Positive Thinking and Meditation are among the five fundamental principles of Yoga as taught by Swami Vishnu-devanand, the founder of Sivananda Yoga Vedanta.
Imagine a still lake where you can see to the bottom with absolute clarity. This clarity is lost when the surface is disturbed by waves. Similarly, when the mind is calm, free from thoughts and desires, you can perceive the true "Self." This state is what we call Yoga.
We have the ability to control mental agitation through two approaches: internal and external concentration. Internally, we focus on the "Self" or the awareness of "I am." Externally, we concentrate on anything other than the "Self" or "I am."
Consider a game like golf, where the goal is to put the ball into the hole. During the game, other thoughts subside or vanish. The sense of accomplishment in a good game of golf comes not from putting the ball in the hole eighteen times but from achieving perfect concentration eighteen times. At those moments, all the worries and problems of the world disappear.
The power to concentrate is inherent in everyone; it's not an extraordinary or mysterious skill. Meditation is not something a Yogi needs to teach you; you already possess the ability to quiet your thoughts.
The only difference between this and Meditation (the positive approach) is that we've generally learned to direct our focus externally on objects. When the mind is fully concentrated, time seems to vanish, as if it doesn't exist. In a state of focused concentration, time ceases to exist. Time is merely a construct of the mind—time, space, causation, and all external experiences are mental creations.
All happiness derived from the mind is fleeting and temporary; it's constrained by nature. To attain lasting happiness and absolute peace, we must first learn how to calm the mind, concentrate, and transcend it. By directing the mind's concentration inward, towards the self, we can deepen the experience of perfect concentration. This is the essence of Meditation.
Meditation is an experience that defies description, much like trying to explain colors to a blind person. Ordinary experiences are confined by the constraints of Time, Space, and Causation. Our typical awareness and understanding are limited by these boundaries.
Normal experiences are bound by past, present, and future, making them inherently limited. The concept of time is illusory, lacking permanence. The present is an infinitesimally small and fleeting moment that cannot be grasped. In the present, the past and future do not exist; we exist in a state of illusion.
The meditative state transcends all these limitations. In meditation, there is no past or future, only the awareness of "I am" in the eternal NOW. This state is achievable when all mental fluctuations are stilled.
The closest comparable state is deep sleep, where there is no time, space, or causation. However, Meditation is distinct from deep sleep as it induces profound changes in the psyche.
By controlling and silencing the mind's oscillations, Meditation brings mental tranquility.
On a physical level, Meditation aids in extending the body's anabolic processes, promoting growth and repair while reducing catabolic or decay processes. Normally, anabolism predominates until the age of 18. From 18 to 35, there's a balance between the two, and after 35, catabolism takes over. Meditation can significantly slow down catabolic decline due to the inherent receptivity of body cells.
Meditation fosters a sustained positive state of mind, rejuvenating body cells and retarding decay since it's been scientifically established that positive thoughts yield positive results for cells. Learning to meditate is like learning to sleep—it's a state you naturally fall into. There are specific points to keep in mind regarding the techniques and stages of Meditation.