Meditation – How to Develop Virtues?

Examine your character. Pick some distinct defect in it. Find out its opposite. Let us say that you suffer from irritability. The opposite of irritability is patience. Try to develop this virtue by meditation on the abstract virtue of patience. Regularly, every morning, sit down in Padma or Siddha Asana in a solitary room for half an hour and begin to think on patience, its value, its practice under provocation, taking one point one day, another on another day and thinking as steadily as you can, recalling the mind when it wanders. Think of yourself as perfectly patient, a model of patience and end with a vow: “This patience which is my true self, I will feel and show from today.”

For a few days, probably, there will be no change perceptible. You will still feel and show irritability. Go on practicing steadily every morning. Presently, as you say an irritable thing, the thought will flash into your mind, unbidden: “I should have been patient.” Still go on in practice.

Soon, the thought of patience will arise with the irritable impulse and the outer manifestation will be checked. Still go on practicing. The irritable impulse will grow feebler and feebler until you find that irritability has disappeared and patience has become your normal attitude towards annoyances. In this manner, you can develop various virtues as sympathy, self-restraint, purity, humility, benevolence, nobility, generosity, etc.

What Happens During Meditation?

In meditation, new grooves are formed in the brain and the mind moves upwards in the new spiritual grooves. When the mind becomes steady in meditation, the eyeballs also become steady. A Yogi whose mind is calm will have a steady eye. There will be no winking at all. The eyes will be lustrous, red or pure white. When you enter into very deep, silent meditation, the breath will not come out of the nostrils. There may be occasional slow movement of the lungs and the abdomen.

During normal exhalation the air comes out 16 digits. When the mind gets concentrated, it will become less and less. It will come to 15 then 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 and so on. From the nature of the breathing, you can infer the degree of concentration of an aspirant. Watch the breath very carefully.

Man tries to grasp the abstract through forms. After the mind has been purified, an abstract image is formed in the purified mind by listening to spiritual discourses, holy scriptures and Soul Thinking. This abstract image melts later on into deep meditation. What is left behind is pure Existence alone.

In Nididhyasana or profound and continued meditation, thinking ceases. There is only one idea of “Aham Brahmasmi (I am Soul, I am Infinite).” When this idea also is given up, Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Thoughtless State ensues. Just as salt melts in water, the Sattvic mind melts in silence in Soul – its substratum.


Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda