Q: How does one perform Meditation?
A: To perform meditation ideally one should sit in Padmasana (Lotus Posture). If that is not possible, one can sit in any comfortable posture. Meditation can be done with the eyes opened or closed. It can be performed with or without the recitation of the holy name. It can be performed with or without any particular form in mind. It all depends upon the interest and characteristics of the seeker.
Q: My mind does not concentrate while performing meditation. What is the reason for this?
A: This may be due to many reasons, such as; attraction towards worldly objects, lack of purity, lack of continuous and sincere practice etc.
If everybody’s mind is able to focus from the very beginning then what is the need of meditation? The very purpose of meditation is to completely engross mind. Leave alone the matter of ordinary persons, even those who have renounced worldly duties and live in solitude find it difficult to concentrate their mind. A common man’s mind is engaged in different worldly activities so it requires time and patience before their mind is trained to focus. One has to continue the practice of meditation with enthusiasm.
It is said in Bhagvad Gita that the mind is very volatile, capricious and is difficult to control but there is no reason to be dishearten. Mind will concentrate easily when it will become satvik, when it will be filled with love for God or the eternal power. So instead of complaining about the lack of concentration, try to increase your capabilities.
Q: Normally what should be the minimum time for the practice of meditation? What is the maximum? Is it necessary to meditate at a fixed time and sit on a fixed asana?
A: One should dedicate at least half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening for the practice of meditation. However, there is no maximum. One should try wholeheartedly for the attainment of one’s goal and spend as much time as possible for meditation. In order to achieve life’s goals, one should practice daily and regularly and make it a part of one’s life and routine.
Regarding your second question, it is not mandatory but it is highly desirable to sit in a fixed posture and at a fixed time. Regular practice plays important part in the ability of mind to concentrate.
Q: If I meditate early in the morning, I feel sleepy. What should I do?
A: That may be the result of getting up too early in the morning. If you feel heavy-eyed in the morning, take full sleep and then do meditation. If it still troubles you, wash your eyes, walk for a while and then resume your meditation. Also try to do japa while performing meditation. Prayer can also help in a great way.
Lastly, one important thing: those who want to practice meditation should take light meals. The amount of food has a profound effect on your sleep. If you can stay without food in the evening, that would be excellent. It would help immensely in controlling your sleep.
Q: Can I perform meditation at night?
A: There is no constraint regarding the timing of meditation. You can do it in the morning and at night or at the time of sunrise and sunset. Some experienced persons recommend meditating at night as there is not much noise to disturb the aspirant. The fact is however that once you’re interested in meditation, you will love to meditate in whatever time you can make available.
Q: Is it compulsory to practice pranayama and mudras while performing meditation? Should one practice asana, pranayama and mudras before or after meditation?
A: No. It is not inevitably necessary to practice pranayamas or mudras during meditation. They are performed as an aid in meditation. Meditation is an independent technique or method. Yet, there are certain benefits of performing pranayama and mudras.
Depending upon the interest and habit of an individual, one can practice asana, pranayama and mudras before, after or during meditation. Normally, it is beneficial to start meditating after performing asana, pranayama and mudras.
Q: What is the result of meditation?
A: Samadhi. After regular and constant practice of meditation, one submerges into the divine - the eternal force and loses the consciousness of body and mind. One loses awareness about all external objects – one’s surroundings, place, time etc. That is the ultimate result of meditation.