Meditation here along the banks of Mother Ganges is astonishing. In a chicken or an egg type of question, one wonders whether the energy of so many saints meditating for thousands of years has created the energy of this place, or whether the energy of this place has created so many saints. Sitting on the banks of the Ganges with the foot hills of the Himalayas at your back, you feel the flow and surge of the Ganges washing away your subconscious garbage. It is easy to fall into deep meditation on her banks. For me, the roar of chatter in my head is silenced by the roar of her ceaseless flow. North of Rishikesh are beaches where you can swim privately and peacefully in her clean, cool waters. No matter how tired you are from your hike there, you emerge refreshed and full of grace with some to spare.
I want to share the power of this with all of you, no matter where you are in the world, in the form of a guided Ganga meditation. Mata Ganga, or Mother Ganges as they call her here, is too powerful to be confined to the limits of a river.
Get into a cool shower, bath, or pool of water. Shut your eyes and slow your breath. Inhale for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts and then exhale for 5 counts. If you are more advanced at pranayama, build your times up to 20 seconds for each cycle. Focus your inner gaze upon the third eye, the point between your eyebrows which holds the seat of your higher intuition. On the inhale, silently chant "Sat" (pronounced like "but") and on the exhale chant "Nam". Sat nam means true name or true identity. It is a powerful mantra that slows the pulse of your brain down to allow it to refocus on the truth of its own nature, its true self. Repeating "sat nam" while focusing on your breath allows you to set aside this human drama and remember the truth of your soul, which is love, which is light. Allow your breath to guide your heart, deepening with each inhale into your heart, and deepening with each exhale into the water.
Let the power of the Ganges fill you. She is gentle as the dawn and as powerful as an atom bomb. Feel her cold fingers massaging your heart. She can be icy, but only to put out the fire of pain your ego has created in you. Her current is strong, but only out of mercy for you, for any second you spend not in your highest bliss. Feel your lungs expand slowly, filling with the grace of her waters as they swell in the winter melt-off. Feel your lungs contract as you breathe out, watching her waters dip in the dry seasons, exposing the polished stones at your core that make you grounded, centered and able to withstand the challenges that come your way. Breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes and then imagine yourself floating in her arms. Her waters are washing away all those parts of you that aren't really you, all those things that prevent you from knowing your true self. She washes away judgment, cleanses pain, heals sorrow. There is no such thing as a broken heart in her embrace. Things you have done and things that have been done unto you become labels on boxes that are packed up and shipped away downstream. Things done and undone, thought and unthought are all removed. What remains is your Sat Nam, your true identity.
Feel yourself suspended in her waters as you were suspended in the waters of your mother's womb. You are full of unborn promise, potent with latent potential. Your entire life is ahead of you, a life longer and bigger than you can dream of from your small home under your mother's heart. Focus on your breath. Feel yourself inhale prana, the energetic essence of life. In the womb, we survive for 9 months without using our lungs at all. The yogis believe we survive on the prana of our mother. Take the prana from the water and use that to grow yourself into a new human, into a new version of you. Become Sat Nam. Feel the sweetness of the water as, even as it is cold against your skin. When you are ready, emerge from the water and rub yourself vigorously with a towel, chanting "Waheguru", which means the experience of the awesomeness of God. Feel invigorated and refreshed, clean and reborn. Say a simple prayer of "Thank You" to Mother Ganges for her love and her healing. Vibrate the infinite for the rest of the day.