A serene mind for meditation and meditation for a serene mind.

6:7 “With a self-disciplined mind, you experience a state of constant serenity, correctly identifying with your highest Self (Atman) who remains unaffected in heat or cold, pleasure or pain, praise or blame.” Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita: a Commentary for Modern Readers (p. 82). Integral Yoga Publications.

The practice of meditation requires self-discipline. We exercise and develop discipline by taking the time to sit in silence every day no matter what. Furthermore, we exercise mental discipline when we sit in silence and keep bringing the mind back to the here and now.

There are different ways to focus the mind while siting in silence, one of the most common ones being bringing our attention to the breath. We observe the breath either by noticing it coming in and out of our nostrils, or by feeling the rise and fall of our chest/belly as we breathe in and out.

The repetition of a mantra or affirmation is also a good tool to focus the mind, and as we notice ourselves engaging in our thoughts, we go back to the breath or the mantra until we manage to let thoughts come and go without engaging with them. This is what is called dharana in meditation, and could be the equivalent to mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition.

It is said that beyond dharana is dhyana – meditation – and through this we can get in touch into our Higher Self (Atman) which is ever peaceful and unshaken by whatever is happening around us.

The practice of disciplining the mind continues in our everyday life. We learn to discern between uplifting and limiting thoughts. We learn to take life as it is without overindulging in our perceptions and judgement of the external world. This way, we are able to stay serene, as the cited verse states.

It is a loop, or an upward spiral. We discipline the mind when we sit in silence so we are able to meet everyday life with serenity, and because we are able to keep cultivate a serene state of mind no matter what, we can easier sit in silence and get in touch with your Higher Self.

To the ideas presented in this verse is connected the principle of the transient nature of the world we perceive including our physical body and our thoughts, and thus the importance of accepting pleasantness and unpleasantness equally. Avoiding to put our stability in this changing world and rather in our inner peace.

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