Wow! What a subject to write upon. It is one of those Hot subjects in this world, after International Space Station, and flashy break up of Hollywood stars and USA finding where Bin laden is and having an party.
Yes, Meditation is one of those very simple , but yet very complex states and all the more research and curiosity to find out what it is all about. Even more interesting is, the evolution of the so called "New Age" way of life, with marriage of Yoga and Meditation, sipping chai from East and eating vegetarian food and chanting the universal vibration "OM", wearing a pashmina shawl from Kashmir and attending one of those very expensive spiritual retreats in India, or in USA, or in some really exotic locations of Hawaii and Bahamas. Sometimes I feel these groups are ripping people apart in the name of 'New Age' concept of life. Whatever we all call "New Age", had existed a few thousands of years ago and it could be as old as the universe itself. The Age Old Universe, tries to maintain the perfect balance with this "Old Age" way of life style and Meditation.
Meditation, as we all know in the western world, is mostly related to Buddha, who is shown to be sitting in a very simple yogic posture called "Padma asana", like a lotus flower, with his closed eyes, and his mood, seems to reflect the one of the cosmic silence, a deep contemplation and that of acceptance and letting things come and go. No attachment to anything.
Is that Meditation? How does one achieve that? Can every one become Buddha? Should every one try to attain the Buddha state? Is Meditation, Celibacy? Is Meditation, Vegetarianism? Is Meditation, Nonviolence? What would happen to world, If everyone is meditating like Buddha, and there would be no procreation, For, Buddha, had gone into the meditation after he had enjoyed all riches in the world and had created progeny. So, Is Meditation, something that one has to adopt after one finishes the procreation process? Is it something where you go to Jungles and sit in silence away from society? If the whole world is filled with Buddhas, then what about Bill Gates, what about Tom Cruises, what about Aishwarya Rais and what about Tiger Woods.
Before we go any deeper, let's check the meaning of Meditation in the famous Oxford or Webster Dictionary, it means "To Contemplate". Wow! that sounds simple, to contemplate, anyone can do it. True it is, anyone can do it.
Infact we are all born in that perfectly meditative state. When we are in Mother's womb, we are meditating, just happy with the food that Mommy provides through the umbilical cord.
Even until a few years after the birth, we are in that meditative state, just observing everything around and silently watching everything come and go.
So seems like, we have this skill in all of us. Yes, we are, We all have it within us. We do not have to run to Himalayas, or we do not have to practice celibacy, nor we do not have to turn vegetarians to be meditative. Meditation is just a state of mind.
As we grow up, in this material world, there are lot of distractions, that some times can put us through a roller coaster ride, We tend to loose control over ourselves, our emotions and our own thought process. This can lead to the miseries of the life. It is like a Train traveling on the track, as long as Train is traveling at a certain speed limit we all enjoy the ride, but the moment the speed crosses a certain limit, it looses track and derails and Boom! Damage happens.
Why is Meditation stressed upon so much these days, of all the times in the history of mankind. Because, with the advent of science and technology, life has fast paced quite a bit. Interestingly the end means of Science and Technology revolution should help mankind to perform better and live more comfortably and happily, helping us manage our body and mind better, in tough situations and in accomplishing our day to day tasks. But contrary to that, Life has become for many of us, a vicious circle, because we started to become slaves to the speed. Speed is essential, but too much speed can cause the Train of Human Life derail. The speed at which these thoughts come and bog down the mind, body and soul can be pretty detrimental to the health, both physical and mental.
So what does Meditation do in such cases? It helps us to slow down and observe. It helps us to watch everything around us. It helps us to watch without becoming victim of our own thoughts. It helps us not to fall into the vicious circle of Speed. It helps us to choose our thoughts. It helps us to be very selective about which thoughts we want to put into action. It is natural that we humans based on the environment and circumstances are subject to myriad thoughts, and probably because of Karma too. More to do with the modernization of world with TV, Cinema, Print Media, Internet and free access to everything from information about how to reach moon, how to fire a nuclear missile, to availability of drugs, to open sex, to free access to individuals and groups of all kinds. With so much information going across human mind, it can be pretty strenuous and hard to process and digest all that data. Like a computer that is overloaded with too many processes and threads running, it can crash.
Apart from the speed, we all go through both Negative and Positive thoughts and emotions. Even Buddha or Gandhi was no exception to this. Everyone is a human. But when we slow down and observe, there is a good possibility for us to choose the positive thoughts over the negative ones that can bog us down.
Meditation is letting your inner self be in control, rather than some external force or environment control us. It gives more control, to make better decisions. So how do we achieve this? How do we get to control thoughts? Simple, sitting and closing your eyes for a short time, may be 30 minutes in the morning after you wake up and 30 minutes in the night before hitting bed. Simple it is. But we hear many people saying "Oh, I do not have that time. I am too busy for that". Well, that is a sign of trouble, People who say that they are too busy for simple things are actually on the path to derail. Busy to the extent that it does not give time to sit for 30 min . a day for your well being is a very bad state of affairs to be in.
