What is Meditation? What is Not Meditation
Meditation is not contemplation. Meditation is not concentration. Meditation is a state of being. It is a state of awareness. Meditation is not about doing something; rather it is about doing nothing. Meditation is a state of awareness. Now awareness is a tricky matter. People think they know what awareness is, but it is something which is not properly known. You may think that all this may be happening – body movements, sensory perceptions, even thinking; yet you can be absolutely unaware of it.
Meditation is not about doing something; rather it is about doing nothing. Meditation is experiencing emptiness and enjoying it – though this enjoying is a mind-oriented experience. Both joy and sorrow are experienced by the mind – and anything that is experienced by the mind does not include meditation. Whatever we do, is done through and by our mind. And releasing ourselves from the clutches of our mind is called meditation.
Then we are with our true self; having been able to control all the activities of our mind, body and senses. Then meditation becomes an antidote or a prescription for the many ailments that our mind and body undergoes in this stressful life. The transformation that comes from the regular practice of meditation is gradual but sure. The benefits, therefore, from meditation are manifold.
Sharpen Your Attention
To meditate we need to understand two factors: evaluate the intricacies of the mind (how the mind works) and become familiar with awareness. Once we know how a thought is formulated, what triggers thoughts, what are the conditions in which mind is prone to generate thoughts, only then can we take a leap beyond the cobweb of thoughts and experience the ever-flowing bliss. To understand all this, we need to cultivate and nurture attentiveness, alertness, vigilance and have a sharp microscopic vision – as the Buddha said, “Sharpen your vision like a bowman sharpens his arrow”.
Understand your Mind
Mind functions on different levels; thoughts are propelled by mind due to certain conditions. We expect certain responses from people, situations and when they do not happen as we had planned, the mind gets disturbed. The agitations of the mind result in great turmoil and this turmoil, this commotion generates several and varied thoughts. We pay great attention to the minutest activities, like the kind of clothes we wear, the fashion we follow, the place to hang out, membership of a particular club, and so on. But what we don’t pay heed to is an important thing: how does our mind function? How just a thought can bring pain, anguish, jealousy, mistrust, doubt, joy? We are least bothered about our cluttered mind but we ensure that our house is clean. It is futile to clean the outside when your inside is blemished with numerous negativities. So, there is a need to connect to your inner self, which is possible only through meditation.
Don’t React – Act
One who is obsessed with worldly pursuits, one who is body-oriented, cannot really go into this. We need to develop a distance from our mind and not give in to impulsiveness. Those who react are the ones who are living mindlessly. So in a way, we can say that living mindfully is being in meditation.
Meditation is not just about sitting in padmasana (lotus pose) or just doing something or just standing upside down or following just a routine of yogic exercises. Meditation does not involve even various ways of breathing exercises. Meditation includes all of the above and much more. Meditation is transgressing the mind, witnessing the mind in all its subtleties.
Stop the Nonsense
Once, Mulla Nasruddin thrashed his son black and blue. His son asked him, sobbing:
“Father, did your father use to beat you?”
Mullah said: “Yes”.
Then his son asked: “And your grandfather, did he beat your father?”
Mullah said: “Yes”.
“And your great grandfather beat up your grandfather?”
Then the son shook his head and said: “So when will this nonsense stop?”
Our mind cannot stop. It has built up this habit of compulsive thinking and we don’t know how to put a stop to this nonsense. Meditation stops this nonsense. It is a conscious effort; it doesn’t happen on its own. It won’t happen because someone has blessed you or some energy gets transferred and from buddhu you become Buddha.
No such miracle happens. It is the path on which you have to take every step, clear the mist of thoughts. You watch all of the activities happening in the mind yet remain aloof. Once you have achieved this state, then whatever you do will have the quality of meditation in it. Simple tasks like eating, walking, sleeping will change into meditation, giving you the mystical experience of peace and composure. Till this moment is achieved, you need to give quality time towards working diligently in order to experience meditation.