First create the environment that is conducive to meditation (4 levels).
There is one external level or bahiranga asana and three internal levels or antaranga asana – internal, antaranga tara – more internal, antaranga tama – innermost internal. Asana here is not speaking of what the Western world thinks yoga is, it means seat and refers to a meditative posture.
Find a clean and sacred, pure place conducive to sit that will not be sitting too high nor too low
Use a kusha grass mat with a dear skin on top with a cloth on top. The kusha is Prithvi tatva connected to adhara chakra. All of this is about creation. The earth has the energy to heal but you do not want to lose your own energy into the earth. All pujas and yagnas are done sitting upon an asana for this reason. The deerskin is Jala tatva and connected to svadishtana chakra. All of this is about the sustenance. The pure cloth is Agni tatva connected to manipuraka chakra. Now, this is pretty far out there for most and not easy to procure for most people but it has very deep implications and also advanced reasons behind it. These are the elements earth, water, fire, the first three chakras as well as the shakti of each.
Four asana are known to be proper for meditation. Siddhasana, Swatikasana, Padmasana, Bhadrasana, etc….. Sit steady, motionless, calm, comfortable, symmetrical, with the 3 parts of the body aligned, balanced, and in a way that the asana inducing a state of a habituated state of engrossment in emptiness or godliness and the bodily awareness is overcome. Pain in sitting is only a restlessness. Duration matters, it should be long, as the asana needs to set in. If there is any little set time or timer, it will be a complete destruction of meditation as it is a subtle vasana that will continue to obstruct and stop one from being able to become absorbed. There must be no time.
There are as many asana as there are living beings capable of asana, 8.4 million which is then distilled into the known 84 main asana. Each has its own vinyassa krama. Each is connected to its own jiva’s disease/bondage that the krama frees one from.
This is to set up the foundation to sit, to be able to reach the following for purification.
Proper energy movement – Pranayam
Movement and regulation of prana by way of controlling inhaling, pause, exhalation, and pause because when you regulate in proper time, space, and count it is pranayama.
Until these two have been completed, you will not attain concentration leading to attention and meditation then absorption.
Attention – Pratyahara
With ease and not paying attention or intake anything that is coming from any external 10 directions or of the mind (it’s imagery, conceptions, feelings, and thesis), focus upon the beginning of the nose at the point where the brows come to meet the root of the nose (the midpoint of the two eyebrows). You cannot be engrossed in the atma by darshan on the end tip of the nose. The eyes are not actually supposed to be closed but relaxed half/half closed open with no tension, relaxed, and the gaze inward. One can get an understanding of just how spun out their nervous system is by the flickering of the eyebrows, eyeballs, eyelashes, and eyelids not to mention the general lack of being able to focus the mind on one point.
Mudra and Kriya
Rest the hands in the lap in front of the bladder, five fingers below the navel, interlacing the fingers with the left thumb over the right.
Then find and listening to the internal sound (nada) which is easily found in the occiput and then the center of the head (connected thru kechari from…) but ultimately it is from the heart (anahata – the unstruck sound) but the heart must be pure for this as the purity of the heart is only determined by the purity of the mind (this says a lot).
Sitting in this manner, then…. the mind must be free from thought, deliberation, affirmation, and imagination for the absorption in one-pointedness, one thought construct or one object of contemplation that is needed.
It is about the size of the thumb tip inside the heart which is the size of the fist in the centre of the chest. Here the contemplation is upon the soul.
The sense organs are controlled by the subtle organs of sense perception in the order of most cognitive to most retentive (pratyahara). This way they follow the attention/perception of the mind (in attention there is a distraction) and withdrawing from the sensory objects. If you pay attention to external then pratyahara cannot happen.
There is a natural absorption that happens into the subtle Om that is ‘not created’ but witnessed within the inner heart. The whole body is actually transmitting the Om. It creates an awareness of an experience that continues even when one is not merging into it.
In the subtle heart, there is a light that is infinitely bright. Great meditation can be done on this.
Without this/these (the proper sequence), we have the most likely possibility of distraction, disruption, and a high possibility of the introduction of delusion.
The mind when one-pointed will absorb into the object of meditation, the subtle awareness of ‘I’ will become absent and objective knowledge will be absorbed into. Then when this is fully present the mind becomes the object of meditation the meditator is absent. No time is present. Then the cognition dissolves. This is where it all begins.
When one has attained this arrested state, there are no mental imprints from latency from knowledge or effort. Subtle desire and impressions are stored in the chitta and soul and they fructify in normal life. These are arrested and there are no more fluctuations or the cognition of them. The mind is saturated with impressions of nothingness. The subtlest of feelings are arrested. No object of knowledge.
The purification of the subtle heart and mind (mind, ego, and intellect) is thus and is able to behold the subtlest essence of beingness and consciousness. The impurities of the heart are of two kinds; distraction, disruption, delusion, and the impurity from opacity which covers and veils the truth filled content of the light in the heart. The consciousness is held and the knower becomes the seer.
The result of this is that the knowledge gained is never lost, the affliction is removed. The experience is never lost. There is no popping in and out of a spiritual experience from mundane to higher levels of consciousness.
If all day you are engaged in the worldly mundane life and then you sit for meditation, the mind continues with the previous thought process as it is very subtle. The more you try to calm the more disturbance comes. The knowledge that happens through that kind of meditation will not bring what removes the affliction. It will not bring you wisdom. If one is engaged in the worldly life, real meditation will not happen. The sense organs will direct the mind away to the objects of senses. To the object of attraction, there must be withdrawal. There can be a peace but the wrong knowledge that is gained with that will not lead anywhere and will not stay. There must be an object of knowledge which gives the freedom from affliction. The primary identification of the individual will remain and prevail. Another way to say it, that experience will be much like the rest of the individual’s experiences in the mundane. Just another experience. The observer remains the observer in all states in the real thing. The heart only purifies in the final highest state. The mind must be prepared for meditation with the above. One cannot be worldly. It will not work. This is also why there are all sorts of types of supposed meditations being sold to the mundane world. They do not give the result and they never can. The sole priority of a meditator is mediation.
All of these rules and regulations in the discipline are not needed for one that is already beyond it all and able to absorb naturally and spontaneously to get into the repetition of the one-pointedness of the mind. All of these disciplines come naturally to one who is a meditator.
Bhagavad Gita, chapter 6, verse 10 – 15
Brahma Sutra, chapter 4.1, verse 6 – 11
Gorakshanath Samhita, chapter 1, verse 6 – 11
Yoga Sutrani, book 1 verse 2
Uddhava Gita, chapter 9, verse 11 – 13 or Srimad Bhagavatam 11.9.11 – 13