The techniques of meditational practices are reasonably easy to learn. Yet they will never bring results unless they are practised regularly and with dedication. Sad to say, many people believe that to experience meditation it is necessary to fill the mind with numerous different techniques, none of which they practise seriously. As a result they gain nothing. This is an easy pitfall, for we are all habituated to believing that results come through learning. That is, we believe that the more facts we accumulate the wiser we will become. In intellectual terms this may be partly true but it is certainly not true with meditational practices, and for that matter with yoga in general. A person can know almost nothing intellectually and yet by knowing one meditational technique and practising it with dedication, can experience the joy and knowledge of meditation. Success does not depend on factual knowledge. Throughout history there are numerous examples of both uneducated and highly educated people who have achieved the highest states of meditation. We all have access to the mind potential, whether rich or poor, intellectual or non-intellectual, young or old, male or female. The main requirements for delving into the mind and realizing its potential are aspiration and practice. This is the way to experience the bliss and transcendental knowledge of meditation.
As we have already mentioned, there are two principal methods of inducing meditation: passive and active. Active methods are practised during everyday life, when one walks, talks, eats and performs daily functions. This is the realm of karma yoga and bhakti yoga. The aim is to be in a state of meditation while actively involved in worldly events. This does not imply that actions are performed indifferently, or that the aspirant walks around in a sleeping state. Far from it. The person will perform his activities with greater enthusiasm, efficiency and energy.
Passive methods to induce meditation are the ones that we normally term meditational practices. This is the method of raja yoga. A fixed period of time is set aside daily solely for the purpose of introspection. These methods can also lead to meditation outside the actual time of practising the passive techniques. In other words, the state of meditation carries over into everyday life. It is this form of passive practice that we will discuss here.