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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

When I embarked on my journey to my soul the word meditation was a beacon. I truly felt that mastery over my mind would lead to this wonderful state of bliss and contentment.

As I trudged along this path, I realised that any mastery either over your mind or over your breath to reach a blissful contentment was impossible. Firstly true mastery was virtually impossible in the environs of a daily human life. I could hardly go and live in isolation amongst the mighty Himalayas or take sanyas. Secondly, any mastery necessarily meant control and control without deep knowledge was a sure fire way to reach a state of agitation. As I desperately tried to gain control over my mind and over my breath I moved farther and farther away from the feeling of contentment.

There is a mysticism attached to the word meditation. It looks and feels simple enough. All one has to do is breathe, focus on your breath and perhaps reach nirvana? “Concentrate” tell us most master’s books. On what would I concentrate? I would ask myself. Many random thoughts ran through my mind. There was no let up at all. Then I read “focus” on your breath. Yes, I did and watched it go in and out of my system. It would certainly relax me, but then so does counting sheep!!

This was not the way. I was sure there was much more to meditation and concentration. It was a form of deep inner knowledge. This is where meditation needs to take us. Understanding our deepest thoughts and where the direction of these thoughts and feelings are headed is the true key.

Any ‘action’ we contemplate always has a ‘thought’ behind it. This thought has a reason and more importantly a ‘feeling’ attached to it. We can ‘feel’ what another being ‘feels’, this is our ‘empathy’. A human being has a Spiritual Dimension. For an animal the feeling turns to reason and invites action instantly. Let me state an example: Like a lioness hunting for a ‘kill’. She hunts the weakest prey has no feeling of ‘guilt’ attached to it. The lioness feeds her cubs and has only hunger attached to her action which is her ‘reason’. Yet she feels pure love for her cubs and none for the prey or the mother of the prey she killed?

This led me thinking as to what is our difference? My intellectual understanding of being able to identify with other beings’ thoughts was an electrifying revelation to me. Perhaps this is what the masters’ meant by control over the mind. It was actually a mastery over ‘understanding’ that our mind’s thought reaches another being constantly. So acting in full awareness of our senses is a state of contemplation/meditation.

This is what I feel Osho refers to as ‘no mind’ or some others refer to as ‘mindfulness’ both terms are a deep understanding of the thoughts generated from the mind.

To put it another way; I gossip about someone who wears pretty but revealing clothes to attract men. This might have started as a thought in my mind which changed to reason, “she deserves it” or “let me warn others of what she does” and the action is the gossip.

Let us examine the feelings associated with the thought. We don’t wish evil on the object of our gossip but we simply want to warn others so we gossip. At this stage the thought feels pure.

Let’s examine this more closely. If I get to the real base of this thought then I can admit reluctantly to myself that I also want to harm the object of my gossip because ‘she deserves it’.

Let’s get even closer. I am actually envious of the attention the woman draws . This is much more difficult for me to accept.

Let’s get even closer. The woman in question has the same feelings that I do. This is virtually impossible for me to accept even with heightened awareness. Because I feel ‘she’ is different from ‘me’.

Even further is acknowledgment that her feelings are my feelings and if I hurt her I hurt myself.

In a state of mindfulness ‘I’ will automatically empathize with ‘her’ since the realization that ‘she’ has ‘feelings’ as much as ‘I’ do.

So if my thoughts hurt her they will also hurt me. This cycle happens to us many times over and over in a day, and in our subconscious  we carry that feeling of guilt or fear or anger or hurt that the other has felt.  Then to relieve ourselves of the burden of our thoughts we act and get caught in another cycle and another. Hindu mysticism calls this the law of Karma.

That which we have unknowingly thrust upon another being and in effect thrust upon ourselves is the true realization of mindfulness and deep self inquiry. This is where contemplation and meditation leads us.

It is not at all easy to understand. This process too requires time and time alone with oneself. It can start as simply as an extra breather before coming back home, perhaps a walk in the park. A long session with oneself at a park bench, even a crowded railway station will do. Here is where a guru comes in. A Guru is one who helps us to explore our deepest thoughts, and who is a sounding board for our actions without an obvious guidance. I say this because guidance trains us to ‘think’ and not ‘feel’. A true ‘feeling’ is worth millions to a ‘thought’.  A ‘feeling’ frees us whereas a ‘thought’ binds us.

Let me also talk about ‘time’ here. I realised that time too binds us in the human context. Time is actually an infinite concept yet we try to harness it. True, one needs time and energy to be harnessed to live in the world reality that exists around us. But when one is deeply contemplating then time becomes an open infinite concept and there really is no need to rush through thoughts and feelings. Just letting thoughts and feelings ‘be’ where they are is an enormously freeing concept. It means I stopped trying to figure out when all this is going to lead to ‘contentment’.

