Yoga is Meditation; Meditation is Yoga.
There are so many forms of meditation and yoga that are being practiced now. What was the original intent of Yoga and what does it have to do with meditation? First of all, “real” yoga prepares us for a spiritual adventure inside of us. Yoga prepares the restless body to relax and let go, in preparation for this journey within.
Through rhythmic, yogic breath, movement, and mantra, the consciousness is pulled from the sense distractions and the ego-generated fears and judgments of our minds. Yoga then readies us to go deeper within and find and bind to the divine within our physical bodies. The holy spirit lives within us, right? In connecting with that spirit, we ultimately experience the connectedness (union) we have to each other, and to all that is around us. The inner and outer manifestation of this experience is unconditional love, joy and forgiveness—to all people and to all conditions (for as long as we are in this yogic state). We don’t just believe in God, but we act like it too. We put God into practice and internalize that source of goodness to help make the world a better place.
The consistent practitioners of real yoga and meditation will change the world. Peace, selfless altruism and spreading God for the betterment of all begins within us and extends out to others.
There are essentially three stages of yoga and meditation as described by the Father of Yoga in America, Paramahansa Yogananda. Keep in mind, yours truly, the author of this blog, just couldn’t resist adding her 2 experiential cents in. And no, your author hasn’t made it to Stage 3, yet, nor does she consistently stay in stages 1 and 2, but she is working on it and has hope.
Stage 1: An initial brain state change from busy to still which results in a feeling of peace and relaxation. As the experience flows into Stage 2, it becomes the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. Stage 1 yogic meditation is where beginning meditators start and what makes them want to go back for more. And many meditators may not desire to go to Stage 2. But to avoid and reduce what we call stress, they will take frequent meditation breaks to re-visit this inner peace state throughout the day.
Stage 2: Expansion of the brain state change. We connect, on a feeling level to God, who lives within us and experience, through that feeling state, our connection to him. We then deepen and expand that feeling beyond ourselves and connect to other living beings. Everybody becomes our brother and our sister. We feel and experience that oneness. We expand God within us to others, and join with God who is within them. When we are at this stage and work to maintain this stage by practice, we don’t love our physical bodies; We love God who lives within our physical body. we see our bodies as a temple for God. It becomes easier to care for that temple at this stage and keep it holy. This is the stage when quantum physics and quantum entanglement start to make sense.
Stage 3: Deeper pure love, and divine union with that which we call God. We came down from God (spirit), and to God we must return. The ultimate desire is to completely reunite with that source of omnipotent love, benevolent power, perfect goodness—and join our souls, as one, with that infinite spirit. It’s when our thoughts are God’s thoughts, our actions are God’s actions, and we truly love and forgive others as God would. We can choose to stay in this state, called Samadhi, for as long as we want. When we reach this state, we are truly one with God, but still walking on this earth.