There`s more to meditation than just closing ones eyes and an understanding of this technique demands an understanding of our mental realm. The subtle state of mind, which is the ultimate stage of meditation, requires a tremendous amount of energy to reach. An absolute harmony between our gross physical realm, sensual realm and our life energy is the prerequisite of a meditative state of mind.

Traditional perceptions of our mental make-up are uncommonly useful in understanding the workings of the mind. According to ayurveda and yoga, both the mind and the body are made up of the `Five Great Elements` (Panchabhutas) of earth (prithvi), water (jal), fire (agni or tej), air (vayu) and ether or space (akash).

But in spite of such composition, they have absolutely opposite elemental structures. While the body is made up of the heavier elements of earth and water (the ayurvedic kapha or phlegmatic humoral type), it functions through the lighter elements of fire (pitta or heat humoral type) and air (vata or vital energy humor). The pitta, fire or heat of the body controls all digestive processes and the vata, air or vital energy lends its spark to the nervous system.

The mind, meanwhile, is composed of air and ether (vata humor)—the lighter elements, which lend mobility and pervasiveness to the mind. And our mental functions proceed through the heavier elements of fire, water and earth (pitta—heat and kapha—phlegm). The element of fire lends reason and perception to the mind, while water and earth lends it emotion and physical identification. But our mental functions proceed through the heavier elements of fire, water and earth. While fire lends reason and perception to the mind, water and earth lends it emotion and physical identification respectively.

Unlike the phlegmatic body, in substance our minds resemble ether—formless and all pervading. And in motion it resembles air—penetrating, constantly in flux, effervescent and unpredictable!