Meditation: free the mind
Meditation is an integral part of yoga. Called “Dhyana” in Sanskrit, it is one of the fundamental elements that make up yoga.
More precisely, “Dhyana” refers to a conscious effort of the mind to concentrate on an “object”, pushing aside perceptions and thoughts which are not related to the chosen object, and this until nothing comes in the way of hindering attention in the direction of the object, without effort of will. In practice, the chosen object can be a mental visualization (imagine a luminous sphere, in a tree …), but this is not the most obvious. The easiest way is to choose a real and fairly fixed object that requires little thought, for example a flower in front of you, or just your breathing. Once you have chosen the object (say it is your breath), you must concentrate on it in the smallest details, but without interpreting anything, just feeling. You will receive a constant flow of sensations from your breath, you just have to welcome them. Your mind is not going to stop fluctuating so easily. As soon as the slightest hint of reflection appears, you will only have to identify that it is there, and let it go, like a cloud which is only passing, then return to the simple sensations generated by your breathing. Meditation without an object is more difficult, since there is no fixed object to focus on. In any case, the goal is to train our brain to stop responding to all stimuli, to sort it out, to take a step back.
Stop automatic thinking
Just like breathing, thought is automatic, it is a natural movement of the mind. Let’s deal completely with thinking in the broad sense. Before being constructed, thoughts are initially responses to external stimuli, they are in a way reflexes. And it is from there that we will adapt our skills according to our environment, whether the situation calls for a simple survival instinct or a more elaborate thought, that is to say a reflection. Today we live in a world where stimuli are more and more numerous: screens everywhere, radio, television, noises from crowds and public transport, horns … thoughts, even real reflections, even when it is not necessary. The brain is exhausted in vain. And it is not always enough to take refuge in a quiet place for a few moments to create a vacuum. The brain is a real muscle, if it is trained to spin constantly at full speed, it will need to break these bad habits to let go. We have seen that breathing is an automatism which can be controlled by awareness and training. Yoga, through meditation, also teaches us to be aware of our thoughts and to sort them out, or even to them for a while to allow our mind to relax completely.
Meditation allows you to detach yourself from the incessant solicitations of our modern world, but not only. The brain is constantly working to solve the problems that arise, it is an essential daily function. However, faced with emotionally more intense, even painful situations (conflicts, prolonged stress, chronic pain …), the problems are not resolved so easily. Despite the immediate insolvency of certain problems, the brain, as it usually does, continues its reflection, gets bogged down in rehashes that lead to nothing and have the consequence of maintaining unpleasant feelings (pain, frustration, bitterness, etc.) . If we do not pay attention to it, this negative state invades us and ends up preventing healthy thinking. Yogic meditation allows you to break this vicious circle. It teaches our mind to free itself from these cognitive patterns by stopping the usual “reflexes” of the brain. It is not about denying or suppressing negative emotions. On the contrary, taking the time to identify their presence, to recognize them, allows us to accept that they are let invade us without our knowledge. Thanks to this awareness, the mind can let go of what weighs on it, to continue to function, in complete freedom. This way of letting go brings stability, we take enough distance to be less vulnerable to our emotions and to the many challenges of life.