When people tell me they want to learn meditation, I ask them why they want to learn it. Usually they do not have any concrete answer. However, some are candid enough to share their true answers. From years of experiences I have learnt that people want to learn meditation for the following reasons
- Peace of mind
- · To cure physical and mental illness
- · To reduce stress
- · Curiosity about supernatural powers of adepts called Siddhis
- · Get rid of the things they are guilty about
- · They had enough of sensory enjoyment. Now they yearn for the higher good
- · Everybody is meditating
- · It is fashion to speak about meditation
- · They love meditating
- · Students feel that by meditating (and not studying) they will get good marks
- · They love meditating
I don’t condemn any of these reasons. At least these reasons make them aware of their true nature. Once I agree to teach meditation people ask me what is meditation. They want a definition of meditation like that of solid, liquid and gases, which they were taught in schools.
Sitting silently, doing nothing
Spring comes and grass grows by itself
I give people experience of meditation; still they want me to define meditation in words. After much persuasion I define meditation for them. Meditation, I tell them, is doing nothing. Yes, you heard it right. Meditation is doing nothing. The disappointment on their faces is palpable. No, they say, meditation cannot be not doing anything.
Now it is my turn to learn from them. For some time they forget that I am the one who is going to teach them meditation. They are still to come out of the mode of denial. They want me to redefine meditation. Come on, it has to be doing something, concentrating on the point between the eye brows, staring continuously at the flame of a candle, breathing exercises, they tell me. They would have been happy if I had told them that meditation is seeing beautiful colourful lights with closed eyes. Meditation is levitating. Meditation is kundalini jagaran. Meditation is rising of the dormant serpent at the base of the serpent. Meditation is zen. Meditation is past life regression. Meditation is producing objects from the air. Meditation is achieving of Siddhis. Meditation is just doing some stretching exercises. Meditation is tantra and copulating while doing headstand. Meditation is this and meditation is that. In today’s age of consumerism, just add few specs of spices in the form of above jargons and the homemade stale roti or bread, becomes a hot selling pizza which will reach your home within forty minutes on payment of a hefty sum. Meditation is reduced to a commodity which is grown at some exotic location and which can be purchased for a few dollars. You check in an ashram with five star amenities, stay there for a fortnight and check out as enlightened souls. This is what impression people carry about meditation. People are happy to hear such definitions and get instantly enlightened. But I will not lie to you. Because on the true spiritual path one does not lie. Moreover, I am not a commodity for sale for sure.
Then too, let me attempt to define meditation. Meditation is the end result of successful practice of simple techniques, liking sitting quiet and doing nothing. That is why I call it as flowering of the soul. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras it is the seventh step of the eightfold path and is called Dhyana. According to Patanjali in deepest meditation one experiences the eighth step of communion with God which is known as Samadhi. Meditation quiets the mind. The silent mind becomes an observer and becomes aware of the advanced states of consciousness. No wonders the words meditation and medicine come from the same root which means healing. While the latter heals the body, the former heals the soul. Not only does it heal the soul but makes it blossom.
Against the aforesaid background let me begin by teaching you a simple technique. The word teaching hurts me. Please tell me whether any one taught you how to eat, how to sleep, how to pee and how to shit? It came naturally to you. Do you know that even the child in the womb defecates? Yes you were disciplined by telling to sleep on the bed that too only during night time. You were taught table manners and were given toilet training. You would be surprised to know that like the aforesaid basic urges, you knew how to meditate even before you were born. I am just going to conduct a sort of refresher course for you.
So now let us come to serious business. If I don’t teach how to meditate today, you would strangulate me to death. So I teach you a very basic technique.
Sit in any comfortable posture. In the beginning do not meditate by lying down. Chances are that you may revert to the most basic form of meditation called sleeping. Close your eyes. Even if the body is stiff it is alright. Even if you are feeling some pain it’s alright. With closed eyes feel your breath. There is a pause once you inhale. There is a pause when you exhale. Just observe the pauses. Even if someone is playing loud music in the background and you can hear it, it is okay. You listen someone talking over the phone. It is alright. Cars are honking and donkeys are brazing. Perfect. Just observe the pauses. Congratulations my friends you have learnt to meditate.