The art of meditation

Even before we embark doing a thing, its primary shape gets defined by our motivation for doing that thing. For example, we decide that we must study hard this year. If the motivation for this act is scoring good marks in the year-end examination, then our hard studying would mean looking at the past examination papers and finding out some pattern and studying in such a way as to maximize our gain in the exam. On the other hand if we are trying to study hard in order to understand the subject better, then we would browse books outside the purview of the syllabus and try and understand the basics and logic of the subject. This way of studying may or may not (most probably it would be the latter!) give us more marks in the year end examination and we would have nothing to show to the outside world for our deeper understanding. But then we would still be happy because, we have got what we wanted. This principle of our motivation guiding our efforts can be seen everywhere and it is this principle that gives us the rule `Subtle always rule’.

So how does it apply to meditation? Remember that last time we have come across meditation as a tool at the end of certain thought process. We are trying to meditate to see what actually ails us. To understand why are we not completely happy all the time. This motivation is going to have its impact on HOW we should do meditation. Also, at the end of this process, all we would get is an understanding of our problem. Nothing else. Finding a solution or making us actually happy in this world is not guaranteed by this process. It is exactly like the above mentioned example of studying a subject purely because we want to understand it. It may not result in spectacular marks and our meditation may not result in a gain that can be shown to the outside world. It is only for our understanding. This fact needs a very explicitly mention as our mind is habituated in seeking an outwardly sign of our progress. Our intellect constantly doubts our own achievements unless they are agreed upon by the society at large. This is one of the main reasons why we decide it is better to get a high salaried job than to be happy in a smaller, less ambitious endeavour… Anyways, remember that at the end of the meditation do not try and see any change in your behaviour. It may or may not happen.

Secondly, in order to ascertain cause of our behaviour we have to see the chain of thoughts that arise in our mind. Retire to a place of quiet solitude and sit in a comfortable position. This way, your body does not make any demands on you and it is easy to forget about it. Of course, in a very advanced stage even when the body is trying to demand something, you will be able to meditate. Sri ramakrishna Paramahans would go into samadhi even when he had painful and very advanced throat cancer! Sri Raman Maharshi had an operation done on his right bicep without any anesthesia. He just `took his mind off his body’ is what he told others. But right now, it is better to be alone in a calm secluded place with a comfortable sitting or any other posture.

Then next step would be to call on help! Why? Because, there are very few of us who would embark on an unknown journey all by themselves just for the heck of it! We have always surrounded ourselves with an army of well-wishers or protectors. Here, we should try and call on that force which we believe in. It may be your Ishta-Devata, Guru or any other force that you think is guiding you in the times of crisis. May be you wish for some good-luck! Whatever it might be, remember some force that can help you in your quest. Imagine that you are not alone but some one well disposed towards you is with you in your quest. This help in calming of nerves.

Now, you just watch yourself. Let the thoughts drift in front of you and disappear into nowhere. The tricky thing is to remain impartial to all thoughts. There are some thoughts that are enticing and others that are repelling. Even revolting. Having been in this world for so long, we have picked up all sorts of garbage in our mind. Just because certain thoughts do not reflect in our outward behaviour, it does not mean that we do not have them. You will see all the seven deadly sins and far more. Do not get involved. Let them come and go. In order to do this, remember that we are not interested in thoughts per say but the sourceof these thoughts. Its like this: If yo do not get distracted by the pictures on the cinema screen, you will have the presence of mind to see that the light that projects these images come from behind you, not in front. As long as you keep getting lost in those images, you will have no knowledge of its source. 

That’s it, boss. The main point is to remain as impartial observer as possible. Do not ask questions about what good it would do to me when I face my boss or the annoying neighbour. It is like asking whether can it guarantee good marks in an exam when you have studied the subject for the love of it. This is the point. Most of us do not progress in spiritual path only because of trying to see the fruits of our endeavours in the practical life. Leave it as it is. Only those who are bold enough to take this path for its own sake get rewarded with eternal Bliss.

Next time, we will see some of the aids that help us in remaining impartial to all our thoughts while doing meditation.

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