Step II (self observation)

  Raja Yoga can be used for the treatment of many specific diseases holistically. Regarding yoga practice many people have several misconceptions. One fundamental misconception is the notion that during yoga practice we should make our mind blank. It is a wrong notion because initially it is not possible to make our mind blank and secondly it's not the objective of yoga practice. As a beginner if you sit for practicing yoga and aim to make your mind blank you will find that at that particular point all unnecessary and unwanted thoughts will disturb you. Even such thoughts which do not distract your mind in normal day-to-day work will disturb you when you specifically intend not to think about them. This is a psychological phenomenon. When you tell a child not to handle something or visit a particular place or read a particular book, the child will become anxious and curious to handle that particular thing, visit the prohibited place and read the book.

You might have heard the story of the guru and his disciple. On completing the various lessons on spiritual study, the guru told his disciple to practice meditation and advised him not to think about a monkey while practice meditation. After sometime when the guru inquired about the experience of meditation practice, the disciple said, "Guruji, although you advised me not to think about monkey, all the while I was thinking about a monkey nothing else." Exactly this is what happens when you aim to prohibit all thoughts during meditation practice. Infact, the fundamental property of mind is to think. During meditation practice, we channel this faculty of mind in the proper direction. Before you sit for meditation your mind is specific road where your final destiny is worldly goals and objectives. During the 15-20 minutes of meditation practice you want to give tum to your mental thoughts on the road where the final objectives and goals are that of spiritual experiences. When you are driving a car if you want to give turn first of all you will reduce the speed of your car by applying a brake or putting it in a lower gear. Similarly, during Raja Yoga practice the very first step is to reduce the speed of your thought processes. It is said that mind is like a naughty child. If you order a mischievious child to stop all mischief most probably the child will not listen. Instead if you start watching the mischievious child continuously no sooner the child realises that someone senior is watching me he will stop his mischief and sit quietly The same technique can be used to reduce the speed of thought processes. In the beginning of meditation for few seconds observe your own thoughts. Just watch your mind like a second person. When you do this self observation invariably you will find that the speed of thinking reduces.

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