Study of my own life's discoveries works to realize the efficacy of Socrates' famous quotation, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
Steps to Quietude
Sit on a straight-back chair or on a pad on the floor with your back reasonably straight, hands resting with upturned palms on thighs, eyes looking straight ahead so as not to tilt the head. Close your eyes and gently uplift the gaze as if looking at a screen in the mid-forehead. Take care not to strain the eyes, but keep attention at mid-forehead.
Relax the body. To help relax the body, gently tense and relax the whole body a few times. If further relaxing is necessary, gently tense and relax feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, torso, arms, neck, and head. Take a few deep breaths and then forget about body and breath.
This exercise may also be performed lying down on a soft couch or bed, although the tendency to doze off into sleep may impede the practice until you have mastered its technique.
Listening and Watching
With deep concentration, listen to sounds in the ears, which will slowly become mostly perceived as inside the head. You will naturally hear other sounds like traffic, or the refrigerator, or people in the house, but ignore those, and listen to the sounds in your ears and head.
The sound will be similar to the buzz or hum of power lines, or the gentle whirr of a small motor. Continue to concentrate on that sound as you ignore all other physical sounds.
While concentrating deeply on the sounds in your ears (head), watch the screen in your forehead, which at first will appear only as blackness. As you continue to become more and more relaxed and more and more deeply concentrated on the buzz/hum/whirr sounds in your ears and head, you will see various forms or images appearing on the screen of your forehead.
Those forms or images will be dreamlike most of the time, but once in a while they will seem more substantial. You will be peering at the same screen on which you observe the imagery as you dream in sleep.
Accepting Without Thought
Simply perceive any sound or visual image with neutrality—that is, don’t try to make any image stay, question why you received it, think about it in any way. Just continue to concentrate on the screen in the forehead and the sounds of your ears and head.
After you have become well-concentrated in both the auditory and visual imagery, fill you heart with thoughts of love, peace, joy—or any positive quality you greatly admire or consider to be divine.
Last, after filling your heart with the divine quality you admire, feel that a white light is surrounding you, and you are in the presence of the Divine. Enjoy this relaxed feeling as long as you want or as long as you can comfortably do so.
The Prayer Without Words
This entire exercise becomes the "prayerless prayer." And without forming a single word, you will have communicated with the Divine.
The longer you sit and practice this technique the more closely you will feel that you are in touch with Something Marvelous. And of course, if you wish, your prayer does not have to remain wordless.
At the end of your session, you might want to offer some heartfelt words to the Divine or pray any prayer you are familiar with—as long as you feel the words in your heart, and understand them completely with your mind, you will benefit from their utterance.
Of course, the most important part is simply being in the presence of the Divine. If you practice this technique, twice daily for eight years, you will have formed a habit that you will never want to break.
Suggestions for Affirmations
Paramahansa Yogananda offers many inspiring, short affirmations for any need, physical, mental, or spiritual. One of my favorites is the following, which also serves as a chant:
No Birth, No Death
No birth, no death, no caste have I;
Father, mother, have I none:
I am He, I am He, — blessed Spirit, I am He!
Mind, nor intellect, nor ego, feeling;
Sky, nor earth, nor metals am I:
I am He, I am He, — blessed Spirit, I am He!
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Another useful, powerful affirmation that may serve as part of your prayer service after quiet meditation is the following:
My Heavenly Father is love
My Heavenly Father is love,
and I am made in His image.
I am the sphere of love
in which all planets, all stars, all beings,
all creation are glimmering.
I am the love
that pervades the whole universe.
Create Your Own Affirmations
After you have become aware of your own deep spiritual needs, and have the spiritual template of a great master's chants and affirmations, you will feel the need along with the ability to create your own affirmations.
The following piece is one of my original affirmations that I employ quite often:
I am health
I am wealth
I am whole
I am a perfect
As I broaden my love and appreciation for humankind, I affirm a universal wish for goodwill in the following original:
Gratitude for Blessing and Healing
Heavenly Father, Divine Mother Belovèd Gurus:
Thank you for blessing and healing us all
In body, mind, and soul—
All of the little families
And all of the little souls
On all levels of being.
Closing Your Prayerless Prayer
Before you rise from your prayerless prayer/quiet meditation session, you might want to concentrate on some profound thought that has always captivated your attention. What may suddenly happen is that from the deepest levels of inspiration come flooding into your daily awareness new connections brought on by the same words that have uplifted you many times before in different ways.
One such inspirational thought for me is the following, which continues to remain my favorite quotation of all time, offered by Swami Sri Yukteswar in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi:
Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.
Allowing yourself the time to connect with your inner being can become a lifelong habit that not only allows you to feel healthier but also assists you in becoming more creative, more engaged with your environment, and more observant. Just beginning with such small steps as quieting the body can grow into marvelous meditation sessions that awaken your whole being to its Divine Reality.
Disclaimer: A Simple Devotee
Only as a simple devotee of the Kriya Yoga techniques given by Paramahansa Yogananda am I offering this meditation exercise, which I created from my own meditation experience based on the teachings of the great guru, who has been recognized world-wide as the "Father of Yoga in the West."
I am neither a yoga instructor nor an expert in any field of religious endeavor nor am I a paid spokesman for Self-Realization Fellowship. I have been a devotee and student of the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda since March 1978.
I sing the praises of these teachings because they have uplifted and guided my thinking and behavior by answering the profound questions of life that have occurred to me and by demonstrating with absolute clarity what it means to be a child of the Great Creator (God) in a world of chaos and confusion.
For complete and thorough instruction in securing a meditation routine that works to uplift body, mind, and soul, please visit Paramahansa Yogananda’s SRF Lessons for Home Study.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Linda Sue Grimes