The soul who meditates is content to serve the self and rest satisfied within the self; there remains nothing more for him to accomplish- Bhagavad Gita.
Before we discuss here what is meditation about, I would like to point out some key things on why you should meditate.
So before digging into it, let’s give few seconds to understand why you should meditate.
- 1 So why should you meditate?
- 2 So what is meditation all about? Is there any definition of meditation?
- 3 How should you meditate?
- 4 Types of Meditation
- 5 Challenges in meditation or stages of meditation
- 6 How do you know if you are meditating correctly or not?
- 7 What should be the ultimate stage of meditation?
So why should you meditate?
You want to start meditation. That’s great. But….
Is it because you want to add some extracurricular activities to your life’s resume so that when you get old you can say to your grandchildren that ‘oh yeah, I know what’s meditation-like, I am the master of it ? or is it because you have no other things to do? or is it because you really are tired of being the person that is not actually you and want to experience life beyond its materialistic nature?
Often we do things in the world, whether that’s getting educated or getting married or having kids, ultimately all of that is done so that you can be happy.
But none of these lead to real happiness, this only leads to some temporary pleasures and every time you have a glimpse of that pleasure you mistake that as a happiness.
Self-realization is that state where you transcend this temporary pleasure and trade it for a constant state of happiness.
And self-realization is only possible with meditation.
All of our pleasure lives in our mind anyway, imagine if you can get to the source of that pleasure, the mind itself. Would not this be beautiful? Every moment of your life will become blissful, filled with joy and happiness, everything around you will look beautiful, you will now no longer carry that stress, no depression, no anxiety, no fear in your mind….only blissfulness.
If i were to tell you benefits of meditation…it’s ineffable my friend. Simply ineffable.
So what is meditation all about? Is there any definition of meditation?
There is not a fixed definition of meditation..reason being everyone experiences the meditation in a unique way. Your experience of meditation and someone else’s may not exactly match. That’s why giving a particular definition of meditation is difficult.
However, one can explain meditation as a state where you cross over the limitation of your physical body and the mind.
A respected guru says ‘ Meditation is not an act, you can’t do meditation, you can become meditative, it is a phenomenon’.
How beautifully explained..isn’t it so?
Meditation means to be in a state where you are neither the body nor the mind because body and mind are the things you gathered from outside world over a period of time.
For example, your body was not the same when you were just born and when you were 20 years of old. It is the food that you have eaten from nature, that helps you gain the body of a 20-year-old. Similarly, the mind is full of trembling thoughts that is imposed upon us from the childhood. Is not it so?
Right now our experience of life is limited. By limited I mean to say that we can only feel, see, smell, hear and taste things that are physical in nature. We refuse to believe in things that are not experienced by our five sense organs. Meditation means acquiring capability that is not bounded by our sense organs.
To know and experience the life beyond physicality….. is meditation.
Now please don’t imagine yourself being a superhuman after hearing all these 🙂 At least not now.
How should you meditate?
Meditation is not like deadlifting or squat or some other program that you normally do in a gym. It is actually opposite.
In the gym, you use your physical strength and in meditation, you need some kind of mental strength.
One thing that is common though in both case is the ‘never giving up’ attitude.
Meditation is simply sitting around and doing nothing. We have been so much over taught to do things all our life that we dream even while we are sleeping. Don’t get surprised if I say you being meditative is simply sitting around and doing nothing, saying nothing and how to manage your mind doing nothing.
But..meditation is not an act, it is not a process but it is rather a phenomenon, it is a state.
You can’t do meditation, you become meditative.
As long as you are trying to meditate, you are not meditating. So the goal is to get to that state when you are not meditating.
As this is my first post, I will soon write on how to properly do meditation. Please don’t judge me if I am saying the word ‘doing meditation’ again. 🙂
Types of Meditation
There are basically two types of meditation, one is concentrative meditation and other is contemplative meditation.
In concentrative meditation you focus on an object, it could be your breath, could be a thought, could be a sound, could be a form or could be nothing(formless).
Formless meditation often known as thoughtlessness is an advanced level of meditation where one can see his mind through his inner eyes.
The second one is contemplative meditation or analytical meditation. In this type of meditation, one can choose any thought of his choice and start to analyze it. You begin to ask questions to inner self like who am I? Am I the body? Or am I the mind? If I am the body, why my mind bothers me? If I am the mind, why my body pains? Who in me is feeling this pain? Or am I the soul? When you start asking these questions you will find the answer to all your queries. You will find out that whatever you are relating as your’s is actually not yours.
The eternal inner you is what you are.
Challenges in meditation or stages of meditation
In the beginning, when you start to meditate it is like a river of thoughts flowing through your mind, no matter what you do, you can’t stop these stupid thoughts coming. More you try, more it will come and often most people give up at this stage.
In addition to that, leg numbness is the most common thing when beginners start meditating.
Thoughts are like you are driving a car and storm full of dust hits you. Now you can’t see the road. You gotta turn on the lights to drive through.
The mind is very unstable, it is always moving. It is like a child who won’t stay at same place no matter how much you tell him to stop doing so. So, your first challenge is to stop the unnecessary thoughts that keep coming.
So, what should you do to overcome this challenge?
Giving up is not the option.
Next stage is when your mind asks you to stop sitting around. Have you tried telling a child to sit in the same place for 5 mins? It won’t listen to you unless you show him the power of greed. Tell him you are gonna give him a piece of cake or his favorite chocolate. He will readily agree to sit there.
Similarly, your mind is like a child, it asks you to stop meditating because your body is not used to ‘sitting and doing nothing’. Your mind will now begin to stop doing it. It asks questions like ‘Is it over? How long should I sit around like this? C’mon..get up now.’
Now how do you handle this? Simple….just tell him to ‘shut up’ and concentrate on your meditation. You will instantly see that after some time your mind will start to calm down.
When your mind calms down, you will start to feel that you are now more aware of the present. If you are meditating on the breath, you will notice that now you are able to concentrate more easily on your breath and you are now in more control over your mind.
You say him ‘shut up’ and it listens. That’s how it worked. Funny though.
How do you know if you are meditating correctly or not?
This is from my experience I am telling you that, if you are doing it correctly your body will start to heat a little bit. This is due to the energy that generates during meditation. Because energy in itself is warm in nature. Again this differs from person to person. It may not be same for all.
Some say that experiencing leg numbness could also be a good sign.
But most importantly, if you feel good after a session of meditation then all is good, but if you don’t feel any difference, then you should know that you are doing it wrong.
What should be the ultimate stage of meditation?
The goal of meditation is to achieve that level of vivid awareness and consciousness where you know of everything happening around you, you will have answers to every question, you will no longer have any doubts. Everything around you will look beautiful as all of them are The God’s creation…like you and me.
No anxiety, no depression, no stress….and most importantly an experience of complete blissfulness… the realm of happiness. Pure happiness.