In this workaday world, man’s consciousness is almost always engrossed in earthly things, people, mundane situations and temporal feelings. Rarely does he transcend these, for he has no knowledge of that which is spiritual or transcendental. Only during deep sleep is his consciousness at rest, to an extent. The depth of the feeling of rest or relaxation depends on how much his consciousness is withdrawn from the world or, in other words, how much he is lost in sleep. Even if his organs of perception are shut to the outside world, he will not ‘enjoy’ his sleep if he dreams of things that are worldly; he would say that he had a disturbed sleep. However, a person practising meditation can withdraw his mind from his body and the world even when awake.
When a person recalls pleasant memories, has elevated thoughts or remembers people with whom he has cordial relations, he feels happy. The more deeply he is absorbed in these thoughts and memories, the greater is his happiness, and at that moment he feels detached from his surroundings.
Spiritual or transcendental yoga is based on the above two principles: One’s consciousness is detached from this world and is focused on or absorbed in the transcendental.
To illustrate this, let us see what happens when we think of the sun. The mind, awareness or consciousness goes to that orb radiating light and heat which is called the sun. Similarly, in meditation, with a little practice one can take one’s mind to the soul world and see there, with the eye of the intellect, the sentient shining star that God is, and meditate on His attributes. When one is absorbed in this experience, it leads to bliss, which gives the deepest experience of relaxation.