Alright, so what happens in the process of this sitting for 30 minutes? Not much actually. God is not going to come and bless you with a Benz car or a vacation in exotic location. But sure at the end of 30 min, you would feel the comfort of driving in the most comfortable car in the world and relaxing in the most exotic location in the world. Wow! Not a bad deal, every day we get to experience this even without going and doing these in reality.
Initially the 30 minutes might feel like a decade, because we are not used to doing this, we feel like opening our eyes and going and doing something, that is Anxiety. But slowly, day after day, we get better control. There is no need to imagine a light, no need to think of an angel or a God, Just close eyes and let all the thoughts come and go. Just, become an observer of your own thoughts. Interestingly after a few minutes all the thoughts fade off. That is It!! This is a state of Nirvana, or Samadhi as they call it in ancient texts. The state where we become one with the universe. This state is very addictive, more addictive than your chocolate cake or Steak or Butter Chicken.
In this process, we are letting ourselves get in touch with inner self, the so called "Soul". This does not mean that Mind is bad. I hear many people saying Mind is vicious and Soul is pure. Everything in this universal creation is pure and beautiful. From Amoeba, to AIDS virus, to a Rose flower, to Human Mind, everything is part of this creation and has a reason for their existence.
The process of meditation just helps to keep this beautiful mind in good control. It is like recharging the mind, Every day we brush our teeth, we take bath, clean our bowls and wash our clothes. But are we doing anything for cleaning our minds, NO. Meditation is a process that helps in removing that stagnated crap in the folds of brain.
Have u ever heard that the most melodious music is actually the silence between the nodes, It is the pauses and silence between 2 nodes that gives the music a soothening and melodious effect. Take a guitar and string it continuously for 5 minutes without any gap between the strokes. And now take the same guitar and string it slowly with short gaps between each stroke, there comes the melody. You will notice it yourself. Same with Mind, when it is continuously bombarded by thoughts it becomes jarring, but when the thoughts are controlled and spaced, we hear the song of mind, the silence between those thoughts is where the 'song of soul' is. That song is the connection between the physical body on earth and the universal energy that spins this universe. Taking time to get in touch with Soul is Meditation. What is Soul? That is pretty big word suddenly? Well, we shall dive deep into it in the next article. Till then keep meditating.
Once we start doing this every day, the mind starts seeing things slowly and observes everything, and chooses the right thing and makes correct decisions, correct decisions in the sense, the decisions for the benefit of mankind, to make a positive difference in this world.
Meditation, is a way of life, It is something that has to become part of life. There is no need to run away from the material world to meditate. Sitting in the comfort of your own bed and couch, this can be done. Yes, the reason people want to be got to jungles and mountains, is, there is less disturbance there, there are few things to distract the process, we are more close to nature, so these places help and make it easier. But we cannot expect all of us to live in Forest rest of the life time.
The same state can be achieved by sitting calmly by closing the eyes for 30 min every morning and night.
In the beginning not every one can do this. It is hard to sit for 30 min with eyes closed. So we have developed other ways of meditating like, focusing on candle light, listening to music, repeating chants, and using idol worship, all these just some supporting elements to draw us inside and see ourselves. Over a period of time, it is better to remove these crutches and take support from within our inner self.
Meditation helps us to see everything very clearly, without bias and sometimes extremely judgmental attitude. It creates the space within ourselves to create what we want. It is a backbone for visualization process through which we can plan and create everything we want in life. It is a process of developing compassion towards this universe, the universe inside and outside. Over a period of time we realize that "We are Universe". The Soul is just a drop of the universal spirit with a structure around in form of blood and flesh. This is what we call "Spiritual Beings". Yes, we all are. Spirituality is not about wearing an orange, white or a black robe, or abandoning samsaric (family life) life, or becoming vegetarian or practicing celibacy or preaching religion. Religion has nothing to do with Meditation. Religion is about saying,"I belong to such and such group of people who practise these things". But, Meditation is about becoming one with nature, with everything and everyone around. It is about being in touch with that universe within and outside.
Meditation is the only solution to the chaos happening this world. Meditation, is something that should be incorporated and make it a practice in schools and education institutions. Along with other subjects every day there should be a class for 30min, "Meditation class". This definitely will strengthen the kids as they grow up to handle the changes in their emotional states and also the outside world very well. It develops in them, Acceptance for themselves and everyone else. Parents should start cultivating this habit from the childhood to prepare their kids for the challenges of future.
Meditate and be in touch with your inner self. Buddha is within all of us. Buddha is a state of mind. Calm, quite and serene. Then, we all end up seeing the world through the same lens, Lens of Meditation.