To the logical and reasoning mind, meditation is not an act of effort but a spontaneous happening. So meditation is not done but it happens.
Then, is it some other kind of practice?
Can we practice love?
Can we practice devotion?
Can we practice happiness?
No…These are the matters of experience; these cannot be practiced.
The purity of the mind is the source of egolessness. Egolessness means Ego’s surrender to the self after fulfilling its purpose in the scheme of life. Along with purity of mind and egolessness, Right understanding and knowledge about the Truth are indispensable.
The seeker who has a genuine interest in this regard can only proceed on this path.
In Meditation, all the activities of the ego-mind come to a standstill. Conscious awareness takes the place of the ordinary thinking mind.
Conscious awareness has a vast and wider scope than the ego-mind’s limited consciousness.
The consciousness of the ego mind is a borrowed consciousness. Being in the proximity of the self-consciousness i.e. conscious awareness, it also gets enlightened by reflected Consciousness of the Self and appears to be self-conscious, due to ignorance.
In Meditation, we understand the all-pervasiveness of thoughts.
We also understand that everything in nature is made of thoughts. Hence, all objects in Nature are in touch with and related to those thoughts of which they are products.
In simple words, all objects in Nature including human beings are products of thoughts.
Although, to the ordinary mind it appears that the thoughts are the product of human beings. But it is not true. The sun appears to be revolving around the Earth but the truth is otherwise. It is the earth which revolves around the Sun. So, the thoughts after producing the things or objects continue to revolve around the things/objects, without losing their all-pervasiveness.
This process in the universal life continues to work according to the laws of Nature. These thoughts are of varying nature and our body-mind organism is also of varying nature.
Hence, according to some law of identity different types of thoughts continue to revolve around the different type of mind-body organism.
By the intermittent action and reaction of thoughts and body-mind organism, the mind starts collecting the impressions of the thoughts-actions and reactions in it as memory.
On reaching a requisite growth level, the memory gives birth to a false personality called Ego.
The ego further develops a sense that it is a doer of deeds and enjoyer of their fruits. In this way, a non-being comes into a being and plays in the hands of Nature till the ignorance is removed by right knowledge.
Meditation claims to give that light of knowledge by enabling the seeker to watchfully walk on the path of truth.
There are four stages of Consciousness
Unconsciousness (deep sleep)
Consciousness (Wakeful) and
Super Conscious (Samadhi or ecstasy)
In the Unconscious stage, there is no attentiveness as to what is happening.There is complete ignorance. Deep sleep is the example usually given to explain this stage.
Besides that, we can be unconscious during serious illness, by the consumption of certain drugs etc.
In the Sub-conscious stage as in dreams, we are semi-conscious. In wakeful stage, we are conscious of sensations and events happening in and around us.
There is the fourth stage i.e. Super-Conscious. This is the stage in which is aspired to be reached through Concentration, Contemplation, and meditation.
In the process of Concentration and Contemplation, both the subject and object are present. Ego is the Subject, the thinker and the thoughts about certain things or events are the objects.
There is a thinker and the objects thought about. There is the experiencer and the object experienced.
The process of Concentration and Contemplation further develops, and the Ego, becomes more aware of itself and separates itself, from the sense of doership and becomes a witnessing self. The witness of the thoughts and events happening without craving for anything, agreeable to it Or repelling from anything disagreeable.
Events happen, both good and bad, leaving no scar on the witness self. The witness self-remains unaffected as long as it maintains a distance from thoughts.
If a reasonable distance is lost than Ego is no more a witness but a participant in the deal, however fake the entire deal may be.
By and by, if the query of the aspirant continues and the results obtained are tested by living them practically, the aspirant experiences a state of thoughtless awareness.
Can you imagine what will happen the Ego if there are no objects and hence no thoughts?
The Ego, in that case, will be covered by a thick darkness of ignorance and deep sleep. This is not meditation or the purpose of meditation. thoughtless awareness; choiceless awareness is indispensable for entering into the state of meditation.
Our investigation so far has led us to conclude that objects and thoughts accompany together.
If objects are there, the thoughts about the objects will also be there. If thoughts are there, they will be imperatively about some objects. Both the objects and thoughts go together under normal circumstances.
During deep sleep objects in the world are in existence but thought about them are absent.
However, Ego-mind is not aware of both the objects and thoughts during deep sleep. Our Ego is, therefore, completely at rest. But there is something which reminds us of waking up that we enjoyed a nice sleep.
We were completely at peace. This something is called awareness which is our real being, the real self, Aatman(Soul) or whatever you may name it. The nature of the true self is different from the nature of the Ego.
The true self is neutral to all dualities of life whereas ego survives only in dualities.
But the existence of the Ego, however illusory it may be, is with the consent of the real self. It is the real self that manifests through the Ego-mind-body organism.
The ego-mind-body organism is not real in the sense that these are subject to change, death and decay whereas the Real Self is immortal and eternal.
During meditation, we actually experience that the Ego and the Self-are two separate entities with different nature placed together to fulfill some hidden plan of Nature.
The dreams and sleep are not in our Conscious Control. However, we can make efforts in our waking state to ensure that we are fully awake.
Usually, like living in the dreams at night, we live in daydreaming during our wakeful state. Now, it is here that we can do something to develop the right awareness in our waking state by being constantly attentive to our thoughts, actions and other sensations of our mind-body-organism.
So now let us practically try to do something and see what happens.
Let us sit in a Comfortable body posture at a peaceful place and time where and when there is no disturbance to engage our attention.
