The following is a method cut from a larger writing project — a pamphlet follow-up to my previously published “Tantric Conjure” from Hadean Press. It is not unique to me; it is one version of a core method of “contemplation of the Lord” as found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. I had to remove it from the pamphlet for reasons of space, but thought that it was worth sharing in some form for the benefit of others.
After practicing the above method [that of inner fire] for some time — weeks or months, not hours or days — you may find it useful to take up the worship of the personal God in the area of the Heart. How will you know it’s time to move on to this method? Well, if you feel a call or attraction to it, that is more than sufficient. Over the course of your kindling of the Fire, you may find that a light spontaneously appears inside your head. Do not try to force this or actively visualize it; you will either see it or you will not. When this occurs, you will know that your Fire is well kindled. At that time, you may also choose to add this practice, or the one which follows.
Take up your meditation posture. If you have a good bell, ring it once and allow its honey-like sound to fade naturally before setting it back down. Let your mind follow the sound into silence. Light a candle or lamp and a stick of good, natural incense; do so in a spirit of offering to the highest or deepest Divinity you can conceptualize.
Bring the sense of that Divinity into the center of your chest: behind your sternum at the level of your heart, exactly between your breast bone and your spinal column. Visualize, as vividly as you can, your chosen deity in that space, emanating a pure light throughout the infinite space in your Heart. If you have a mantra for that deity, internally chant it in time with your breath. If you do not, you may instead mentally intone “Om” or “Hrīm” if the deity in question is male/neuter/nonbinary or female/feminine, respectively.
Spend your entire practice session (30 – 60 minutes, if at all possible) simply resting in contemplation of this name and form in the vast cave of your Heart. Know without words that this Being is the Self of your self, the Soul of your soul, the Heart of your heart. The Lord, in whatever form, is the Ever-free Whom we always actually are even when we are distracted and ignorant. Contemplation of this Being is the contemplation of your own Self, Who you genuinely are beyond all faulty perception and misapprehension.
Examples of suitable choices for this practice are Lord Śiva, Mā Durgā, Lord Vishnu, the Tathāgata Buddha, Jesus Christ, or one’s own Guru or a great saint. This vision of the Lord, of the personal God, need only be a being in whom the devotee perceives perfect detachment, purity, and compassion. Patañjali, the sage who wrote the Yoga Sutras, describes the Lord quite simply as a unique Being Who has never been enslaved to karma or Klesha, Who is endowed with the power to mold Nature by pervading Her, and Who is infinitely compassionate toward those souls who are bound by karma and Klesha. As such, the devotee may worship the Lord under any number of names and forms. This is not the place to go into the intricacies of Hindu or Tantric polytheism, animism, and the like; if you are a so-called “hard polytheist”, know that this view of the Lord does not demand that “all gods are one God”, but instead that the Divinity Who rests beyond the limits of manifestation does not care about which name and form or individual deity the devotee feels most comfortable with for the purpose of diving deeply inside.
Lord Śiva is known as the Lord Who is easily pleased. As such, the Lord may be internally worshiped as Śiva by anyone, even if you are not initiated into a specific mantra or ritual or lineage. His universal mantra is “Om Namah Śivāya”. He may be visualized as having radiant skin covered in holy ash, a vibrant blue glow in His throat, sitting in deep meditation in front of His fearsome trident, His eyes slightly open and mouth curled into a gentle smile. He has a head of long, matted hair in which He wears the crescent Moon as a crown. The vertically-oriented third eye in His forehead is closed, but not squeezed shut.