Dhyana Meditation: An Introduction To The Meaning And Practice Of Dhyana

In this guide: Learn how to do Dhyana Meditation technique, the history of dhyana and what it means, and discover ways to add dhyana meditation to your practice. 


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All things are linked with one another, and this oneness is sacred – Marcus Aerilius





The Origins Of Dhyana Meditation

There’s  heated debate the origins of Dhyana meditation, just as there are heated debates about meditation.

Some believe that Dhyana meditation techinque is a Buddhist practice that was founded alongside mindfulness. Others argue that Dhyana was first mentioned in the Hindu text the Upanishads.

In the Upanishads, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to “fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty as a warrior and establish Dharma”. This led to the development of Hindu dharma. Many historians believe it was in this conversation between prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna that Dhyana was first mentioned, where it becomes a synthesis of other Hindu and Yogic practices.


Many believe the term Dhyana was first mentioned in the discussions between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna, which is depicted in the Hindu classic the Upanishads


But just exactly what does Dhyana mean?

Dhyana means “Deeper awareness of oneness”. When you practice dhyana meditation you train your mind to perceive yourself and the world as one. This is achieved via a special meditation practice. In Dhyana meditation the meditator is aware of only two things: The origin of consciousness and the object on which they are meditating. We will look at this in detail in just a moment.



An Introduction To Dhyana Meditation

Imagine that you are made of three points. The first point is the origin. This is the very core from which consciousness stems. It is like the sun. It is the creator.

The second point is your mind body. Here you may be aware of thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings are like clouds that prevent the sun from breaking through.

The third and final part is reality itself. If you are meditating on an object, on your breath for instance, this third part will be that object. In a breathing meditation the third part is the breath. Likewise, in a candle meditation the third part is the candle.

When practicing Dhyana meditation technique you are only aware of points 1 and 2. You are aware of the origin of your own consciousness, and you are aware of the object on which you are meditating.


Dhyana meditation is different to other meditation techniques because in dhyana meditation consciousness is directly connected to the object.


By removing the second point (thoughts and feeling) we put consciousness in direct contact with the object of meditation.

This is Dhyana meditation: direct oneness with the object of meditation.

When practicing Dhyana you will not be aware of the fact that you are meditating, you will only be aware of your consciousness and the object of meditation.



Dhyana is an advanced meditation practice. It is not a god practice for newcomers. If you have only been practicing meditation for a year or so, you must begin by practicing samatha meditation.

This is very important.

Samatha meditation really must be practiced before Dhyana, because unless you have a  calm and focused the mind there is no chance of achieving a true state of oneness.

You might notice that you have already experienced dhyana even if you do not meditate

There are many times in life when you will already have felt a state similar to Dhyana.

If you’re a parent, for instance, I’m sure you can vivid recall what it felt like to hold your baby in your arms for the first time. Your precious child took your breath  away and removed you from your self. You likely felt a true moment of Dhyana, of oneness, at that time. Think back to those times. Then you’ll get a good idea of the meaning of Dhyana.

Love can lead to true moments of the dhyana state too. When we are truly in love with someone and we make love, we often feel a moment of absolute oneness, as though we have merged with our lover.

Moments of supreme beauty can also create oneness. I experienced such a moment during the death of my old cat, Tibby. She was 19, which is old for a cat. She had been weakening. Her old eyes were barely open. My mother and I knew that Tibby was close to death from the sound of her thin and weak breathing and the film over her eyes.

Tibby had always been my mother’s cat. They spent so much time together. They truly were very close family. Just before Tibby drew her last breath she fought for energye and with her last gasp of energy she managed to crawl up onto my mother’s lap. That was the very, very last thing she did: taking a seat on my mother’s lap, choosing to die with the person she’d spent all her life with. It was a truly beautiful moment. At the time of Tibby’s death I was not myself. I experienced a moment of profound oneness with her..


A photo of me with my old cat, Tibby. R.I.P. You will be forever loved.

There will have been many times when you naturally experienced dhyana meditation state in your life. One time for me was when my old cat Tibby past away.

There are moments when you will experience the state even if you don’t meditate. Dhyana meditation gives you the control to create those moments of oneness. And once you are able to create that state, to remove yourself from your self, you’ll gain tremendous insight into the true nature of reality. And that is what Dhyana meditation technique is all about.


How to do Dhyana meditation technique

Many people believe that dhyana and meditation are the same thing.

That’s not surprising.

They are very similar. Both involve focusing the mind on an object. The difference is that when meditating we focus on at least one of the senses. Dhyana does not involve the senses it involves only the mind itself. The mind is focused on the resting place, on the origin, on “the centre of being”.

When meditating there is also a sense of direction.

If you are inwardly quiet and investigate what happens when your mind focuses on an object, you’ll see that the mind generally reaches out for that object. This is not the case when practicing Dhyana. In Dhyana the mind is still. It is as though the object of meditation is merging with the mind at the centre of origin, rather than the mind reaching out for the object. This is a subtle but very important difference, because it is effortless. Meditation involves concentrated effort to focus on an object. But Dhyana meditation is an effortless focus, a focus of stillness.

You may begin dhyana meditation practice as you would begin other meditations. Focus the mind on an object. But then detach. Do not reach out for the object. Allow the mind to be still. Allow the mind and the object of meditation to become one, as though there is no distance between them.

Imagine the mind and the object of meditation resting together in stillness.

The difference between meditation and dhyana is oneness. In dhyana we are made one, absolutely, with the object. We are not the person sitting at the edge of ocean watching the waves. We are the waves themselves. We are not the meditator. We are the object.


 Do not sit at the edge of the sea watching the waves. Aim instead to become the waves themselves.


If you would like to know how dhyana works with other meditation techniques, use my guide to Meditation For Enlightenment.

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Paul Martin Harrison

Im on a mission to spread spirituality and enlightenment. How? By writing and teaching. You guys asked me to write a book that will teach you how to meditate properly and how to find enlightenment. Guess what? The book is out now. It's called Welcome To Silence : A Practical Guide To Mindfulness And Meditation.