People do not have a clear idea about meditation. What is meditation? Why is it taken up? What is it supposed to achieve? Is it for gaining some esoteric states, or is it a pursuit by which one’s personality can be improved, refined and enriched?
Meditation is an exclusive mental practice in which the mind alone is involved. Close the door, sit inside the room on a proper aasan — either a mat or some kind of a sheet folded a few times. Sit alone, not touching anything. Preferably interlock your fingers gently, and put them on your lap. Try to keep the body not necessarily erect but in a manner that will be comfortable for you. Let the back rest on the hip, the neck rest on the shoulders, and the head on the neck. Wear a loose dress. The circulation of air should be as free as possible, but gentle.
In order to check the flow of your thoughts, and gain an entry into the mento-intellectual arena, you are told to take an “optional thought”. Generally, this thought will be given to you by your guru, the teacher, who initiates you into the spiritual path. The optional thought should represent whatever your ultimate aspiration or goal is. It is called a “mantra”. A mantra is that which protects you if you “mentate” upon it, or contemplate upon it.
The mantra is to be chanted only mentally, not to be uttered. No sound should be produced. If mantras are chanted orally, they have no effect. When you start doing this, you will find the mind coming up with other thoughts. Your optional thought will be pushed away. This is what we want you to understand during meditation. In meditation, when you want to direct your mind, the mind does not get directed. Instead, it directs you, and takes away your attention. You will find the mind functioning without your notice, without your guidance and without your command.
That is the unchecked state of affairs. This affair should be changed and you must have a mind which is moderate and regulated. Your mind should function in the manner you want.
Now I have expressed the idea, the predicament in a few words. But, do you know, this is a very great, recurring crisis of human life? The mind is doing its own magic, and we becoming helpless to it! It is this situation that you should change. As long as you chant the mantra, there is no problem. But it may not be possible. Soon, the mantra will be displaced and so many thoughts will be parading instead.
How will you overcome this? For that, delve into the mind and find out whether you have desire or hatred or fear. You can come to know whether you have notes of jealousy, resentment or impatience. Lurking greed or ambition can be discovered. After knowing, what next?
Understand that the mind is the seat and source of all joy and fulfilment. Whether it is through objects it interacts with outside of itself or otherwise, the joy is always produced by the mind. If the mind is the source of joy, keeping the resourceful mind within you, can you not become joyful? Yes! Why is it that your mind is not becoming joyful? The reason is: It is disturbed by so many traits like egotism, possessiveness, greed, jealousy, intolerance, hatred and such other constrictions.
Meditation gives you an opportunity to make yourself sublime. Is there anything else? Yes. When the optional thought is preserved, and if it lingers for five, 10 or 15 minutes and if you find no distractions at all, then the optional thought itself will disappear. The mind can survive only in a state of plurality. When that plurality is not presented by the mind, the mind will simply stop or cease functioning.
When the mind stops, you have to do nothing. You will find that you are conscious of neither the body nor the world; nor do you have any memory or affectation. Everything will be like in deep sleep. Whereas in sleep you are not aware of yourself, here you are aware of the mind that has dissolved.
When that mind ceases to function, don’t disturb it. Simply allow it. Let it linger as long as possible. Normally you will have it for about half an hour. For regular practitioners, it may be for 40 minutes. You are supposed to do nothing. Simply keep quiet.
And don’t come up with the proposition: “Swamiji, my mind becomes void or blank.” It does not become blank. It opens up a vista of inner brilliance which was hitherto unknown to you. You now come to know of the Consciousness or Sentience that functions as the mind, animating and activating the body.
I think that one experience or knowledge will make a mountain of difference. And then again, it is one thing to have this experience; it is another to evaluate and make use of it. That is where many seekers simply fail. They prove themselves to be unworthy, calling the glorious experience as “blank”.
It is something like saying that when all the planets and heavenly bodies within the space are completely wiped off, there will be nothing left. True, there will be nothing left for visual or sensory perception. But, that is where what you call “Brahman”, the Supreme Reality, which has evolved the whole universe, is present.
So, don’t dispose it off as “vacuum or void”. The intelligence has to become sharp and discreet, to understand the beautiful sentience. That suspended state is something resembling the autumn sky, with no clouds at all, and the sun getting almost set. There is no bright sunlight; at the same time darkness has not set in. Something very beautiful. This brilliance is what you discover in meditation.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.