Sunday, 8 June 2014

Psychic Symbol and Ishta Devata : a meditation tool

A Psychic Symbol, sometimes called and Ishta Devata, is a tool for meditation.  It is a symbol or image of your choice that you use as an ‘anchor’ in your meditation.

When you meditate you can become carried away by the vast depths of the subconscious mind or the inner self.  It can be difficult to bring yourself out of this state.  By having an anchor point for the mind you give yourself something to focus on in order to ‘bring you back’ into the physical reality and the external world.

When choosing a psychic symbol it has to be something that has relevance or meaning to you.  It also has to be something that you can visualize with reasonable clarity.  It is important once you have chosen a symbol that you don’t change it. If you change your symbol it can become confusing for your mind and distracts you from the purpose of the symbol.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate.  Something as simple as a still candle flame or an inverted triangle, or a shining star is sufficient.  The image of a guru or deity can also be used.  Choose a symbol that feels right for you.  And keep it secret!  It will have a stronger resonance within you if it is something that is kept to yourself.

 An Ishta Devata is more of a spiritual symbol.  When your psychic symbol has a deep spiritual relevance it is an ishta devata.  An aspect of divinity, such as a God or Goddess or spiritual leader or guru can be an Ishta Devata.  You can choose your own Ishta Devata or it can be given to you by a guru, either in person or in a dream.

Both the Ishta Devata and/or the psychic symbol are very important tools in your meditation practice.  If you are regularly and sincerely practicing meditation you may like to spend some time choosing one.  You may find that there is a very obvious symbol for you to choose, or that there has been one appear in your dreams that you know is right for you.  Or it may be a bit of a challenge to uncover the right one.  If so, don’t over think it, and just let it emerge from your subconscious as it will.

It may be useful to sit quietly in meditation posture, close your eyes and gaze within.  Direct your gaze either into the dark space behind your forehead (Chidakasha) or into your heart space.   Practice visualizing a still candle flame, then some other symbols of your choice.  See each one as clearly as you are able.  See if there is one that stands out or just sits well with you.  Then hold your inner gaze on that symbol for as long as you are able.  To finish, allow your symbol to melt back into the darkness of your inner space.  Once you have your symbol, you can practice visualizing it as a short meditation on its own, and then you can use it at the end of each meditation practice, to bring you back to the physical reality and present moment.

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