Meditation is a crucial aspect of the Path to Enlightenment. It is the practice of maintaining the focus upon a single object, such as the breath, uninterrupted. A person is in a sort of meditative or trance state when they are listening to music and are absorbed into it and flowing with, or with the total of attention on an electronic device, something is said to them and there is no response. That is like meditation, but is not meditation. For that, the focus is upon a single virtuous object like the breath.
To reach a state of peace, stop, and to demonstrate, take a break from reading and focus upon the breath. The verses say, “You stop to be powerful, and to love to pause and grasp for the breath is identical.” It is easy to stop, and a good thing for the body and the mind. It is relaxing and pleasant taking a break from tasks every so often. Take a quick breath to fulfillment, and the verses say, “Fulfillment of breath for fulfillment of life.” When I was young and angry, mother told me to inhale and exhale the breath rapidly and forcefully three times before a complete inhalation for holding. The wisdom is ancient and in line with the Sacred Text.
A person can meditate for short or long periods of time and in many different positions. A person can stand, sit on a chair, sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor, or kneel in the Thunderbolt Posture. Since a mortal rises from the mortal condition by chanting the AH Syllable it is beneficial to rise up and stand for pulsing, and every so often, completely exhale the breath for inhaling for holding in the belly. Hold to the breath in fulfillment. Spend a little time with the breath in silence, in meditation, focusing upon a single virtuous object. If the mind wanders from the object, you have the power to bring it back. The object, however, is to stop, to be still and not move.
While sitting in a chair for meditation it is important to keep the torso upright. The lower legs should be perpendicular to the ground, the feet slightly touching and flat upon the ground. The hands can be placed upon the knees or on the lap. In the Kneeling or Thunderbolt Posture the knees are together in the front and one is sitting upon the feet, the toes are touching and the heels are a little to the sides creating a comfortable cushion to sit upon. This is an important posture for sitting in meditation and is mentioned in the verses more often than sitting with crossed legs.
Holding the breath within for meditation is now-a-days called the Vase Breathing Technique, but exactly how it is done within the context of the Veda is not known at this time. The school has translated many verses that say to hold to the breath, but like prostrations, the correct method for achieving success is not clear. However, the verses say success has been achieved when the sound of Heavenly AH arises from the womb, a nectar to delight in, a light, and the mantras. Therefore, in this way, we have something to work out and experiment with and if enough people become committed, success can be achieved in a relatively short time.
Over the years I have been taught the Vase Breathing Technique a number of times, and for it a person binds the bottom and the top to prevent air from escaping. To do that, you pull upward from the bottom and take a big breath of air, and to prevent the breath from escaping upward, let the head hang down and lock the chin to the upper chest. The Anal and Chin Lock will help prevent air from escaping and while holding the breath and not moving, the focus is inward not outward and stillness is extremely important.
To bind means to restrain, to make fast or tight, and the Webster’s New World Dictionary says, “To unite or hold, as if by a feeling of loyalty.” Lo and behold, the breath you are holding is the Supreme Spirit Pervading the Universe and the very thing keeping you alive, so a little loyalty is in order.
Many breath meditations are described in the verses from focusing upon the soft sound of respiration, to sounding AH loudly with quick exhalations and inhalations, to holding to the breath for considerable lengths of time. When altering the natural rhythm of the breath a person needs to remember that physical, psychological, and psychic changes will occur and that is the purpose. Breathing strongly can bring about a state of hyperventilation and that is not what is wanted. In addition, moisture from the body is lost by exhaling the breath through the mouth, so drinking a little extra water is beneficial. The verses say that the breath is nourishing and refreshing, so extra breath is beneficial, and filling to fulfillment. You probably knew that already, but the verses go on the say that you should notice a great expansion about the navel area and after the belly is puffed up with breath the breath will push upwards to the chest. With practice, the verses say happiness will arise.“You stop to be powerful and to love to pause and grasp for breath is identical for the cause to liberate with stillness with a measure of heaven AH, for a person and a certainty for those with the steadfast decree of a Buddha for to serve to be the comfort on the earth to bind to.”