How Important are Meditation Techniques?
Meditation techniques, however necessary, are themselves aids to meditation but not
meditation itself which is beyond all techniques. True meditation
occurs when the mind is empty of its concerns and filled only with
awareness of the Divine and Universal, which pervades all the forms
that it sees.
Techniques work to harmonize
the mind and body to allow for meditation to proceed without
obstruction. Yogic postures (asanas) help calm and relax the body.
Yogic breathing practices (pranayama) help deepen and calm the
breath. Mantra, visualization and concentration techniques help
control and focus the mind and draw it within. Then meditation,
which is the natural state of the mind, can flow more easily.
However if one merely does
the techniques but does not create the time and space for meditation
itself, one has only laid the foundation but not built the house.
One has not yet gone far on the path of meditation.
On the other hand, if one
tries to directly meditate without having done the preliminary
practices it is like trying to build a house without a foundation.
It is unlikely to endure. The beauty of the Yoga system (Raja Yoga)
is that it provides all the appropriate techniques as well as
showing their limitations and not encouraging us to make them