Love, Serve, Remember

Articles by Swami Veda Bharati

14 Breath and Meditation Practices

[This is a transcript from a talk given May 28th, 2000, at The Meditation Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, originally titled "Fourteen Ways of Practicing Breath Awareness and Meditation" – Ed.]

Your posture, firm and stable. Your spine erect. All the limbs balanced. Mind quiet. Surrender your meditation seat to the Light that is Gurudeva so that the Guru force may meditate within you.

Gently observe your entire being. Relax all your limbs in the usual sequence. Observe your entire being.

1. Feel as though your breath is flowing through your whole body – ascending and descending.
2. Observe the gentle rise and fall of your stomach and the navel area. Observe how that area gently relaxes as you inhale or gently contracts as you exhale. Breathing gently, slowly, smoothly without a jerk, without a break, without a break between your breaths. Observe the flow and the gentle rise and fall of the stomach and the navel region.
3. Feel the breath channel from your navel to your nostrils, nostrils to your navel – no pause between the breaths on the way – very subtle channel.
4. Now during the observation of this channel, feel as though your breath touches in the navel, inside the heart center and in the center between the eyebrows.
5. And on the return path, between the eyebrows, in the heart center and in the navel, without producing a jerk when you feel the touch in these parts. It is not the touch of the physical breaths but of the mind and prana on the centers as the mind and the prana become flowing streams with your breath observation. The navel, the heart center, the eyebrow center. The eyebrow center, the heart center, the navel center.
6. Now, in all these centers, as your prana reaches there, let your mantra flash. A mantra flash at the navel, then the heart, then the eyebrow center and in the return path – in the eyebrow center, in the heart center, in the navel center.
7. The mantra will not only flash at these centers. From each of these centers it goes on to flow to the next center. If it so happens then make it be so.
8. Now include your throat center as the breath is ascending and descending. Practice in the navel center, heart center, throat center, eyebrow center. Eyebrow center, throat center, heart center and the navel center. The mantra flashing on each of these centers.
9. With same ascent and descent, the mantra flowing from one center to the next, feeling the touch of the breath, the prana and the mind in all four centers.
10. Let the mantra now flow naturally, even as you continue to feel the touch at each of the centers.
11. Now feel the touch and the flow of your breath only in your nostrils. Exhale and inhale, gently, slowly, smoothly. No pause between the breaths.
12. Now any thoughts that arise in the mind – exhale those thoughts. Feel as though the thoughts are being dissipated along with the exhaled breath. Without a break, inhale a quietude, stillness, serenity of the mind.
13. Exhale the feeling of all your worries, anxieties, fear, expectation, disappointments, passions, stress, anger, attachment, aversion, malice. Inhale the sense of purity, serenity, gentleness, calmness, compassion, non-discriminating amity, neutrality. Exhale all negativity. Inhale all that is positive and beautiful of the mind. Let your mind be purified and cleansed with each inhalation. Without a break, with your inhalations, let your mind become an Ocean of Compassion, love, amity, light and grace – a mind crystal clear.
14. Now having made your mind an Ocean of Mercy, Love, Amity, Compassion and Purity, as you exhale, exhale Purity, Clarity, Amity, Compassion, Universal Love as though they're being exhaled to the vast world of suffering beings lost in darkness. Now a Bodhisattva of Compassion you are. Exhale Light and Kindness and soothing touch to all the living beings, above into the countless spaces, down into the farthest spaces. Front and back, left and right and all the coordinate points in between.

In your Bodhisattva compassion you are gathering and inhaling the ignorance, the darkness, the sorrow, the pain and suffering, anxiety, anger, malice, envy, aggression, violence, conflict, illness of all living beings, minute to macrocosmic, dissolving it all into an infinite Ocean of Compassion and Love, and exhaling Love, Compassion, Grace and Light. Thus fill the entire universe with Light and Compassion, Amity and Love.

Within you and without you, there is only Light and Grace. Bask in this Light and Grace as a Being of Light. Send a prayer to the Guru Lineage that may you thus become a Being of Light, Compassion and Love. Enlighten where there is darkness or ignorance and alleviate the suffering of all beings. May it be so, by the Grace of the beings of the Guru Lineage, who send your mantra into you.

Remain serene with the mantra. Gently cup your eyes with your palms, maintaining the mantra. Slowly open your eyes to your palms. Maintaining the inner contact, gently bring your hands down.

I join my hands before my heart and bow my head and I go into my Heart Lotus in which is gathered the Chit Shakti, Jnana Shakti, Kriya Shakti, the Divine power of Will, of Knowledge, of Creativity. I bring forth the Lotus from the Heart with my calm exhalation. I exhale it into my joined palms and offer it in worship to the Divinity that is within you.

Do not attempt to practice all of these modes of breath awareness all at once in every meditation. Take one, master it, one at a time. I’ve done this mainly for recording purpose.

God bless you.

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