We saw in other writeup (https://hinduismuniversalreligion.com/being-a-hindu/paths-of-spiritual-progress/raj-dhyan-yoga/wandering-mind/), that we need to do abhyasa (practice) and Vairagya (non-attachment) to get better at Meditation.
But, how should we do abhayas? Is there any help available for it?
Katha Upanishad gives one of the best advices on how to do abhayas.
यच्छेद्वाङ्मनसी प्राज्ञस्तद्यच्छेज्ज्ञान आत्मनि ।ज्ञानमात्मनि महति नियच्छेत्तद्यछेच्छान्त आत्मनि ।। (1.3.13)
We should merge sensory organs into mana, mana into intelligence (buddhi or reasoning), intelligence into the self and self into universal peaceful self, and that’s how we reach samadhi.
Bouncer right… Don’t worry it’s a bouncer for everyone the first time. In order to understand what all this ‘merging’ is all about, let’s see what makes meditation difficult.
The first obstacles to meditation are external things that our senses pick, like sound, smell, things we see, touch, and taste.
We can avoid ‘seeing’ or ‘tasting’ by closing our eyes and mouth, but how about someone talking, or mouthwatering smell of food, or an ant walking on our body?
All these are mostly unavoidable, right. Then what should we do in those cases?
You guessed it right, we need to ‘control senses’, but how should we control senses?
Remember, what happens when our mind is distracted? Even though someone is talking to us we don’t hear it, right? Or even if something is in front of us but we still don’t see it, right?
So basically, the distracted mind is the best way to control senses. That means we need to get our mind ‘intentionally distracted’ to control the senses, and, that’s exactly what it means by ‘merging sensory organs into mana’, i.e, let mana overpower the senses.
But, How do we ‘intentionally distract’ our mind? That’s where we are asked to chant ’Om’ or favorite diety’s name, strotra, etc. Some people even use music/songs anything else that helps to distract the mind from senses.
Now, as part of Abhayas, we have to keep doing this every day, for a long period of time, and slowly we see that we will be able to ignore sensory disturbances even without any support, and that’s when we graduate Level-1 of meditation.
All the Best!