If you have been regularly practicing meditation for a while, then try these advanced meditation techniques to deepen your experience further.
Regular meditators often report their time spent doing meditation as pleasant and joyful, so much so, that they don't "need" to take time out for meditation anymore. Meditation has become a natural part of their daily lives.
Many of them also conclude that meditation is the breath of the soul. Just as breathing is the life of the body, meditation is the life of the soul.
And almost all describe their experience as closer to the Sanskrit word 'Dhyana' than to what we understand by the English word meditation. While the latter has a long association with contemplation that involves an object of meditation, the former refers to pure subjectivity with no object at all.
In Dhyana, you are not aware of anything, not even of nothingness, because then nothingness becomes your object.
You are simply aware.
Body, speech and mind are the three gateways through which we interact with the world. These act as conduits for expressing the confusion and suffering of our everyday lives.
But, they are not just conduits of negativity, they also offer the potential to bring us inner peace, joy and liberation from suffering and hold the keys to a great transformation.
The advanced meditation techniques will tell you how to use these three gateways to experience the stillness, the silence and the spaciousness that reside within us at all times.
The moment you have a glimpse of any one of the three and you realize you are bigger than what you are thinking or feeling at the time, you start healing yourself.
In such a moment, the false sense of 'I' loses its grip and you discover a deeper support than the reactivity of your ego. The 'I' dissipates and you find an inner refuge, which becomes your protection.
You will know the truth of such a healing moment only by first experiencing these three states.
Truth, in spiritual matters, is not a conclusion arrived at by logical argumentation, through syllogism, but is the experience of a silent, still consciousness.
So become more silent and still.
Of the seven advanced meditation techniques, Samatha meditation is a great place to start. Samatha develops the ability to concentrate and focus your mind. It builds upon the skills acquired through beginner meditations like breathing meditation, primordial sound meditation, mantra meditation and body scanning meditation.
Inner smile meditation is done to offer a warm, benevolent smile to oneself. While keeping a pleasant countenance with a smiling face to bring happiness to others is good, this is about bringing happiness to yourself.
White skeleton meditation, rather grim sounding, is an effective tool for controlling and diminishing lust and deluded behavior. It is also an effective preparatory tool for insight meditation.
Laughter meditation allows one to quickly enter the state of no-mind. It makes use of the fact that the mind is empty of thoughts when one is possessed with laughter.
Finally, Cleansing meditation cleans you up of the past sanskaras (psychic and emotional gunk) that you may have been carrying around for years. The act of cleansing prepares the path for spiritual grace to flow in.
After practicing these advanced meditation techniques for a few months, check your progress against these stages of meditation. Remember to use them only as rough guideposts and avoid getting discouraged and disheartened if your progress doesn't measure up.
In meditation, there is a big difference between perceived progress and actual progress, usually in your favor. So stick to your daily practice and you will reach the final destination quicker than you think possible.
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