The 21 Stages of Meditation
In Kundalini Yoga class, we have been going through the 21 Stages of Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan. We are nearing the end of the The Crystallized Self which comprises the first 7 stages of the 21 stages. Although you may not be presently in these stages nor experience them sequentially in your meditation practice, it is helpful to be aware of and recognize the various stages as they arise. Here are a few notes from 'along the way' (quotes from "The 21 Stages of Meditation" by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa):
Stage 1: Upset
We get upset because a) our ego wants to control and dominate, b) we are unaware of our own mind, and c) we do not use our sensitivity to understand the impact of our thoughts and feelings on others.
"Everything you are going to create, you are going to destroy." We don't understand this so we get upset!
"As our kundalini rises we come to a basic realization that it is we who must select, plant and nurture each thought to fulfillment. Each moment is an opportunity to align our thought, word and action with our hearts and with the cosmos."
Stage 2: Boredom
"Boredom, when embraced and confronted, reveals how much our world begins and ends with our own projection and attitudeâ€¦.boredom can serve as a catalyst, calling on our deeper values, purpose, and character."
To move through boredom, widen the horizon and act with dedication. Stay in touch with dedication, grace, and purpose.
"There is no boredom in unlimitedness. There is no boredom in the experience of infinity. Boredom shall hit you when things are too defined, when your focus is too finite or too known."
Stage 3: Irritation
"How much we react, how irritated we get, depends on our nervous system, the quality of our mind and our expectations."
Irritation is triggered by challenges to our habits or beliefs, and changes in perspective or function as our old awareness gives way to new structures.
When the reactive energy builds up we can confuse intuition with impulse, or we mistake the energy of irritation for vitality or strength.
"We don't deny the energy; we channel it into the sattvic guna, a neutral attitude of mind which sees things clearly and allows us to act effectively. In meditation we expand our sensitivity so we can absorb everything and clear our reactions. As our irritations clear, we have a better sense of Self."
Stage 4: Frustration
The power of the mantra will cut through the frustration. Frustration comes when we face our limitations, when we have the energy and don't know where to give it an outlet, or where we have a huge outlet but not sufficient energy.
"Recognize the sensation of frustration, raise the energy and stay in stillness, then release the energy of frustration into a creative thought."
At this point, really let the mantra do the work, do not put the mind up against the ego, let the irritation flow through the mantra and it will be purified.
Stage 5: Focus
This stage represents a profound deepening and shift in meditation. Focus does not mean force, rather it is allowing the thoughts and feelings that arise to pass through.
"Effort is not the way. Instead, focus is gained by gathering our attention, energy and love around something and letting go of everything else. It is not attachment. It is not habit. It is right effort."
"Practicing focus cultivates the facility to follow our intuition and to act with expertise and ease. When intuition is activated, we move with little effort and we trust the outcome."
Once again, use the mantra as the fulcrum of focus. Gather all your attention into mantra and breath, and allow whatever arises to flow through.
Stage 6: Absorption
"Absorption relies on focus but takes us beyond the action of focus and into the object of the focus. Absorption eliminates the boundary between the object and you, them and us, now and eternity."
"At this stage the navel centre and the brow point become completely attuned to each other. Identity and intention combine to project a thought in partnership with the Unknown. The throat centre is the crucible, the point of transformation and transmutation."
Stage 7: Experience and Crystallize the Self
"From the Self we can witness, experience, assess and direct our actions. It is the fulcrum on which our consciousness acts effectively."
"The crystallized Self is critical to embodying our humanity and spiritâ€¦With the crystallized Self we can stand before the depth and mystery of our being and act with dignity, integrity and creativity."
Opening the Heart Centre is the key to the culmination of this first journey - The Crystallized Self. "Once the Self is crystallized in the Heart Centre and we consciously allow self-compasssion, then we can begin to fully engage the world, our bodies and minds, and other people authentically."
Extended Meditation for the first journey: The Crystallized Self
I am offering a special practice in my home for those who wish to experience the fuller length meditation sequence which culminates the first journey of The Crystallized Self. The five meditations to Experience and Crystallize the Self are: 1) Becoming the Sound Current, 2) Open Lotus Heart Meditation, 3) Traatik Dhyan to See the Unseen, 4) Meditation of the Two Teachers to Balance Karma, and 5) Heart Seal Meditation. We will seamlessly move from one to the next, 11 - 15 minutes each, for a total of 75 minutes of meditation. There will be a gentle warm-up prior to the meditation, and a Savasana following.
Tuesday March 25th, 6:30-8:30, $15.00
Please respond to me by email by March 23rd if you are attending (maximum 8) and I will forward you the details.