Gazing upon holy images of Devi, Shiva, Vishnu, or representations of Saints & other individuals considered to be divine, we may notice the curious look in the eyes of these figures. In these representations, the eyes look spacey, serene, almost sleepy and detached from what they are viewing. There is also a feeling of a kind of bliss that most people experience only for a brief second when, for example, they orgasm, but in these figures from the imagery, this state seems to be fixed permanently. We can get a small taste within ourselves of this sensation when we stare at the eyes of these representations, because our own aura takes on the same shape from viewing the imagery. This is why holy images can be gateways to inner sensations if we observe them and turn our minds inward, rather than observing them only externally but paying no attention to our internal, reactionary sensation.
Many individuals are drawn to intoxicants to produce this state of internal vacuity and trance, and they are very useful to use, but the state they produce can be dangerous for those who do not understand that this pleasant vacuity and bliss can be accessed without the external substances, through mediation. The most important aspect for understanding mediation, what it is and what it does, is understanding that for it to have benefits, you must be able to access this state at will. A person who learns how to access this state will find that after months and years of practice, certain faculties develop that allow one to experience different aspects of reality that most individuals are not able to access due to their consciousness being deluded by Maya. The essence of Maya is to believe that only that material world and matter are the extent of reality, when it is far from the limit. After the elemental humors of the body are purified-- as occurs in certain practices like Bhuta Shuddhi (purification of and gaining mastery over the elements), or repetitive practice of rituals like the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram-- faculties such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience and any other "clair" you can think of awakens and lets you experience these other aspects of reality. When the energies of the body are purified, there are not blockages that lead to bursts of emotion which drain a person, whereas remaining centered and steady no matter the external stimuli ensures that you continue to build your energy. This can be understood in the way that Gods and Goddesses are normally depicted with this serene facial expression, even while engaging in extreme acts like sexual union or violence— killing a demon or even severing one’s own head. A story told by Joseph Campbell: “There is another story … of the samurai, the Japanese warrior, who had the duty to avenge the murder of his overlord. When he cornered the man who had murdered his overlord, and he was about to deal with him with his samurai sword, the man in the corner, in the passion of terror, spat in the warrior's face. And the warrior sheathed the sword and walked away.” Because the opponent sparked personal anger in the samurai, in the samurai’s eyes— that essentially means he was defeated. All actions that depart from the middle pillar of balance come under the guise of emotions. The correct action is one that stems from the libidinous arousal of will and true purpose, and not the passive state that comes from the reaction towards something asserting on you (such as the man spitting on him). If you’re performing an action and you’re aligned with your will and the middle pillar, there’s no emotion present— because that signifies the presence of ego or identification/attachment with the action— and therefore you maintain serenity. This state of mind is similar to when you’re working at a job and so are rather detached from what you are doing, because you’re serving; but instead of serving a superior or boss, with this heightened state, you’re serving your will and the Universal truth. It is the taint of egoic emotion that can make an action impure.
All emotions begin in the water center, because emotions are essentially the state of being influenced and reacting to externalized elements, but emotions correspond to different elemental imbalances. If you're experiencing strong emotion about a particular action, it is a sign that you're falling under the imbalanced influence of a certain element. For example, if you're feeling fear or anxiety, it can be correlated to the air element; frustration correlating to the fire element; anger or hatred to ether; lust or craving correlates to the water element; lethargy or depression correlate to the Earth element. The bija VAM वं is correlated to the water element (the gateway for emotions) and the deity Varuna. He is the God of Shatabhisha nakshatra, which is symbolized by the circle, showing its tie to the borders of reality. Saying VAM shows you when to open up or to put a barrier towards any type of influence, which is why it also relates to the Swadhisthana center and helps the skin, the skin being the membrane that determines what permeates a person. When you pass beyond the ability to be influenced by anything as the Samurai was, you pass beyond Shatabhisha nakshatra on a cosmic level. You protect your barriers at that level and can no longer be influenced by things in a passive state and are protected, aligned with and driven by your own will. This is also why I recommend VAM recitation for single women, because it allows you to perfect your boundaries, the idea of what you should be passive to & what you should protect yourself from, so that you align with your true path. For every goal or purpose, there is a proper path and orbit. This is why you have to ask yourself "what is your will?" and really know without shadow of a doubt what it is in order that you can then do that will with every ounce of your effort. If this gets you feeling anxious and frantic, understand that these feelings of reaching and grasping in regards to your identity or path will prevent you from every attaining self-realization or even beginning to move in one solid direction, which is necessary if you ever want to carve out a spiritual path for yourself. If you want to begin, you must become very still and very relaxed, as if you are a piece of wood or stone.
The only way you can know who you are or what you are doing is to practice mediation, “forcing” mental and bodily stillness until you have cultivated it internally, rather than being thrown around by reactionary emotions. Once you immerse yourself in the darkness that comes from properly withdrawing your senses from the external world, you will begin to notice a kind of light that was not visible to you previously. This light is your Guru, that which leads you from darkness to light, and if you follow this light, you will come to know all that you desire, experience everything you want, and fulfill your most cherished dreams that you may not even be conscious of at this point in your development. Most people cannot remain still enough or consistent enough to begin following the light that is visible in the darkness, but those who can and who follow the light all the way to the end, experience self realization and at the completion of the Great Work. In this way, you come to fix within your own consciousness the blissful sensation visible in holy iconography, on the faces of those who partake of the joy that comes from having a unified consciousness, free from confusion and duality.