When you try to meditate (dhyana) there is something that prepares your mind and body for it. While practicing yoga or meditation at a yoga retreat or meditation retreat, you practice various asanas, meditate, etc. However for every asana or posture and mediation you need to prepare your mind and body. your body is prepared for yoga when your mind is prepared for it and to prepare your mind for the same you need to know how to go into ‘dhyana’ or meditation which is the 7th stage of yoga. The sixth stage that is ‘dharana’ leads to this seventh stage and these stages are related to each other. When you succeed in the sixth stage only then you can succeed in the seventh stage.
How is Dhyana Attained?
Meditation or dhayan is when ‘concentration’ or ‘dharana’ is taken into perfection.
In other words, a meditative state is the natural result of ‘perfect concentration’. Human mind cannot stay focuseded on one point. It thinks on various topics, and though you are physically present in one place your mind can take you to places. The mind movement thus cannot be constrained. This is a big barrier in concentration power of the individual. Thus, dharana is an important stage, which helps you build your concentration and focus and helps you control you r mind. The more skilled you be controlling your mind, controlling its movements the better is your concentration and focus power.
Controlling your mind’s movement is only the beginning. The difficult task is keeping it empty of thoughts.
Sometimes you do not want any thoughts to crop up in your mind; still you fail to do so. This is because you cannot stop your mind. When you succeed in stopping your mind and succeed in keeping it vacant of thoughts, you move on to ‘dhyana’. This stage that takes you to ‘dhyana’ is ‘dharana’. When you succeed in controlling yoru mind and attain perfection in it only then you can meditate.
Are You Meditating?
Unless you are a dedicated and highly disciplined practitioner, you cannot meditate. Meditation is also calming the mind but actual mediation is connecting to the almighty. Thus, your exercise only to calm your mind is a different meditation. As stated by a famous author mediation is “lifestyle; control of the body and breath through Asana and Pranayama; transcendence of and freedom from the imprisonment of the senses in Pratyahara. Practices of Dharana, exercises in concentrating and focusing the mind must be perfected. Only then is one able to even speak of meditation, let alone experience it.”
Thus, control you mind and gain perfection in dharana to succeed in dhyana.