In a talk at the Holy Names College, Oakland, California, USA, Sogyal Rinpoche, a master of Dzogchen Buddhism, told a story about a man, a top diplomat and maharaja, who sought the answer to the question, 'How do I meditate?' He asked the question of Sogyal Rinpoche's master many times, as in the practice, to elicit many perspectives on the subject. At a spiritual dance in Sikkim, the diplomat asked the master the question again. The master was enjoying himself and replied impatently, 'Look, when one thought has ceased and died, before another thought has yet risen, isn't there a gap?' 'Yes,' the diplomat said. 'Prolong it. Prolong that gap. That is meditation,'the master explained.
A great number of books have been written on meditation, and I have written about it myself in The Fragrant MInd. Basically, it's very simple: it's trying to create stillness and peace in the mind, beyond the chatter and clutter that usually fills it.This is not to say that meditation is about nothing. On the contrary, it is about everything. In meditation, we come in contact with a vast reservoir of energy, passing through ever deeper layers of ourselves, as is explained by a Tantric nun: 'The human mind is on a continuum. There's the mind, the senses - our attraction or aversion to someone or something; then there is the intellect - the everyday computer, with memory; then the creative layer - where we go deep into the mind; and there is a flow - rather than the black and white; and a deeper than bookish knowledge.
The next layer is intuition, expanded awareness, where you can really distinguish between what is right or wrong and, going deep, make good decisions. The next level is the spiritual level - the sense of oneness. The last layer is Samadhi, which is complete merger in the cosmic consciousness, total reabsorption. Human beings can complete the cycle: from infinite consciousness, to manifestation, to infinite consciousness .' In meditation, fragrance provides something spiritual to focus on - and with eyes closed, which many people find additionally helpful. It's important though that the aroma evokes no memory for you which will just flood your mind and defeat the purpose of the exercise.
For this reason I suggest using blends in which no one ingredient dominates, and a new and unique aroma is created. This is accomplished by balancing out the ingredients, so that even if you do not use equal drops, as some essential oils are stronger than others, there is a balance between them all. Amongst the floral essential oils, linden blossom, jasmine and rose maroc make particularly good meditation oils either individually or in blends. Some people might find these aromas too heavy, particularly as they progress with meditation when the lighter florals, such as rose otto, neroli or diluted jasmine may feel more appropriate. Any essential oil can be lightened with dilution.
Which essential oils are chosen is entirely a matter of personal preference. Some people are drawn to the resins, such as frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, styrax or copal, or one of the many other balsams found throughout the world. A nice addition to any of these are the citrus types - eucalyptus citriodora and litsea cubeba. These two generally work as well in meditation blends as do the more usual citrus fruit oils.
Blends are excellent for meditation, and there are many essential oil you can choose from to create your own. For example:
Pine, Spruce, Cypress, Fir
Sandalwood, Amyris, Ho-wood, Guaiacwood
Tangerine, Lemon, Cardamom, Vanilla
Graspefruit, Orange, Mandarin, Lime
Change your meditation blend as often as you wish. Each one will be special in its own way. Using essential oils with medation helps to bring more vivid colours, more clarity and focus, to the event. Aroma during meditation can bring forth cellular or genetic memory - scenes and pictures from our past - or from times and places that are unrelated to our present life.
Many people are discouraged from meditation for the simple reason they cannot find a siting position that is both comfortable and conforms to the positions usually adopted in pictures of people meditating - with legs crossed or with the posterior resting on the heels. It sometimes seems that one has to be uncomfortable to do it properly! This is not so. You can meditate in any comfotable sitting position, trying to keep your back straight - as this helps the flow through the energy centres along the spine. If no siting position is comfortable - and this applies to many people - just lie on the floor. The most important thing is to be relaxed.
Some people tell me that when they meditate, they fall asleep. Does it really matter? In the sleeping state we often recieve information, answers to questions, as well as information about the past, present and future. Meditation could, be said to be conscious sleeping. We are, though, more sensitive to noise at this time, and the slightest sound can have the same shocking effect as a cannon going off near by. So do take the phone off the hook and do whatever else is required to ensure you get a certain amount of peaceful time. In the profound quite of meditation we can listen to our bodies. We may find the energetic source of any ache or pain, as well as the source of our spiritual selves.
Ther are now countless studies that show meditation definetly acts upon the body in, for example, Showing the pulse rate and calming physiological and neurological processes. Less easy to demonstrate than changes in clinical conditions, but well documented in people's reports of their experiences, is that meditation opens us up to receiving information. Answers to nagging questions or just plain unsolicited wisdom comes either from the higher self, the superconscious or universal knowledge. Meditation, then, is not about taking a rest, but about going on an adventure.
Reference: The Fragrant Heavens : Valerie A Worwood