One feeling is skin and wind

Advaita Post Volume 09, Nr.09

Spring Garden

Spring Garden



of sunspots and leafy shadow;

the coo of a dove.



Where is time?


Light and dark endlessly play,

wind strikes across my open skin.


Where am I?


One feeling is skin and wind.

As skin-wind I blow through the trees,

green skin-wind of the shuddering leaves.


The incredibly soft sound becomes so strong

that I and everything in it disappear.


I savour the nectar of the flowers;

Sated, I realize that there is nothing more than that: one taste.


Seeing is mingling with glare and shadow,

being the rapidly changing light and dark and

their source without a second, without time or place.



This introductory text appeared in: OHM-Vani (Organization for Hindu Media) No 14-2 (April / June 2008), p. 32-34

You can learn to meditate

Life in our society is very demanding. There is pressure not only in work and study, but also in other areas of life. There are all kinds of things deemed necessary by others and by yourself. There are the continuous psychological processes of thinking and feeling, containing difficult questions, conflicts and imbalances seeking a solution. Meditation permits all of these tensions to disappear, and the good news is: you can learn it.

In the internal and external energy fields there are strong tensions and instabilities, experienced not only by older people, but also by many youths. Their consequences include uncertainty, brooding, concentration problems, insomnia, depression, and anxiety, but also insensitivity and indifference.

Many people begin to meditate in order to rise above their own tension and unrest. The Indian tradition offers many methods of meditation. Of course, meditation is not only therapeutic, as traditionally it has been focused on the release of all tensions and restrictions, it is also directed towards the realization of unity with the source of All (moksha). Yet, meditation also helps people who are active in society. In all types of meditation there are two very important elements: relaxation and consciousness.


Tension exists as an element with a focus towards all kinds of things and problems. Relaxation is possible as you bring the focus back into yourself. Let the attention that goes out from you return to the source that you are and: the tension is gone. This is the beginning of meditation. In yourself as the source of attention there is only silence and peace. As you become aware of it by returning to this place you are calm and peaceful. This reveals itself universally, developing in all directions: peace is everywhere. When you remain thus, at home, external actions have no effect upon you anymore. You’ll notice that the exact opposite happens: the relaxation and peace affect others too!

Meditative relaxation

Once you’ve experienced what meditative relaxation is, you can always return there. You only need to imagine a situation in which you were totally relaxed. Do you have such a memory? Then return to that situation within and once again there is rest. When you recognize that meditative relaxation very clearly, then you can focus directly on it, so that it steadily grows stronger. You need only to think of the relaxation and you slide into it, spontaneously. That’s why I call it Spontaneous Relaxation:

“Return your awareness back to your body and your bodily situation here and now. Notice that a relaxation occurs spontaneously and your mind becomes still. Let this continue with an ongoing attention. While remaining alert, allow the relaxation go deeper and the silence to grow. Surrender to the stillness and the relaxation. This is how meditation develops. Everything opens. Do this as often as possible.” (from Learning to Meditate, Ch.1, 1.5)

It’s worthwhile to learn to experience that you can always stay relaxed in the source of yourself in all circumstances.

Constant vigilance

In order to remain aware of yourself relaxation is necessary, if only to avoid going with everything that demands your attention too easily. As you become aware of your own relaxed depth, then the relaxation can more easily return or continue and finally always remain. Additionally, it’s also good to remain aware of yourself in everyday life, in all situations. Then you’ll see what is happening witnin a larger space. Then you can more easily release all the different things creating tensions and go your own way. When you stick to this kind of awareness and in this way, it is called insight meditation.

A corresponding western form is currently known as mindfulness. It’s a constant practice of awareness throughout the day. As a special meditation in a seated position it runs as follows:

“Go with your attention towards the breathing process in your lower abdomen, but remain with an open attention on the greater space in which this process occurs. Notice directly when something distorts the openness and claims your attention… let it go, relax and return again to the starting position.”

(from: Learning to Meditate, Ch.2, 2.3)


These meditations with the emphasis respectively on relaxation and insight may deepen. Meditation on an image of Krishna, Kâlî, Shiva, Ganesha or another divine figure lets the essence of that image become a reality in your own sphere. By meditating in this way you literally come to live within the corresponding divine sphere and you merge more and more together with the god. It is a mystical movement towards unity with God. The Yogasûtras of Patañjali guide the meditation towards a one-being (samâdhi), in which the mental processes are completely stilled. Then, there is no observation and no thinking anymore. In Advaita Vedânta the emphasis is on the insight of the one-being as the basis of yourself and that of the world. It is about being-awake, that is a realisation of the highest one-being, while the world and the person can continue to remain present without difficulties. The meditation is maintaining a focused awareness on the basic foundation and letting yourself fall into it; see the description of Spontaneous Meditation earlier in this article.

Becoming familiar

So everyone has the possibility to learn to relax with awareness, to gain more insight about your situation of tension-relaxation and your original nature and how to remain with it. Therefore it’s usually necessary to meditate regularly, but also returning to an aware relaxation a few times a day helps to remedy many problems. Especially for young people, becoming familiar with aware relaxation is worthwhile, because they have a whole life to lead ahead of them. In a project of the Advaita Centre many young people learn this through small exercises (pitstops).

The return to the depths of yourself means relaxation and peace. It also means independence from your circumstances. You are no longer carried away by the various forces that are active internally and externally. And so you no longer go along with the ideas proposed by others that you are nothing more than the workings of your brain, see for example, “Mysticus thinks like a rabbit ‘(Volkskrant on January 7, 2008). You’re more than what neurobiological science says because you’re more than your brain. You are yourself as Being and you are not the object of science or of anyone else. Meditation can teach you that, too.


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