To pursue dhyana process in right earnest, we need to prepare ourselves well by creating a favourable inner climate. That calls for being aware of certain inescapable realities. First, it is important to understand that dhyana does not call for trying hard to concentrate. But following the process, however, with time, concentration power does develop. The process does not warrant trying to forcefully stop our thoughts immediately when the process is taken up. Here it needs to be appreciated that mind is invariably loaded with a huge crowd of thoughts, difficult to be restrained to one’s asking. The inlaid thoughts will continue to knock us from within. So, one is bound to be confronted with distraction, and even more during dhyana. Following withdrawal of senses from the outer world, the thought impressions dwelling in our subconscious memory come into active play. So, as you begin, you are bound to be flooded with thoughts, and therefore, needs to be accepted as a necessary part of the process. We just need to train our minds to remain disengaged from them. It is pertinent to note here that you get affected only when you pay attention to something. But following the process in right earnest, it does eventually drive away all inconsequential thought impressions out of our reckoning, that otherwise keep repeatedly chasing us from within.
Second, the process does not call for having any religious or spiritual belief either. Even atheist and agnostics can pursue the process and draw benefit as the process is all about securing orderly functioning of mind. Religious or spiritual belief does, however, help invoke one’s emotions, which in turn, induces a sense of love towards our desired destination. That helps pursue the process with relative ease.
Third, it needs to be appreciated that we are all born imperfect, and therefore, fallible. Our impressionable minds usually get caught up in the tempting influences of the glare and glitter of the seeming world, often illusionary. Following which, we are tempted to make it our dream destination. In the process, unmindfully, we often make undesirable choices, and evidently to one’s detriment. The impressions thereof, remain in our minds, often bringing in a sense of guilt. For, at the base level remains the ideal on which life stands, which reminds us of our own fault line. It would be, however, desirable not to carry any sense of guilt for some wrong done earlier. That happened in the past, which has now become inconsequential. Better try to ensure that the mistakes do not recur through repeated auto suggestion. Otherwise, you may fall into a guilt trap, which may otherwise add to your negative imprints, already overloaded from before. Consequently, it may retard your efforts.
Fourth, it needs to be appreciated that we live in a transitory world, which is subject to continued change. We, therefore, need to accept the inevitable and accordingly be prepared to wilfully adjust to the callings of varying circumstances. And as no movement is possible without meeting resistance, the process will face challenges in the way. Without getting unnerved, one would need to continue the efforts. We are very much empowered to intelligently deal with the challenges coming our way. We just need to be alert enough to consciously invoke our indwelling empowerment tool - the faculty of discriminate intelligence - well in time and put them to use. This may help intelligently negotiate with challenges coming our way with relative ease and comfort.
Before we begin dhyana process, one needs to firm up the mind and make a resolve to pursue it in right earnest. Second, have faith in one’s own self, and induce a sense of love towards what you are pursuing. It will not simply motivate you to carry forward the task in right earnest, but also make you put in your whole. Unless you love doing what you intend to, you may fail to put in qualitative effort, nor would you enjoy it.
Having, thus, created favourable inner climate, it is time now to have a detailed look at the eight-fold path. First in line, comes Yama. This calls for consciously keeping away from all unseemly conducts - negative and immoral in nature. Then comes Niyama, which calls for submitting oneself to a moral discipline, as guided by our societal conduct norms, Guru, and the scriptures. In this context, it is pertinent to note that unless the intent is pure, and the means adopted are right, one would lack the spirit necessary to carry forward the process in right earnest.