I recently began reading the Radiance Sutras, a wonderful translation of the Tantric text known as the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, with guidance on how to meditate with them, written by Lorin Roche.  Roche is a renowned meditation teacher, and the opening chapter contained a revelation for me.  He discusses, both in his book and his multiple websites, the importance of choosing a meditation technique in line with our Svarasa.
Like many Sanskrit words, Svarasa has many translations. Roche sums it up as this: “One’s own (unadulterated) juice or essence, natural flavor, one’s own inclination, the feeling for one’s people, instinct of self-preservation”  In order to have the deepest, juiciest meditation practice, we need to develop techniques in line with our own essence.
If you’ve tried meditation in the past, but found it difficult, it may not be you! You may be trying the wrong technique. The good news is that there are thousands of meditation techniques out there! The bad news is, most of them may not fit you just right. The important thing is to explore, and realize there are many options out there.  If you’re trying a technique and find that it doesn’t work, don’t feel like you’re a failure if you need to move on.  Exploring may just lead you deeper into your practice.  As time goes on, we may find something that used to work for us no longer does.  Think about your best friend from elementary school-they may no longer be the perfect fit for you that they once were!  Instead of being frustrated at this time, explore other techniques until you find another good fit.
So the real question is…..how do we find that good fit?  When I am working as a physical therapist, one way I address my patient’s svarasa is by contemplating their learning style.  Are they kinesthetic, visual, auditory, verbal?  I am a kinesthetic learner, which means I prefer to use my body and sense of touch to learn.
With this in mind, I recently changed my meditation style focused more on feeling the caress of the inhale and exhale in my lungs. I found this held my attention more than the mantra I had been repeating. If you are  prefer music and sound, you may be an auditory learner.  Seek meditation styles that work with music or sound. If you prefer to use words, you may try mantra meditation. If you are visual, using pictures, images, and spatial understanding, try visualizing your sixth or seventh chakras.
For many options on meditation techniques, look on one of Roche’s websites here:
Enjoy your exploration!
~ Michelle Downing

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