4 Ways to Meditate
A simple definition of meditation is to ‘think deeply about something’. A broader definition includes ‘to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.’ Other good words for meditation are – to ponder, reflect, contemplate, muse, ruminate, or lost in thought.
I love this idea of getting ‘lost in thought’ as a description of meditation in the Krishna Bhakti tradition. Our practice is to think about Krishna (God) as a real and living person. This meditation is compared to turning on a light in a dark room – the light enables us to see ourselves and everything else. When we meditate on Krishna, we see our spirit self, and a see the world and beyond from the soul perspective.
To meditate properly we must be willing to slow down, turn off, turn in, and stay awhile. There are 4 ways we can think of Krishna to deepen our experience of meditation – His name, form, qualities, and pastimes.
Krishna has unlimited names, and all of them tell us something about Him. Hare Krishna, our main meditation mantra, invites us into the presence of Krishna and His beloved consort Radha. Krishna means the ‘all attractive one’. When we chant this name, get ‘lost in thought’ hearing Hare Krishna, our meditation becomes a sweet longing for connection with this original form of God, and His beloved Radha.
If God is a person, He has a form. Not just the vague form of love, or power, or divine energy. A real form which is charming, sweet, and irresistible. Here is a brief description: “He is a beautiful youth with a glowing complexion the color of rain clouds. He plays a flute, attracting the hearts of all. His cheeks are brilliant, His smiling enchanting. He wears a peacock feather in His curly black hair and a flower garland around His neck. His beautiful garments are the color of lightning. His toenails resemble the light of the moon.” Just this one verse alone can be a sustained meditation for weeks.
The qualities of Krishna are another way to ‘get lost in thought’ of Him. In the book the Nectar of Devotion there is a list of 64 qualities. That's a good place to start. But even reflecting on the Bhagavad-gita and Krishna’s interaction with Arjuna tells us a lot about His qualities. We first meet Krishna when Arjuna is asking Him to drive his chariot between the two armies. Krishna is serving, supporting, being a friend – just some of the many qualities we can see. And if we ever think we will run out of qualities to meditate on, we can think about this - "Even if it were possible to count the atoms after smashing the earth into powder, still it would not be possible to estimate the unfathomable transcendental qualities of the Lord." – SB 1.16.26-30, Purport
The 4th meditation is about what Krishna does.. Such reflections are called Lila – sacred stories or pastimes of the Supreme Lord. The Bhakti scriptures are filled with Lila, which in turn fill our hearts and thoughts with meditations on love, adventure, charm, heartbreak, daring rescues and close calls. By hearing about Krishna, by meditating in this way, we received something wonderful – "…all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.” SB 1.2 17-21
Treat yourself to a daily Krishna meditation. Morning and evening are best, but anytime is the right time when it comes to finding ourselves in loving connection with Krishna.