A Meditation on the Universal Self

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Takeaway: This meditation on the universal Self will bring you closer to Brahman, your true state of being.
A Meditation on the Universal Self

Meditating on the Self, the Witness, the Higher You, can be a transformation journey to healing. You can tap into and discover the Divine as the sacred source of wisdom that’s all around and within you.

In this meditation, we will be making time to connect with Creation. Let’s witness ourselves in concert with all and everything that exists - the ultimate source of reality.

To begin, start by finding a quiet place in your home, preferably one that’s uninterrupted. If there’s no such place in your home that’s okay, too. What’s important here is that your body is comfortable as you meditate. You’ll want to sit cross-legged if possible, with your hips slightly above your knees. This is why yogis sit on meditation cushions when they meditate: It helps keep everything in alignment, because you’ll also want to sit tall with your spine extended, your neck long, and your shoulders resting down the back. (Learn why in the Health Benefits of Sitting Properly for Meditation.)

If you’d like to work with an essential oil to support your meditation practice, you can use sandalwood. This essential oil has been used for centuries to help facilitate concentration in meditation as well as attune oneself to higher states of consciousness. To do this, simply have a mix of sandalwood and a carrier oil like jojoba oil or coconut oil on hand. Rub a bit of this mixture into your temples, your third eye, behind the ears, along the jaw line and on your heart chakra.

Close your eyes and begin to relax deeply. Feel as if your eyes are melting into their sockets. Imagine them softening. You may wish to move your neck around in a few circles if things feel stiff or tense. Place the palms of your hands on your knees, resting in gyan mudra, with your forefingers and thumbs touching. Palms can face down if you need to ground, or up if you need to receive. (Read more in The Best of The Mudras.)

Take a long, slow deep breath in, and gently let it all go. Again, take a deep inhalation, and gently exhale everything out. You can visualize taking in the good on your inhale, and exhaling any negative thoughts or feelings that might be feeling sticky. Inhale slowly and exhale, releasing tension. Feel your body and mind gradually beginning to soften.

Now, let’s get started by asking ourselves some soulful questions. Let’s start with, “Who am I?” and “Who am I, really?” Continue to ask this question of yourself as you sit quietly with your eyes closed, breathing gently and softly. Ask yourself the question in your mind’s eye over and over again until it becomes like a mantra. "Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?" (Read about the answer in So'ham. I Am That.)

You might find answers flowing to you or you may find nothing at all. Simply observe what comes up. This is an ideal time to establish a dialogue between your soul and the Universe. You might ask the question, “Am I just a bunch of molecules held by the flesh that is my body during my lifetime? Or am I something more? Am I something deeper?" (Continue reading about these and similar thoughts in Is There More to this Life?)

If we go deeper still – to our soul, or what we call our Atman, then deeper still, to the core of our very being – we arrive at pure, unbounded consciousness; what yogis call Spirit, Brahman, Godhead. We are not in the world: The world is in us. As is the Cosmic body, so is the personal body. As is the Cosmic mind, so is the personal mind. This is an ancient Indian saying that is at the heart of yoga.

So, we’re not a being in the universe. The entire universe rests within us. With this in mind, ask the question again, “Who am I?” Allow answers to bubble up. Don’t judge or criticize what comes up. Simply let it be. Try going beyond traditional responses like, “I am a parent, I am a daughter, I am a teacher, I am a friend…” Expand your understanding of who you are, knowing always that the Universe rests within you.

Close your eyes and silently repeat the Sanskrit mantra, Yat pinde tat Brahmande, which translates to, “The universe rests within.” As you repeat the mantra, you may drift away to thoughts or sounds or other goings on in your environment. That’s okay. When it happens, and it will, just come back to the mantra. Let this meditation be a gentle drifting back and forth between your thoughts and the mantra.

Imagine that the entire universe is inside your heart. As you breathe in, feel it expand. As you breathe out, feel it grow even more deeply into who you are. Your Self is not separate from the universe. You ARE the universe.

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Posted by Aimee Hughes

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Aimee is a yogi and writer who's been practicing yoga daily for nearly two decades. Since a journey to India when she was 20, the practice has been her constant companion. She loves exploring the vast and seemingly endless worlds of yoga. Aimee has also written a book called, "The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex," available on Amazon. Full Bio

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