In meditation, we go through the process of introspection, perception and negation. This means that if a negative thought surfaces, we observe it and let it pass. This is the preliminary process of purification in an aspirant, which involves his physical, mental and emotional bodies. In this way, the purification of thought takes place at conscious, subconscious, and unconscious levels.The subconscious level is a storehouse of unfulfilled desires, unresolved experiences, and hurtful incidents that have sunk deep into the personality and are lying dormant, ready to surface as a defense mechanism in the form of an action-reaction situation. The unconscious is composed of impulses, instincts and moods.

You have probably been exposed to the worship of Kali and that has left an impression of the image in your mind, which has been stored as memory. In a relaxed state of meditation, when there is less of body consciousness, certain centres of the brain open up and stored memories or images emerge to the surface. The visions, whether of gods, deities or places, come from memory, from strong visual imprinting of events that take place in our daily life. These are mystical symbols and will relate to the culture and background you come from.

The more you dwell on thoughts, the deeper they get fixed in your memory. The only way to stop this from happening is to completely reject the past, and to stop thinking of the future. Do not get involved with the thoughts; remain a witness to them. Just as a plant when neglected wilts and dies, so do thoughts when they are not given attention. This can be accomplished by training yourself to be just a witness, so that you remain in the present.

When all deep-rooted, accumulated impressions are cleared through the practice of meditation, the thoughts will stop. Then what will remain are surface impressions that will flit across the mind as clouds across a sky.

Meditation means being and not doing. What is important is that, as far as possible, you should sit at a fixed time and at fixed place. This is advised because the place you sit at will develop a certain vibration, so that whenever you sit at that place, the already charged area will facilitate the process of meditation. The time is also fixed so that if you are under the guidance of your Guru, his energy or vibration starts flowing towards you no matter whether he is physically present or not. Fixed time is stressed because with constant practice you have created a channel which starts to operate at the given time. If you are not present to receive and avail of the energy, it will move on.

You cannot stop the inflow of thoughts. What you can do is to be a witness to them. It is like standing in your balcony and watching the traffic go by. Or, you can bring your attention to the inflow and outflow of your breath. Every time the attention shifts you could come back to your breath. Don't stress yourself trying to focus on it.

The wise tell us that the thoughts that we hold, and the words that we go on repeating, create our life and experience. What we choose to think today will create our tomorrow and so our future. The purpose of meditation is to allow the stored data from the unconscious areas of the mind to surface. This is where we can let go of the old negative data of ill-will, spite, hatred, greed, etc. and experience release. Do not suppress any thoughts that emerge, whether they are of anger, resentment or grief. Allow them to surface and be open to the experience. Be a witness to whatever transpires, because if you suppress any negative emotions, they will release themselves through some means or another like in the form of physical illness, nervous breakdown or aggression in any form.

This experience can occur in relation to a person, place or thing that is highly charged with energy. When a receptive aspirant enters this highly charged magnetic field, he can get into a 'locked in' posture. Temples, caves, churches, or any such place where worship and chanting are regular features, can elicit this kind of a response from an aspirant as a kind of fusion between the two energies takes place. The release will take place when the equilibrium between the aspirant's energy and the magnetic field happens. Just stay relaxed and be a witness of your experience. Don't force yourself to get up.

'Locked in' means when you get rooted to a spot. Your senses stop functioning and every part of your body, mind, and intellect get fixed. It is like the 'statue' game children play.

I remember when I went through this experience. I had gone to the Mahalaxmi temple one early morning to get a photograph I had of Durga Ma blessed. The morning's first puja was performed on the photograph. I brought it home and reverentially placed it in my altar. Next morning, when I lit the lamp, opened the altar door, and sat for meditation, a strong gust of energy hit me like a tornado and I was 'locked' in the posture in which I was sitting. Though I was aware of all that was going around me, I could not move. My senses and limbs were fixed. The only thing that I could do was to stay rooted till such a time when the lock released itself. When you are on a spiritual journey, you are not in control, there are higher forces that take charge and whatever is required for your spiritual growth will be implemented.

In my experience, I have usually visualised the wings at the level of the Ajna chakra and the Anahata chakra. These are vibrations of the chakras, which take on the shape of wings.

C.W. Leadbeater in his book The Chakras tells us that, "the wings typify the power of conscious flight through higher planes." The wing-like vibrations of the heart chakra would mean that an aspirant is moving towards compassion, and giving of unconditional love. One can understand why we usually see paintings of angels having wings.

Being a witness during meditation provides the consciousness with an opportunity to function freely; to witness and remove all negative impressions and memories that surface. Once all latent data and impressions are dissolved and there is nothing left to observe, witnessing stops.

In spite of it being a transient state, it acts as a ladder that helps you reach the top. Once the final goal is achieved, the ladder is no longer required.

There is no process involved. If you are completely relaxed during meditation, the images may arise by themselves within your consciousness; you do not project them outside of yourself.

This is bound to happen because there are shifts taking place in your consciousness. What you first thought was meaningful, you may now find as meaningless. The realisation has dawned that you were playing roles according to the needs of others, sometimes at the cost of your own freedom, in order to be appreciated and gain acceptance. One has to suffer through this phase in order to grow.

Why is there pain when you are alone? Osho says that it is your ego that is getting the pain because your ego can exist only with others. It has grown through relationships, so if it faces a situation in which it can exist no more, it feels suffocated and on the verge of death. This, he says, is the deepest suffering. You feel through as you are dying, but it is not you who is dying, only the ego, which you have taken to be yourself, with which you have become identified. Just go through the experience, no matter how painful and fearful; remain passive and let it pass.

Do not take the word 'Self-realisation' lightly. First dwell on the meaning of the word and give it deep thought. Self-realisation is that moment when you know your true nature. Those who constantly abide in that - they will be self-realised. For this to happen great tapas - austere penance - is required, which is the domain only of the great sages.

Meditation, however, may lead to 'enlightenment'. This is a spontaneous happening for a long-time

It is usually said that the subtle body of an aspirant radiates two inches beyond the physical body. The Kundalini and chakras are a part of the subtle body. In order to allow the free flow of energy, an aspirant is advised to sit with his back straight and not to disrupt

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