Meditation is, simply put, a mental state in which the mind is relaxed while maintaining alertness and awareness. Thought should not be intentionally suppressed, but rather observed in a relaxed and detached manner. Through relaxation and controlled breathing, one should eventually arrive at a state in which the “train of thought” has become decoupled, and the normal mode of thinking slows and even comes to a stop. This is the first of a number of successively deeper meditative states.
Success at achieving meditative states is a must for the Nath practitioner. Various tidbits on meditation are strewn like breadcrumbs though the writings of Shri Gurudev Mahendranath. Some of the longer passages follow.
In The Tantra of Blowing the Mind, Shri Gurudev sketches out the basic outlines:
In the Kaula science, meditation has for its simple base:
A comfortable seat, rhythmic breathing, and relaxation.
There is not, nor ever can be, one rule for everybody,
And Kaulas vibrate till they find their own level.
Concentration is not essential, but quiet is a must;
The mind must never go to sleep, even though it is relaxed,
For awareness, awakening, and realization only can come
When you are alert and aware of all the psychic processes.
Some forms of controlled breathing may be found helpful,
Or counting numbers overcome the whirl of daily life.
Do not take tranquilizers or drugs which are depressants:
They may relax you, but they block the power of awakening;
Better to drink tea or coffee or take a very mild stimulant,
But it is still better if you need nothing at all.
And in The Ainigmatikos, Shri Gurudev Mahendranath goes into more depth and detail:
The practice of meditation is, in itself, one of the simplest processes, and it is also essential in the growth and expansion of magick power and harmony. A calm rhythmical breathing is required. This acts like a natural measuring gauge to indicate natural, normal calmness of mind and body. The more excited or stimulated the mind and body become, the faster the breathing. Any normal person can meditate with great profit and develop the magick of clear thinking, and even penetrate the deeper and less obvious aspects of occult science. Meditation, to the Nath Order, includes the rhythmic breathing, concentration of mind, and calmness of the physical and spiritual aspects of the body.
The means of producing the required concentration is by counting the breath as it goes in and out of the nostrils. Thus: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven—do not interrupt the breathing and start again—one, two, three, … This breathing and counting is a continuous process and can go on for a considerable period.
Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position on the floor, a mat, straw, or a thin cushion of the required size. It will take a little time to get used to the seat and sitting long periods. The worst obstacle is a wandering mind. Outside noises should not distract you.
Sometimes the counting goes well but, on occasion, you will suddenly become aware that you have gone to far and are counting twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three. This will happen, but do not let it disturb you. Just switch back to counting from one to seven. This over-counting is due to the fact that the mind has wandered from the prescribed pattern of counting. The mind must remain awake and aware.
Sleep, trance, unconsciousness are not related to true meditation. Meditation gets more difficult to start as you get older, and in old age, it becomes impossible. In India, I meet so many people who express their great determination to get down to serious meditation later in life or when they retire. I remain silent, as any intention to delay does not indicate serious interest on their part.
A small or subdued light can be an asset. A small candle is also sufficient light. In darkness, there may be more of a tendency to fall asleep. I concentrated on the morning and evening periods of twilight, and also suitable periods and opportunities in between. Once you get down to meditation and have had some practice, no time can be considered as unsuitable.
Meditation will not only help in the intensification of insight and intuition, but will produce some wonders which are never experienced by ordinary people. It is the gateway to magick and magick powers. Of course, this development must also be related to the body and favorable change in health, but it should not be practiced only for health or for mundane objectives.
In the Nath Order, the essential key word to all our practices, ideas, and experiments is THINK. It will be quickly seen by Nathas that a calm, analytical, and tension-free mind is essential for clear, valid THINK. Also, in our divine aspects of the cosmos, meditation and THINK play important roles.
Do not let any aspect of meditation become a routine or lead to dullness. It must ever remain as the key to progress and better life, and on to the future beyond. It is not a religion and has no fixed dogmas. It is responsive to experimentation, variation, and testing. When the five Kleshas are controlled or eliminated, it expands to infinity. Meditation will itself help to control the five Kleshas.
It is the cascade or cosmic shower which will, like the Milky Way, descend and deluge your life with magick power and flow to benefit all mankind. This is the analogy of Shiva receiving the cosmic cascade on his head. It is the supreme initiation into higher life and outlook. Meditation is the cauldron in which the divine gem of enlightenment is received. It impregnates the Dragon Seat and transforms it into a zone of power. It will be your secure defense against a hostile world. It is the alkahest or universal solvent, and the transmutation of base lead into purest gold.