In meditation, the way to relaxation is through concentration
Many people try out meditation for de-stressing and relaxing themselves. However, when they start meditating, they often find concentrating during meditation demanding, even draining. And they wonder, “If meditation is exhausting, not relaxing, why should I practice it?”
Because in meditation, concentration is the way to relaxation. By concentrating, we connect with a higher spiritual reality that permeates us with peace, power and purpose. Significantly, the Bhagavad-gita cautions that the journey to such spiritual permeation of consciousness is effortful, not effortless. Acknowledging the mind’s tendency to wander, the Gita (06.26) urges us to discerningly and determinedly refocus the mind. The next verse (06.27) indicates such practice’s fruit: the agitating forces within the mind become pacified and a blissful current of spiritual awareness permeates us.
Our spiritual awareness rises through various levels, culminating in awareness of the supreme spiritual reality, the all-attractive Supreme Person, Krishna, as indicated in the Gita’s progression in spiritual realization (06.28-30) and its reiteration elsewhere (07.07, 10.08, 10.12, 14.27, 15.19).
During devotional meditation, when we focus our consciousness on Krishna, he manifests within our heart, illumining our inner landscape. Thus, we realize our spiritual identity as parts of the Whole, and we realize further that we will stay safe and satisfied if we just live in loving harmony with the Whole. This realization brings a profound relaxation that goes far beyond the mere relaxing of tense muscles or tangled thoughts, which is what most non-devotional forms of meditation comprise. Such meditations may temporarily disconnect us from the sources of stress, but they don’t connect us with the supreme source of strength, as does devotional meditation.
By making us aware of our eternal relationship with the Supreme, devotional meditation brings lasting serenity and ecstasy. Thus, we go through intense concentration to sublime relaxation by our absorption in Krishna.
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