Meditation is derived from the Latin word meditatio, which means “to align with the center”. Through exercises of mindfulness or concentration, a change in the state of consciousness is aimed for. In Asian cultures this change of consciousness is of central importance. A feeling of becoming one, a reduced perception of external events, the immersion in mind, body or soul are the goal of every meditation.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is a traditional, theoretical and practical philosophy system that was developed in India thousands of years ago based on direct experience. These experiences were summarized by the wise man Patanjali in his famous work “Yoga-Sutra” under the form of aphorisms and concise statements and thus have been passed on until today.
The word Yoga describes a path (a science) with its various activities and its ultimate goal. A short but precise description of such a complex term is not easy.
The goal as well as the path are characterized by direct inner experiences.
Yoga can only be understood when it is practiced.
The word “yoga” itself comes from the Indo-European root “yug”, which can be translated as “yoke” or also as “to unite”, “to merge” or “to harmonize”.
Yoga is therefore above all an inner state.
In this state, the individual “unites” with the universal, the microcosm with the macrocosm, the body with the soul, and the inexpressible union of the male and female principles that make up the human being and the whole universe takes place. This fusion creates in us a feeling of unity and reveals to us the inner knowledge of universal timeless wisdom. Yoga can enable those who are prepared, through a royal humility of mind, to have the ultimate experience of God.
How this state can now be achieved according to the science of experience, some of which is thousands of years old, is shown by the various techniques of traditional yoga systems that have been passed on over the centuries. These techniques enable us to achieve a perfect existence through the mastery of certain functions, energies and subtle elements, components of the spiritual, mental, psychic and physical nature of man.
The wise teachers of these systems of all times emphasize that authentic yoga exists beyond all boundaries and narrow perspectives, beyond all philosophical, psychic or religious systems, and that access to this ultimate freedom is accessible to everyone, especially through the personal practice of one or more forms of yoga.
The ultimate purpose of the yoga system is the gradual realization and revelation of the divine spark that exists in every human being, the return to the state of complete freedom and the experience of an extremely extensive and blissful state of consciousness, known in yoga as SAMADHI.
By reaching the SAMADHI state, the state of infinite ecstasy, the yogi receives the confirmation of his accomplishment, the indescribable fusion of his own being with the universal macrocosmic being.
Yoga thus aims at deepening self-knowledge, the awareness of unexpected abilities, the wise use of all the hidden means of the being, in order to finally become aware of the Supreme, Divine, Immortal Self (ATMAN).
This Supreme Self, which is omnipresent in man as a silent observer, is freed from the interactions with the personal, transient, limited and only self-conscious ego.
Yoga answers eternal questions
It is the examination of the eternal questions: “Who am I?”, “Why was I born?”, “Why do I live?”, “Where do I come from?”, “What will happen to me after death?” The answers that yoga gives us thanks to a comprehensive awareness and constant attention can be experienced in our own inner being. Yoga thus aims at a direct, immediate realization of the ultimate truth of man, existence and the universe.
According to the yogic view, a very large number of people do not realize that despite their ‘outer excitement’ they are sleeping inwardly. The continuous practice of the various yoga methods helps us to awaken from our unconsciousness and discover a new, higher reality.
Mastering the mind
The constant flow of thoughts, these constant inner monolougues in our heads seem completely normal to us, since we do not know any other way however this continuous scattering of our attention and mental energy prevents any unfolding of our true potential and the enormous abilities that are slumbering in each of us and waiting for their awakening. Through the yoga exercises, the one who strives for inner perfection will gradually succeed in controlling his thoughts and ending this waste of mental energy. Instead of scattering this precious potential in an uncontrolled way, it now promotes our inner progress and self-knowledge.
After a certain period of time, the enthusiastic yoga practitioner will notice an extraordinary acceleration of his inner progress, which will reveal to him the true purpose of his existence and the fundamental laws of the universe. He will realize that everything in his being is set in motion to accelerate his natural evolution, his spiritual growth.