The number of people who become enamoured with the idea of using the above mentioned aids to a deeper meditation will run into difficulty attaining their goal.
What a great confusion has arisen in the world of Yoga as to who is developed or who is a Master, or how can one attain samadhi, and what is the best way to develop a deep meditation.
I have known so many people in their late years who have spent their entire lifetime trying to attain - not only samadhi, but a really deep meditation where sense of ego self has dissolved into SELF itself.
It is not to say, no matter what means are used, that pleasant and even conscious lifting meditations will not occur from time to time, but it seems forever that these adherents are trying to attain which is always beyond their grasp - samadhi.
We as a race of modern people have learned an awful lot through science.
Some of these things have to do with ingesting various externals into our bodies to allow the body to function better, or to heal itself. There are times when these externals are definitely needed, but when taken to the extreme, the reverse of their action begins to take place.
A simple example is antibiotics. When administered to excess they breaks down the immune system, so that a new generation of antibiotic is needed to ward of the diseases that have now become immune to the original.
Where have all our natural defenses gone?
Where has our inherent intelligence gone?
We once knew when we became ill, like any animal which would refuse food, would sleep and allow the bodies defenses to heal that illness. That is extreme I realize, but somewhere along the way we have allowed that which "appears" to be easier, can in the end wind up only to make us weaker and dependent.
The body-mind curative abilities give up when we interject any substance to alleviate something which nature has already given us the warning signs of.
An example of this are the billions of antacids sold over the counter. We get heartburn because we have eaten the wrong type of food. This is an acute signal. It becomes chronic when we ignore the signal and take the antacid, while continuing eating the same types of food. The body-mind intelligence says "well I give up. Let the drug do the work." Any chance of rectifying the situation naturally now becomes very difficult indeed.
It is much the same in meditation. We are surrounded by elements which affect us and yes are even effective in aiding our meditations, but on whatever level you may think, by administering to the body an outside agent, which gives momentary enhancement to meditation, in the long run, the body-mind consciousness loses the ability to dive deeper without those aids.
It just makes sense doesn't it, that it takes total self willed clarity to subdue the ego in order to merge with SELF. It is all SELF.
Many Yogis smoke hash in order to induce their deeper meditations, and will go away being satisfied with what they have gained by it, and all their life time will extol the benefits of that or some other powerful drug to "Open Up" one's mind. It is quite laughable when in truth meditation is used to close down ones mind. It is the No-Mind state that is ultimately achieved with proper meditations.
What kind of consciousness can exist in this no mind state?
Surely not good feelings, for they are of this state of consciousness which we already know. Surely not expanded, for we can know that also from time to time without meditation. This kind of consciousness is called in Yoga, impure consciousness, because it has to do with the attributes of opposites, of feelings, sensations, likes and dislikes, pain and joy.
Developing your meditation to the point where one attains samadhi in its experiential state of no-mind, is called Pure Consciousness - without attributes. Can it be explained - of course not. Patanjali tries to by saying it gives the experience of Satchitananda, but really we can go no further than that - until of course you yourself experience it.
So rely on no externals for your meditation - no cute tricks - no gems or herbs.
What a Yogi should rely on is a clean and free body kept clean and pure with food (sattwic food) and exercise. Now then he can rely on SELF to guide him inwards.
The reason why most Yogis do not rely on the Atman is because they have not made contact yet. They have not become one with SELF. They don't realize that everything is within. That's why they take thing from without.
Well Yoga gives all sorts of methods to build up a strong bank account of WILL. WILL is the Atman in action. You activate SELF when you will the ego to be subdued by certain disciplines.
If you HAVE to discipline yourself, that will cause strife and effort. This is not good. One must first through Gnana Yoga "see" with absolutely clarity that one should love (karma) the action (Kriya, Hatha, Meditation, etc) before undertaking it. Do not do Yoga if is effortful. Love makes everything easy as eating the proverbial apple pie.
To sit down in meditation or stand and walk for that matter, with love of the doing of meditation is the most wonderful thing in itself. What follows will be taken care of by Atman.
With practice you will get to know this.
For those of you who do not have my meditation technique can send for it. Read it thoroughly and if it makes sense to you, then practice no other meditation technique but that. If it does not make sense - then chuck it out. I have found it to be fulfilling.