By Swami Samvidaananda
Recently, I saw a pharmacy ad showing a meditating yogi paired with the word “health.” How widespread is meditation that a major pharmacy would use such an image? Meditation is so widespread how that everyone seeing that image would go, “Oh yeah, meditation means health.”
It does. Meditation makes you healthier and happier. It helps you sleep, reduces your stress, and helps you focus. Your meditation practice gives you greater calm, peace of mind, and resiliency. And so much more.
I practice and teach a yogic meditation named Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation. Svaroopa means your own inner essence, which is your Divine Self. Vidya means experiential knowing. While “svaroopa vidya” names the technique, it’s also a promise: meditate and you will experience your own Self. When you do, you discover that you are full, whole, and complete on the inside. You will realize that you are made of the Divinity of which everything is made. That Divinity is you.
So how come you don’t know your Divinity all the time? The short answer is you’ve got stuff. Mental, emotional, and physical stuff gums up the works. It keeps you from knowing the wholeness and holiness that you already are. Worries, insecurities, and self-limiting thoughts cut you down to size. They make you feel small, limited and alone. Everyone has this kind of stuff; it’s built into every human being. The good news is this: the capacity to be free of these limitations is also built in.
Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation specializes in breaking through your built-in limitations. Then you know the Divine whole you. This breakthrough is accomplished by an inner awakening of your inner energy of upliftment. Once you’ve received this awakening, your own meditative energy arises through your spine every time you meditate. As it does, it melts the inner blockages. It dissolves the density and incinerates the limitations that keep you from knowing your Self.
What does that mean for your meditation? It means that you might not look like the pharmacy’s image of the meditating yogi. Instead of sitting peacefully and perfectly upright, you might rock or sweat. You could see inner lights or visions or have profound insights. Waves of joy, sadness, anger, grief, laughter or love may arise and subside. You might experience samadhi, an immersion into the depths of your Self that feels like sleep. You may have meditations in which you experience physical discomfort, or waves of bliss or deep stillness.
This is the short list. The list of possible meditation experiences is very, very long. Why? Because you get what you need, you get your next step. It will be unique to you. The reason is that you have unique talents, strengths and quirks. Your impediments and patterns of holding yourself small are also uniquely yours. So you’ll have exactly the experiences needed to unravel that stuff. My Guru, Swami Nirmalananda, puts it this way: “Meditation is what happens when you sit to meditate.” It all counts. Every experience is valid and valuable. It’s all legit.
Yet the experiences are not the goal. They are merely steps on the path. They are signs that your inner obstacles are being cleared away. With this clearing, you can know and be the Divine whole of your Self all the time. That’s the goal. It’s called Self-Realization because you realize that you are the Self. You don’t become or attain something that you are not. You realize who you are and always have been. You just didn’t know it all the time. The promise of this tradition is that you will and that we can help you get there.