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Re: advice on "dhyAna" for a novice?
Date: Mon Aug 24 1998 - 07:58:12 PDT

                          Srimathe Narayanaya Namaha

     Dear Sri Mani,

     On 8/21/98 8:05 PM you wrote,

     In such a short time, how can I successfully calm my mind and
     concentrate on the paramAtmA? All too often, my mind wanders and thinks
     about something completely unrelated to nArAyaNa.
     It is easier to focus on the last funny episode of Seinfeld or the next
     meal than to think about God! This is my practical experience.

     I don't know whether I am answering your question or not. But I would
     like to bring to notice what I learnt about Yoga.

     In Yoga, meditation is one of the important step. As per what I read
     in a book about Yoga, published by the Ramakrishna Mutt, it says that
     (This is not an exact representation of the words in the book )

     "..the mind will wander from one thing to another thing when one
     starts the meditation. At this point the person who is doing the
     meditation may feel ashamed that he is not capable of concentrating on
     a particular thing or object. But note, one need not feel like that.
     The first step in meditation is to allow your mind to wander freely
     about whatever it thinks or focuses about. It may even be a rubbish.
     But how long will this continue. Never, forever. There will be a point
     at which you WILL get rid of all these wanderings. One cannot explain
     this occurance but it is sure to happen. This is just like cleaning
     our house. Everyday we get a lot of dust and other unwanted things in
     our house. But are we not patiently cleaning our house everyday? Once
     when we get rid of all the dirts, doesn't our house become very
     pleasant to see and live. Likewise, allow the mind to wander as a part
     of cleaning process of the unwanted thoughts in your mind. But one
     needs to be patient and keep on trying it till reaches the point where
     he can concentrate on just what he wants to. After that there is
     nothing that can stop you from concentrating on whatever you want".

     As said above, I am not sure whether this is a convincing answer for
     your question. But I thought I will just share what I read. Also, the
     mistakes if any in the citation above, is entirely due to my penning
     and not to what is published by the Ramakrishna Mutt

     adiyEn RAmAnuja dAsan

     Thirumalai Vinjamoor Venkatesh