We should pay attention to our body posture and examine every limb of our body to ensure that no part of it is under tension. If we find any limb tense we should relax it. This can be done by practice. We shall now observe our entire body and see that it is relaxed.
If there is tension anywhere that has to be relaxed by observation. We should feel the entire weight of the body at the place where we are sitting.
We should be constantly aware of our body posture and continue to visually observe it for at least half an hour without moving.
Along with the fixed body posture, our eyeballs should also be stable.
The best place for doing this exercise is perhaps bedroom if we don’t have any separate small room for this purpose and the best time is bedtime before sleeping and in the morning before leaving the bed for our normal activities of the day.
We have our body and the power of observation. So we observe our body posture with that power which is called Consciousness. No-faith or belief is necessary. Everything is practical here.
As long as our body stays in a particular posture without any movement, and we Constantly Continue to observe its stability, our mind also gets stable and comparatively peaceful.
Now lessor thoughts will come across the mind.
When we experience this truth during practice, the next step can safely be taken. The next step is paying attention to the incoming and outgoing breath.
We concentrate only on the breath when the breath goes out, we know that the breath is going out. When it comes in, we know that the breath is coming in. When it is a long breath, we know that it is a long breath. When it is short, we know it is a short breath.
Our breath is also a truth of life.
Our body cannot stand alive if there is no breathing in and breathing out. I.e. inhalation and exhalation.
When we are under stress or tension, we observe a different kind of breathing than when we are happy and comfortable.
The breath is of a different quality when we are in anger and quite different when we are at peace.
The quality of our breath decides the quality of our thoughts and the quality of our thoughts decides the quality of our personality.
Hence, a constant awareness of breath is necessary. To avoid the situation of stress, anxiety, and tension, we should understand the reason behind them.
Evidently, the stress etc is based on certain events which happened in the past and we are afraid when such disagreeable events are likely to happen in future also.
Therefore, our fears, hopes, stress, and tension etc are based on the thoughts of the events that happened in the past or events which are likely to happen in the future.
Normally, we live either in the past or in the future under the reigns of our thinking mind.
The thinking mind never stays in the present moment. So the Constant awareness of the breath, here, actually means staying in the present.
The happening of the inhalation and exhalation is taking place in the present moment. There is no past breathing or future breathing. When we stay in the present by observing our incoming and outgoing breath, there will be no thoughts about the past and the future because our Consciousness is totally working on our breath.
Our whole attention is on the present moment and the thought process belongs to the past and the future.
Therefore, in the present, we are in the state of thoughtless awareness.
Let us note the difference between the state of deep sleep and thoughtless awareness. In deep sleep there is total ignorance; no awareness of any kind.
In thoughtless awareness, there is total awareness but no thoughts. In deep sleep also, we do not have any thoughts but there is no awareness, too.
Whereas the thoughtless awareness is a Super Conscious state in which our choiceless awareness does not come to an end even when there are no objects or thoughts as experienced in the waking state.
The above discussion goes to show that it is a matter of understanding by practically seeing and experiencing the realities of life.
Meditation is effortless and leads to thoughtless awareness.
The rest provided by meditation is more profound than the deepest sleep. Meditation happens when the thinking mind is completely at rest.
It is not only an approach to train the mind to become free of stress and tension but also leads to the evolution of ordinary Consciousness to Super-Consciousness which perhaps is the goal of life.
We have time and again said that meditation happens; it is not achieved by efforts. But we have to create the circumstances in which meditation can happen spontaneously.
Creation of circumstances some efforts to minutely understand the process are, no doubt, desirable.
On proper understanding, we will see that to find the ultimate truth we have to simply remove the undesirable coverings from our ordinary consciousness to enable it to see the truth.
Similarly, undesirable and compulsive thoughts are also needed to be ignored as being unnecessary.
To avoid any confusion, it is made clear, that thoughtlessness means that the thoughts will not disturb our peace by entering our Consciousness when they are not needed. The thoughts will not dominate our consciousness but shall be dominated by our consciousness.
The choice shall be ours whether to entertain a particular thought or not. Thoughtless awareness means that we shall be aware even when there is no thought.
We shall be equally aware when there is the absence of thoughts; a vacuum and also when thoughts touch our consciousness and go back.
Actually, we need not follow any process or do anything except to observe what is happening in and around us.
We have to simply be aware of what we are doing; what we are thinking, feeling, eating, tasting.
We have to be aware of every sensation proceeding from us or touching us from outside.
If we understand this, it is sure to lead us to meditation proper resulting in self-awareness and self-awakening or we may call it a state of self-realization.
For easy understanding of the concept of meditation, we can divide it into two parts.
In the first part we prepare for meditation and in the second part we wait and allow meditation to happen.
In the first, our personal efforts are necessary to the extent of cleaning our ego mind from impurities. It has to be liberated from attachment, aversion, and ignorance etc.
All the sadhanas are meant for this preparatory stage. When the ego mind becomes pure and transparent, it is capable of reflecting our true self to us.
Before completion of the first part, we shall continue to see and experience the distorted picture of our self as reflected by the impure ego mind.
We do not know and can’t ascertain as to when the second part of meditation to happen. The happening of the second part is governed by the law of cosmic consciousness and not by the will or fancy of the individual ego mind.
We will slowly move from efforts to effortlessness, from ignorance to knowledge and from darkness to light before we actually realize our True Self.
Our psychosomatic personality will get a divine touch of the supreme self and the individual self will experience a great change in himself.