FAQ on Meditation.
Q. How do you breathe during meditation?
A. Naturally. Slowly. Through the nose if your thoughts are peaceful, through the mouth if they are agitated. By letting the belly out completely while inhaling, and retracting it without force while exhaling. The diaphragm supple as a jellyfish; the anus relaxed; the throat relaxed; the brain relaxed; the cranial bones like another diaphragm; the shoulders, the arms, and the hands relaxed. The point of the tongue on the palate, against the upper teeth. The spinal column very straight, the vertebrae stacked up like little round cushions full of sand. The eyes slightly opened, fixed before you on the ground, or completely opened and fixed on infinity, right in front of you. Then, without forcing it, you extend the breath, you let it become subtle, and then you notice a pause between the exhalation and the inhalation, and you realize that the divine is in this interstitial void. Then, you practice circular respiration born of hamsa (the White Swan Meditation).
Q. At the beginning, when one first starts to meditate, isn’t it easier to have an object to concentrate on?
A. You can concentrate on a little pebble or some other object, but you have to be careful not to do this for too long or it will become fossilized in the mind. When you meditate with some sort of crutch, you must alternate your concentration with mind relaxation like a series of waves. You must let the concentration breathe, or you will wear yourself out for nothing.
Q. How should one consider the intrusions of thought that come to interfere with one’s absorption?
A. You have to stop believing that these distracted states are at odds with profound absorption. They are a kind of energy to be grounded in the absorption. As soon as you stop considering them an obstacle, you witness a wonderful transformation in which the agitation begins to nourish the calm. There is no antagonism in non-duality. All efforts to reduce the turbulence or make it disappear only reinforce it. The clouds are part of the beauty of the sky. The shooting stars are an integral part of the night. The night doesn’t say to itself, ‘Here comes a shooting star to interrupt my peace!’ So be like the sky, and your mind will integrate all states.
Q. And when one leaves meditation, how does one move in the outside world?
A. It is necessary to really grasp that you don’t sit down to avoid or achieve some exterior thing. You don’t meditate to experiment with altered states of consciousness or whatever else. You meditate only to perceive by yourself that everything is within us, every atom of the universe, and that we already possess everything we would wish to find outside of ourselves. To meditate is to be one hundred percent in reality. And if you are in reality, what would you be leaving by entering the outside world?
To meditate in solitude or walk amid the hustle-bustle of a polluted city is fundamentally the same thing. Only when we have realized that do we really begin to meditate. In meditating, we run after nothing; we aren’t looking for any state, any ecstasy other than being totally within reality. Those who pretend to reach higher states or consciousness through meditation are only taking cannabis. Beginning from the moment when we are the entire universe, how could we be lifted toward anything? It’s enough to open your eyes. It’s all there. When we meditate in this way, seated, standing, or lying down, we overflow with the divine and the divine overflows into us.
– Daniel Odier, from Tantric Quest.