By Bhavan Kumar
Meditation and Bhakti Yoga have a symbiotic relationship. Bhakti is focused on becoming absorbed in the divine love that permeates the heart of a saint. In Bhakti Yoga meditation practices, we focus our desire for divine companionship into a longing to merge with our Guru. Just as in the alchemical process of changing base metal into gold, directing our longing, difficulties and other emotions towards our Guru will pierce the difficulties with understanding and purify our mental and emotional perceptions of the unfolding events around us. This purified state will allow the Bhakta to merge more completely into the essential nature of God’s love. We will also be able to more deeply understand the true love and beauty of God.
When we tune into an image, memory or the actual physical presence of a great saint, we begin to vibrate and align ourselves with their state of oneness with God. A beautiful example is the divine glance of a living master. The gaze of an enlightened master can penetrate the very soul of your being. When you sit for meditation, if you remember his or her gaze, you mind and heart will begin to settle and feel soothed. This calm abiding state will help you to enter into a thoughtless meditative field of deep peace and tranquility. Focusing your attention on the picture of a living master will also help calibrate your mind and body to a more peaceful and blissful state of being. These are all Bhakti Yoga techniques that will support your meditation practice.
In non-dual forms of meditation practice, the Yoga practitioner strives to observe and then eliminate or transcend unwanted thoughts. In Bhakti Yoga meditation practices, the Bhakta strives to increase the thoughts of his or her beloved teacher until the very essence of the Yogi or Yogini melts into the divine essence of all beings. It is said that whatever the mind consistently focus on, it becomes. Bhakti Yoga meditation encourages the Yogi or Yogini to focus on his or her teacher or chosen deity. This one-pointed meditative focus helps to eliminate unwanted thoughts and emotions as well as anchoring the consciousness of the practitioner more strongly in the experience of God. As the Yoga practitioner becomes more anchored into divine consciousness, the Kundalini Shakti is able to rise up through all of the chakras until she penetrates the Crown Chakra where she melts into the cool, brilliant-white light of divine bliss.
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