it. Once it embraces that concept, it then realizes, or makes real, that concept through the physical body since it is the controller of the physical body. It functions like a dark, fertile, inert soil that accepts any seed, whether a nourishing seed or a poisonous one. The embracing mind shapes our physical life, while the naming mind comments on it
Note the small light and dark circles in the fish. The dark circle in the light fish indicates that the embracing mind manifests its work in waking life as thought patterns, emotional states and physical action. The light circle in the dark fish indicates that the naming mind has the power to plant the seeds of its choice in the fertile embracing mind.
These two modes of thought, given to every person at birth, are the means to health, integration, self confidence and power. Sadly, most people are unaware of their relationship. What happens to these people is that their embracing minds are presented seeds without their conscious acknowledgment. Nonetheless, these unacknowledged seeds are worked out into physical life. This leads to much distress as these people do not understand why they cannot seem to be the people they say they want to be. Meditation, for the purposes of the training discussed here, is simply a means to get the naming analytical mind and the embracing acting mind to harmonize and work on exactly the same thing.
This meditation is non-denominational and is not religious. It is based on the natural wake and sleep cycles of the human body. You do not need to sit cross legged for hours to implement its power. As long as you can go to sleep, you can enjoy its benefits.
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