When your mind is calm you should start to use a psychic symbol. You must formulate a pattern of consciousness which acts as a base on which you can fix your awareness. This is essential if you want to make headway in meditative practice. When an astronaut explores space, he always relates his position to the earth or the sun. It is the same with the exploration of inner space. One must relate one’s awareness to a symbol. One must firmly anchor one’s attention on a psychic symbol in the same way that a barnacle attaches itself to the bottom of a ship, or a leech that fixes itself to your skin. Your awareness, which normally drifts from one thought to another, must be centred around one form. All the different parts of your being have to be integrated. All the mental forces must be moulded around a symbol. When you can maintain unceasing awareness of that one symbol for a few minutes without displacement by other thoughts, then you will be launched into the state of meditation.
When choosing your symbol, bear the following points in mind:
- Your symbol can be external or internal. However, as your perception becomes more refined you should utilize a subtle inner psychic symbol.
- Your symbol should be such that your mind automatically identifies with it. That is, the symbol should attract and hold your attention without too much effort.
- Do not change your symbol. If you change it, then the mind will have to adapt to and mould itself around a new symbol. This takes time and effort.
- Try to develop the ability to clearly visualize a sharp image of the symbol in front of the closed eyes. With practise it should arise spontaneously.
- If you do not have a specific symbol, then practise meditative techniques like ajapa japa etc. where there is mantra and breath awareness8. When you are ready you will obtain a symbol.
The psychic symbol in kriya yoga
Kriya yoga is an all-encompassing system. It leads the practitioner through perception of progressively more subtle layers of the mind. In the earlier kriyas (practices), one is aware of more gross focal points of attention such as chakra trigger points, breathing and so forth. In the later kriyas, to be introduced towards the end of this course, awareness is fixed on more subtle inner focal points represented by symbols of the chakras. Then, in the final stages, one fixes awareness on the lingam. You do not have to choose any symbol; the final symbol arises spontaneously as an integral part of the structure of kriya yoga. This final symbol, the lingam, leads directly to dhyana.