We all handle stress in different ways, but have you tapped into the power of meditation? We hear so much about yoga, meditation and stress relief, we wanted to know what it was really all about. Can everyone do it? Should we?
We turned to Yogmata Keiko Aikawa, a highly regarded and well-respected Siddha Master (having achieved the ultimate stage of meditation and yoga.)
GalTime: In this busy world, could all of us benefit from meditation? Why?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa: The civilized world that we live in is conveniently filled with things that we perceive as necessary for us. But in actuality, we are thrown into disarray by our want of it. Thus, it constantly keeps our body and mind busy by reacting to it - which causes a state of tension. Even when you trying to get refreshed, you are using some type of object and there exists a subject matter that you are always dependent upon.
For instance, when you play games for pleasure, you are actually at the mercy of those games themselves. You might think that you are making your body and mind relaxed by playing games but this activity does not actually make you return to a true balanced state of oneself. By utilizing your body and mind as a tool, meditation is a practice that will assist you in achieving a deep, relaxed state of your mind.
When you meditate, you are not dependent on any material tools. Therefore, anybody can meditate anywhere and receive its blessing. Even children and the elderly can practice meditation as well.
What’s more, anybody can practice meditation anytime and anywhere. However, in order to practice it in a proper fashion, it is necessary to receive proper supervision from a master. Finally, by practicing meditation, it will assist you to bring more harmony to your mind and body, where a deep calm can be regained, your energy be charged and rejuvenated - which will ultimately serve you to restore your livelihood.
GalTime: Let's start with the basics. What do people need to know about meditation if they've never done it before but they want to learn?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：According to Himalayan teachings, first one meets with a master. Then, you receive an initiation and a blessing called Diksha from the master. The Diksha will purify the accumulated stress that is in one’s body and mind - dating from their past lives - which will help regain balance in your life. Additionally, the master will grant a mantra - a sound vibration which is part of the initiation of a secret meditation technique.
By chanting the mantra in your mind while meditating, it will detach you from your mind and make you become one with the divine vibrations. This vibration will purify your mind so you are lead to tranquility and a quiet, energetic state that resembles the bottom of the sea. People without masters are able to meditate by channeling to the noble existence in their mind.
GalTime: What should they know about the physical and mental commitment...and should there be goals and intentions set?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：When you try to direct your energy towards the right direction and make a resolution to do so, your energy will proceed towards that direction which will enhance its efficiency. Since your mind and body will be spiritually unified, it will proceed towards this aim, therefore the efficiency will become better.
Meditation will really set your mind free and remove you from being captivated by it. So, while you are making a commitment, it is not like trying to achieve a personal fortune or a commitment to satisfy your own ego but it is one that prays for peace or a longing for a higher dimensional happiness and it will enable you to use your energy in a way in which will also bring joy to your soul and shed your ego. Therefore, this sort of commitment is good for you.
However, if your determination is too egoistic, such thought will control your mind and end up crippling it.
When you have many of such perceived notions, your mind will be quite enslaved and adversely become tense from assumptions of feeling obliged to do certain things in certain ways.
Since we all live under the will of the great being, we should leave it under his discretion at all times. Also, with an entrusting mind towards the great being, in every single moment, live life without use of the mind and practice spiritual unification (or mental concentration). By committing to this notion and not being swayed by distractions, freely heading towards your purpose, it will come to you naturally if it is something necessary for you.
GalTime：What are some typical goals for meditation?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：The goal of meditation is enlightenment. By aiming to totally free your mind, a state of not being captivated by it, will result. That is called meditation. The objective that will become of meditation is to return to your true self and to aspire towards enlightenment. To strive for self-realization.
GalTime: What can one hope to achieve?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：To obtain the truth, one needs to understand the truth behind who they really are, to awaken to the truth and then so, attain it in the end. Before then, we are all ignorant about who we really are and because of that, are suffering by this notion. When you acknowledge that your true self is separate to your mind and grasp that it is ever changing based on the mechanism (or law of the universe), mind and body, you will be able to encounter your true self and then discern with the truth.
GalTime：Please talk a little about the power of meditation when it comes to reducing stress.
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：We constantly have desires to obtain many things and are captivated by this notion, thinking I want this and that. But once we possess it, we grow instantly bored of it and then the next desire is born. And due to the workings of our mind as such, it constantly holds us captive, thus making us feel insecure. Also, because we are bombarded by an abundance of information from the outside world, we are constantly immersed with deciding whether we like something or not. Due to all of this, tension or a sense of discomfort develops within us - which in the end, causes stress.
By practicing meditation, it is effective in relieving such tension from our minds. The holy vibrations are an energy similar to atomic energy so it has the mechanism to purify the mind in such a state.
GalTime：What are some of the proven benefits? Will the benefits be different for everyone and is it a direct correlation for what you put into it?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：Your ability to concentrate will intensify and your IQ or EQ will be elevated as well. Your mind won’t be swayed by emotions. You will grow more kind to others due to the nurturing of a loving heart. Also your perception will become more refined hence inspiration to many ideas will come out with ease, enabling one to invent, creatively assemble and formulate innovative things.
GalTime：Is meditation a practice that needs to be done daily?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：When you think of meditating daily, it might feel like it might be a burden but once it you make a habit of it, it will become a routine just like not brushing your teeth. By practicing little by little every day, it will become as if you are taking a vitamin for your soul. Meditation will all the more shorten your sleeping hours and those who meditate will be able to do things more efficiently than before. As a result, people who meditate daily utilize 24 hours as if they have 48 hours or so. They also feel as if they are more revitalized than before. Therefore, living each day will feel more productive. In the initial stages, practicing meditation may feel difficult - but since we all receive some sort of stress every day - by purifying it, it will help you to relax, thus it will enabling you to be transformed into a prosperous future.
GalTime：Are the benefits immediate? Are they short term?
Yogmata Keiko Aikawa:：There are some people who benefit quickly, but it depends on the individual who practices it. Since it will lead you to a stage of transformation, the effect will be constant in the long term. If the person continues to practice meditation consistently, it will have an eternal effect on them. However, if one does not practice under the supervision of a true master, it may be a waste of time.
The first non-Indian woman to realize the ultimate state of samadhi, Yogmata Keiko Aikawa is an author, public speaker and highly regarded and well-respected Siddha Master (having achieved the ultimate stage of meditation and yoga). Her endless contributions to helping humanity have resulted in the foreign governments acknowledgment of her efforts and for this reason has been bestowed the title of "Mahamandaleshwar” (great master of the universe) by the largest Hindu monastic order, “Juna Akara".