When the mind becomes Nirvishaya (free from thinking of sense-objects and their enjoyments) it is meditation.
God has hidden Himself in this world (immanent) and is seated in the cavity of the lotus of your heart. He is an absentee landlord. You will have to seek Him through concentration and meditation with a pure mind. This is the real play of hide and seek.
For purposes of meditation everything is to be rendered Sattvic. The place of meditation must be Sattvic. The food must be Sattvic. The wearing apparel must be Sattvic. The company must be Sattvic. Talking must be Sattvic. The sound that you hear must be Sattvic. Thinking must be Sattvic. Study must be Sattvic. Everything must be Sattvic. Then only good progress in Sadhana is possible, particularly in the case of beginners (neophytes).
(a) A cool Sattvic place like Uttarakasi, Rishikesh, Lakshmanjhula, Kankhal or Badrinath is necessary for meditation, because the brain gets hot during meditation.
(b) There must be capacity for Sadhana.
(c) There must be good, Sattvic, substantial, light and nutritious food.
(d) There must be a good spiritual teacher (Anubhava Guru) to guide you.
(e) There must be good books for study.
(f) There must be burning Vairagya, burning Mumukshutva and strong Viveka in you.
(g) You must have a sharp, subtle, calm and one-pointed Buddhi to understand the Brahma-Tattva or Brahma Vastu. Then and then only Realisation is possible. Many do not get the above favourable conditions for spiritual Sadhana. This is the reason why they do not make any spiritual progress.
Meditation is possible when the mind is full of Sattva Guna. The stomach should not be loaded. There is an intimate connection between the mind and the food. A heavy meal is harmful. Take a full meal at 11 a.m. and half a seer of milk at night. The night meal should be light for those who meditate.
Every human being has within himself various potentialities and capacities. He is a magazine of power and knowledge. As he evolves, he unfolds new powers, new faculties and new qualities. Now he can change his environments and influence others. He can subdue other minds. He can conquer internal and external nature. He can enter into superconscious state.
In a dark room if a pot, containing a lamp inside it, is broken, the darkness of the room is dispelled and you see light everywhere in the room. Even so, if the body-pot is broken through constant meditation on the Self, i.e., if you destroy ignorance (Avidya) and its effect such as identification with the body, and rise above body-consciousness, you will cognise the supreme light of the Atman everywhere.
Pose or Asana is really mental. Try to have a mental Padma or mental Siddha Asana. If the mind is wandering, you cannot have steady body or a steady physical pose. When the mind is steady or fixed in Brahman, steadiness of the body automatically follows.
Constantly think of God. The mind should always move towards God. Fasten the mind with a fine silk-thread to the Lotus-Feet of Lord Siva or Hari. Do not allow any worldly thought to enter the mind. Do not allow the mind to think of any physical or mental enjoyment. When it indulges in these thoughts, give it a good hammering. Then it will move towards God. Just as the Ganga flows continuously towards the sea, thoughts of God should flow continuously towards the Lord. Just as the harmonious sound produced from the ringing of bells falls upon the ear in a continuous stream, so also the mind should come towards God in one continuous stream. There must be a continuous divine Vritti-Pravaha from the Sattvic mind towards God through continuous Sadhana.
To think of nothing is to attain the highest contemplation.
In Nididhyasana or profound and continued meditation, thinking ceases. There is only one idea of "Aham Brahma Asmi." When this idea is also given up, Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Sahaja Advaita-Nishtha ensues.
Man tries to grasp the abstract through forms. After the mind has been purified, an abstract image is formed in the purified mind by Sravana (listening to spiritual discourses and holy scriptures) and Brahma-Chintana. This abstract image melts later on in deep Nididhyasana. What is left behind is Chinmatra or Kevala Asti (Pure Existence alone).
The mind should be adored as Brahman. This is intellectual worship. This is Upasana-Vakya.
Mind is Brahman or God in manifestation. Mind is God in motion.
As Brahman is approachable by means of the mind it is only proper to meditate upon the mind as Brahman.
If the readers of works dealing with Atma-Jnana, who do take delight therein will not be hasty in longing for the fruits at once but will meditate regularly and gradually upon them, then the mind will by degrees be ripened and in the end, the endless Atman will be reached.
When you read a book with absorbed interest and attention, your mind gets fixed to the ideas. Even so, in Nirguna meditation of Brahman (formless Dhyana) the mind is fixed on one idea, viz., that of Atman.
You want for meditation a properly trained instrument (mind). It should be calm, clear, pure, subtle, sharp, steady and one-pointed. Brahman is pure and subtle and you need a pure and subtle mind to approach Brahman.
Sit in a lonely place in the Padma, Siddha or Sukha Asana. Free yourself from all passions, emotions and impulses. Subjugate the senses. Withdraw the mind from objects. Now the mind will be calm, one-pointed, pure and subtle. With the help of this trained instrument and disciplined mind, contemplate on that one Infinite Self. Do not think of anything else.
Allow the one Brahmic idea to flow gently and continuously. Drive out foreign or extraneous worldly ideas gently. Try to keep up the Brahmakara Vritti by repeating OM or 'Aham Brahma Asmi' mentally very often. The idea of Infinity, the idea of an ocean of Light, the idea of all Knowledge and all Ananda should accompany the mental repetition of OM. If the mind wanders, repeat verbally six times the long (Dirgha) Pranava with 3 Matras. This process will remove the Vikshepa and all other obstacles.
Mind feels tired after hard and protracted work. It cannot therefore be Atman. Atman is the storehouse of all powers (Ananta Sakti). Mind is only an instrument of Atman. It should be properly disciplined. Just as you develop the physical body through gymnastics and various kinds of physical exercises, so also you have to train the mind through mental training, mental culture or mental drill.
Just as the salt melts in water, so also the Sattvic mind melts in silence, during meditation, in Brahman, its Adhishthana (substratum).
OM is the bow, mind is the arrow and Brahman is the mark to be aimed at. Brahman is to be hit or pierced by him whose thoughts are concentrated. Then he will be of the same nature (Tanmaya) with Brahman, as the arrow becomes one with the aim when it has pierced it.
The best and the most congenial time for the practice of meditation is unquestionably the Brahmamuhurta, i.e., from 4 to 6 a.m. That is the time when the mind is quite refreshed after an agreeable slumber, when the mind is calm and comparatively pure. It is like a clean blank sheet of paper. Only such a mind can be moulded into whatever shape you like. Moreover, the atmosphere also is charged with purity and goodness at this time.
All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years, if you want to practise Dhyana Yoga, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper-reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped, as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world-idea. Seclusion for a period of five or six years is indispensable.
Mind exists on account of "I." "I" exists on account of mind. "I" is only an idea in the mind. "Mind" and "I" are identical. If "I" vanishes, mind will also vanish and if mind vanishes, "I" will vanish. Destroy mind through Tattva-Jnana. Destroy the "I" through 'Aham Brahma Asmi' Bhavana, through constant and intense Nididhyasana. When mind vanishes or thoughts cease, Nama-Rupa will cease to exist and the Goal is reached.