This is not a fatalistic concept. It is a combination of mindlessness and mindfulness that can happen in deep contemplation. It’s possible to live in a state of world reality and yet operate from the state of contentment and that to me is dynamic contentment.

We live at all levels of this journey simultaneously. Uncovering feelings slowly becomes a natural part of your soul and is endless. This is the dynamism. There is mystic TRUTH AND JOY here as we connect equally with feelings of other beings. This is the contentment.

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Meditation is a sure way to reach that sublime state but what is meditation? Meditation has different processes just as cooking has. Like cooking leads to making food  palatable and satisfies our hunger, meditation leads to stilling the mind which leads to satisfaction of our spiritual hunger. Just like we need to cook and eat food every day we need to meditate everyday too.

Meditation can simply mean intense concentration. Meditation can also mean reflection. Concentration on the divine to the exclusion of all else is naturally the path of “bhakti yoga” and this is the path that most religions of the world uphold and beckon us to follow. Perhaps it is easy for some and not so easy for others. Concentration on the path ahead, that which You have chosen to the exclusion of all else is “karma yoga” and this is the path many people follow too. “Jyana Yoga” is reflection and understanding of the knowledge that is inherent in this Universe.

Whichever path we choose in this journey, which is our life, all meditation comes to naught when we meditate with  the expectation of an outcome. If we consider the ideals of “bhakti yoga” the great saint Meera Bai comes first to mind. She steadfastly carried on in her bhakti to Lord Krishna (the divine, if you don’t like iconography) unminding of the consequences and neither expecting any fruit from that bhakti. Many great scientists follow the path of “karma yoga” they just carry on in their chosen field completely trusting the intuition they carry within. Neither do they expect success will come to them, neither do they get dettered by the obstacles that come their way. The theories they have finally propounded have changed the Universe as we know it literally. Finally a “jyana yogi” is one who reflects the universe in his own mind. Many “Jyana Yogis” abound in the world. Jesus was one of them and in India in living memory is Parmahansa Raman Maharshi. Tantra is definitely a path of “jyana yoga”.

Jyana Yoga is the process of self-inquiry that leads to the divine.  When ‘I’ go into the daily process of experiential meditation and catch my thoughts, then an automatic cleansing begins, because every thought is identified with an action. I understand this and then the thought changes into knowledge, this is a process of self-inquiry.

This process diffuses the ‘feeling’ connected to the thought and my action which otherwise might have been enacted stalls. The ‘feelings’ “I” experience might be pain, hurt, anger, fear, resentment, desire, covetous feelings, jealousy; whatever. Many feelings are very covered with reasoning and many times feel righteous and sanctimonious. My action will be hurtful talk, sarcasm shown, and impulsive action like shopping or over eating. My action is a defence mechanism to the “pain” “I” feel while experiencing these feelings; because deep inside the feeling lingers even after the action to quell the pain of that expereince has been enacted.

Once my identification with the thought is understood the ‘feeling’ disconnects and knowledge or ‘truth’ connects. This leads to a feeling of “let go” and later contentment, sometimes even though “I” have not been able to stop that action earlier. But reflecting about that “thought” and action is an experience that automatically humbles me and this leads to my connection with the divine.  Very often the reflection of my action and the thought behind it brings a powerful surge of “oneness” with the “other” on whom my action was projected. This means we can feel the other person without judging him or her and expereince what they are feeling. This is what humbles me and without a self righteous morality I can continue with my life feeling deeply connected with the other.

“Jana yoga” stills the mind by refelecting my own thoughts continously, how can a mind, full of chatter and movement reflect anything? So the mind stills to reflect.

Let me explain more easily; for instance, just plain gossip.  You think nothing of this action and slowly it becomes part of your life. You begin to ‘judge’ people unknowingly. But somewhere within you, you are carrying a burden that leads to  the compulsive action of speaking ill about another one again and again. Every time you do this you build up more anger. You also carry the hurt the other is carrying due to your unknowing action of gossip.
When ‘I’ can realise that the gossip is a projection of my anger it’s an understanding. Then ‘I’ can also realise that my ‘I’ carries a hurt inside ‘me’ for the projection of the anger to happen. Later when the hurt is questioned then ‘I’ realises its own contribution to the hurt and by this time the thought has turned to knowledge and the hurt feeling inside ‘me’ has disappeared and the action of speaking ill never happens.
This I feel is the process of self inquiry (jyana yoga) which is like a sword for me. It cuts through my thoughts and feelings and brings forth only knowledge, or truth. It opens my ‘self’ without any vulnerability because through the truth I have already accepted my ‘self’ just as it is.

This is the best I can put words to what I am experiencing through ‘self’ and many a times powerful surges of love.

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