What is Meditation?
What is meditation? If your answer is to get relief from stress, to experience joy, to kill time, to know God -then you are absolutely wrong! Don’t be surprised. Keep on reading, you will be truly surprised.
We can get relief from stress from thousand things. A good movie, match of soccer, cricket, tennis, by dancing in a discothèque, by pubbing, in sex, list will go on and on. Company of like minded people gives joy, all adventure sports give a great kick, an adrenaline rush of blood and Wow- what an experience. If you have been meditating for the sake of getting relief or looking for joy, then you are really confused and don’t know what really meditation is. Meditation is not getting relief from stress but it is much more than that.
Meditation is moving in the inner zone of emptiness, where stress can never touch you. It is exploring the inner space where you remain absolutely untouched from all ill effects of mind and samsara. This inner space is there and we need just the right method to move there, once you have understood and experienced nothing can bring you down from that timeless zone. Being in this zone means, being an ocean of joy. It is not just getting little glimpses of joy for some time and then back in rut. This had been a great dilemma of all meditators; as long as they are doing it, they feel good, elated, happy, enlightened, but moment they come out of the place where they meditate, one finds that one is back to square one. Things are exactly the same, people still bother you, you get offended often, jealousies and prejudices are very much intact there. Now individuals begin to plan when they can run away to their safe haven. So they are always on a run. Being an escapist seems very romantic. It seems to provide an easy short cut to all problems.
A Way of Life
Meditation is a way of life. It is to be lived. We have a vast reservoir of energy in us, lying unused, untapped. Once we get in touch with this energy, our life changes from just being an ordinary to a divine one. Meditation is being in tune with our inner energy source.
Life throws up many challenges and if we do not have the right tools to face them, then we’ll fail in our task. These are the tools of patience and tolerance. There are scores of people fighting mental problems – suicides are happening in large numbers. You cross the borderline and end up in a psychiatric ward. Remember that in this fast-paced life, we have to live with competitions which are nerve-wrecking. Then there is a bombardment of advertisements on TV, newspapers, magazines and internet which put a lot of strain on our mind. This explosion creates false desires. This is the century of exhibitionism – people earn to show off, vanity is on a constant display. All this leads to immense pressure on the mind, resulting in a sense of insecurity and lack of trust. Relationships and families start breaking apart.
Meditation is an antidote 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. Interestingly, 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.
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 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 do not pay heed to is: 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.
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.
We have been walking and walking ever since we took the first stumbling step, holding the finger of our parents. There are different ways of walking like walking fast to catch the bus, walking in a jiffy, in anger while thumping the floor, walking tip-toed and walking gently with our loved ones. But there is yet another way of walking and this is called Walking Meditation, in which you are in a state of meditativeness. With this technique, a simple earthly walk can be changed into an extraordinary divine play. This is an art in itself.
Walking Meditation involves watching step after step, being aware of the movement of the body as the arms move back and forth, jiggle in the thighs and buns, the gentleness and the grace of the human body. Being witness to this flow, this magical dance of the body movement leads to an openness that comes from within. Isn’t it surprising that we walk and yet don’t know how to? So learn this technique of real walking.
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?” Mulla said: “Yes”. Then his son asked: “And your grandfather, did he beat your father?” Mulla said: “Yes”. “And your great grandfather beat up your grandfather?” “Yes”. 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 you become a Buddha.
No such miracle happens. It is the path in 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.
Communion with the Master
For the ones who want to understand and experience the inner world of profound tranquility, Gurumaa has been conducting meditation camps round the year at various places. Five days of retreat with the master revitalises and nourishes the soul, healing the wounds of mind, afflicted for ages…dissolving into the ocean of pure bliss!
Master is the Door
Many a times seekers try to meditate on their own, absolutely oblivious of the intricacies involved. Sometimes they take help of the revered ancient holy books or refer to the meditation techniques taught by great mystics in their times. But because of lack of guidance when a leap beyond mind seems light years away, they get disheartened or just loose hope. In reality, there is no need to loose hope but to learn meditation from an enlightened master. Master acts as a door through which disciple can pass through and be one with the divine.
Oodles of Energy
Luminous presence of an enlightened master creates a highly charged field of consciousness paving the way for seekers to travel far more easily and faster than alone. When meditating with the master, one becomes more open and receptive allowing immense positive energies to enter one’s being leading to great transformations.
With the advent of technological advancements, today we have CDs and Cassettes of various meditation techniques. They are a wonderful medium to keep oneself on the track provided one is determined to practice persistently. However, no technology has yet been able to capture the grace of the master. To experience immense joy, love, relaxation and beyond… a communion with the master is required which happens only when you are in the presence of a living master. So don’t miss to be part of the upcoming meditation retreat.