April 1, 2015
Dear Siddha Yogis,
As we enter the fourth month of 2015, we, the Siddha Yoga Swamis, invite you to focus your study on prana-shakti, the vital energy that creates and sustains the universe and that impels the movement of the breath. By reflecting on prana-shakti and on the significance of breathing in your practice of meditation, you will continue to expand your understanding and experience of Gurumayi’s Message for 2015:
Prana-shakti pervades everything in the universe. Within human beings, this power takes on the specific form of energy called prana. The ebb and flow of prana moves the breath. The movement of prana is also what keeps the mind active and producing thoughts.
What this means, for a meditator, is that through the medium of prana, the breath and the mind are connected and respond to each other. So one of the most effective means to regulate mental activity—and enter meditation—is by regulating prana through one’s breathing.
Texts on yoga, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, lay out various techniques to harmonize and stabilize the breath. One of these techniques is pranayama, which encompasses many powerful breathing exercises that regulate the flow of prana and thereby calm the mind. Pranayama is especially conducive to meditation; for centuries, yogis in India have spent hours every day engaging in pranayama to support their meditation practice.
On the Siddha Yoga path, the strenuous and challenging exercises of pranayama are not necessary because pranayama occurs naturally, guided by Kundalini Shakti that has been awakened by the Guru. This supremely intelligent power purifies the prana until it gradually becomes more even and tranquil.
And you can support this process of natural pranayama. Gurumayi teaches a potent yet gentle way to work with the prana: by observing the flow of your breathing with focused attention, and responding to it. In her book The Yoga of Discipline, Gurumayi explains how to do this when you meditate:
Each time you notice your breath becoming very uneven, breathe in deep and breathe out long just for a few seconds, and then breathe naturally. You will notice how the breath settles into itself. And the mind, too, settles into this quiet breath.1
When you focus on the breath in this way, the in-breath and out-breath become progressively more balanced, and the flow of prana becomes more even. Your mind becomes tranquil, and you enter meditation naturally.
A steady practice of meditation, in turn, supports you to maintain evenness of prana and the tranquility of your mind. Then—when your mind is purified and tranquil—your perception of the Truth is no longer veiled; you perceive the light of your own inner Self shining effulgently. This is the goal of meditation, the goal of the spiritual path. You come to perceive the light of the Self as equally present in all creation. The texts on Kashmir Shaivism refer to this state as samata-drishti, or “equality-consciousness,” in which the light within is experienced as one with the light everywhere.
Throughout this month, mindfully observe your breathing. Notice how it affects the activity of your mind. And during meditation, especially, practice Gurumayi’s teaching: watch your breath, and when you notice that your breath has become uneven, breathe in deep and breathe out long. This exploration of prana is a most effective way to implement
Gurumayi’s Message for 2015.
The Siddha Yoga Swamis