Stages in meditation
by yoga professor Gregorian Bivolaru
There are several attitudes and predominant states that can appear while doing the yogic meditations, attitudes and states which are specific to the aspirant’s level of spiritual evolution and to his/her progress in the meditation practice. These attitudes and states can be more elevated or less elevated. It is important for each yogi to realize which is the stage he/she is in and to overcome its inferior specific aspects. For the Spiritual Guide it is very easy to recognize the stage that each aspirant is in by the exterior signs that occur during the execution of the meditation.
Each form of meditation which will be presented below is also a step towards wisdom for the sincere spiritual aspirant who wishes to transform him/herself and to progress in meditation practice, so we should not be discouraged if we find that our meditations fall into a lower form. These forms of meditation are not presented in this article in a chronological order. Sometimes, there may be even more forms during a single meditation. Some other times the aspirant remains even for years at a certain stage, characterized by a certain form of meditation. The yogi who practices meditation with a lot of perseverance, having a state of openness and frantic aspiration, must be totally self confident that he can have access to a significantly superior state of consciousness in the end.
The Meditation in Suffering
The suffering can occur especially when the aspirant begins to practice the meditation for the first time. His mind is confused, the position of his body seems to be uncomfortable. Then the aspirant is tensed, anxious, irritated, waiting with an increased impatience the end of the meditation. Also the body rejects the meditation due to the pain felt in the knees, in the spine, in the shoulders. The Spiritual Guide immediately recognizes the mood of the aspirant by the embarrassment movements, by the contracted, tense and tough face.
The Meditation in Attachment
There are some spirits who, even after death, still have the overwhelming feeling of hunger, without being able to eat. They are almost always conditioned by desire and greed. During the meditation, the aspirant who is in this stage will feel extremely keen to acquire profound peace, health, paranormal powers, the complete stopping of thoughts, the enlighten. He almost cannot stop the exacerbated thirst to achieve something. The Spiritual Gide can easily observe, by looking at the aspirant, that the greed and desire are prevailing. The body of the aspirant is then leaned forward, in a keen attitude to observe something.
The Animalistic Meditation
At this stage, the aspirant is possessed by inferior desires – the desire to eat various forms of food, sexual desire, or worse, is comprised of torpor, sleep, inertia. The Spiritual Guide quickly observes the signs showing that the aspirant is in this stage, because his mouth stays open and sometimes he is salivating and his breathing becomes noisy, disturbing the others.
The Egotic Meditation
The aspirant who is in this stage is excessively combative, always being in combat and often he is ready to fight, sometimes being aggressive. Most times, he is full of desire to show his superiority. During meditation, he behaves as if he wants to win the “race”. He seeks full of grimness to do better than others, so that he ensures his supremacy. The Spiritual Guide instantly recognizes that state by the aggressive, combative attitude of the aspirant and especially by his facial muscles contractions.
The Human Meditation
The chosen meditation position seems good, naturally, but still it is not bright yet, like the one in the superior stages. This is the normal human situation. The mind in this state is especially concerned about ordinary circumstances of life, which most of the times cannot be forgotten.
The Meditation in Happiness
There are some human beings who have such a pleasant existence that can slip into narcissism. This is also the case of the aspirants who feel very happy in meditation. By being very pleased with themselves, they indulge into remaining at this level, without doing almost any effort to overcome this stage and to gradually deepening their inner growth. Some of these aspirants consider this state as a high spiritual enlightenment state, but in fact this is a great error.
The Predominantly Intellectual Meditation
In this state, most often, the aspirant imagines with a great power that he reached the enlightenment, but actually this is only an exacerbated state of dogmatic safety. He then thinks ’’I understand what is the beatific void, I understand what the mind really is, I penetrate the supreme spirit and I understand what this is, I am enlightened’’. But in reality this is only a predominant intellectual understanding, a discursive knowledge of philosophy or of dogma. The aspirant has then the impression that he is a spiritual accomplished being, but this conviction is also a great error.
The Unintegrated Meditation
This meditation form comes especially when the meditation is practiced in a chaotic way, over a long period of time, without the wise guidance of a Spiritual Guide, without an adequate knowledge, in solitude, mostly dogmatically and rigidly. He, who meditates in this way, will very often think: “I am a great accomplished being.” With this excess of self confidence, his mind becomes rough and it loses the common sense and the compassion for other beings. By doing this, the aspirant can hardly make any progress and he cannot follow the path. The indulgence of such state is in reality a stagnation in terms of spiritual growth.
The Meditation of Communion with the Great Cosmic Power TARA
The meditation position in this case is similar to the one of the normal, human case, but in this forms of meditation the mind is the same as that of a sage who understood through direct experience what is the beatific void is. In this state, the yogi is like a BODHISATTVA who assumes a spiritual mission and who do not aspire to attain enlightenment only for himself, but for helping all the beings who aspire to reach spiritual accomplishment. He has the profound, empathetic understanding of all beings. A BODHISATTVA is available to all those who are truly ready for the spiritual transformation. The experience of this exemplary model state may occur by the grace of the Great Cosmic Power TARA.
The Meditation in the State of Beatific Void
This is the highest form of meditation, which is regarded as the final stage in most of the yoga treaties. Then the human being attains the complete spiritual enlightenment and the supreme wisdom. On the background of this state of beatific void the yogi can experience in his own being the revelation of the Ultimate Divine Truth, as well as states of revealing of the Supreme divine, immortal Self, (Atman).
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