Beer parties are cool. Zumba sessions are fun. Now what about meditation? Why this stuff must be clubbed in the bouquet of things? Isn’t it complex? Isn’t it confusing? Isn’t it boring? Besides, who has the time to sit and just keep waiting?
Still, when I went to meet the coordinator of a popular co-working space which is putting up its new centre near my home, I was told that these were some of the support activities that shall be offered in-house at the facility.
Honestly, I was truly thrilled because at last someone was at least talking of ‘meditation’ at the workplace. So congratulations guys for bringing the idea alive!
When an individual, like me, speaks about something, then that is one thing and when a large entity starts showing even a little interest in the same thought, then that’s a new dimension altogether. Meditation may be perceived as obscure by most people, yet the truth is that it shall be increasingly relevant as we move into the future.
This will be simply because emotional distress is on a rise in the world.
And it’s definitely not a happy situation to live with that turmoil in the head. Incidentally, medicines can offer little help when it comes to the subject of emotions. Therapy too would have only limited scope. Hence the only effective and viable option is to sit down and learn to stop your mind from going down that undesired way.
In this context, the other simpler methods like beer parties or Zumba sessions may make you feel relaxed possibly for an evening or a few days, yet to keep sailing over the clutter that life may create and to stay clear, calm and also be growing, you would need to learn to not allow your mind be influenced by the circumventing negative influences and that technique would be meditation.
Meditation is control of mind. The mind being fickle by its very nature, otherwise flows free like water or the wind. It goes in all sorts of directions riding on your thoughts similar to a monkey jumping everywhere. This uncontrolled movement causes issues like loss of focus, anxiety and stress, etc., which, if left unchecked, may become ailments like depression or disorders and diseases of various types.
In contrast, if the same mind is focused even a little, the same individual then can easily override all the challenges and also find ways to accomplish works of great distinction. This is why now even the medical science is prescribing meditation for both – recovery as well as growth.
The challenge with meditation is that it is a little cumbersome to master. Besides, mystical theories, puzzling philosophies and original texts in ancient languages like Sanskrit, make the subject even more difficult to comprehend. Also, there is barely any support system in the world in form of teachers or places where meditation can be practiced. This is largely because both these things have certain requirements.
For instance, you can’t be a truly effective meditation teacher just by doing a certificate course somewhere. Instead to be able to guide others, you must have gone through the complete life-cycle of meditation and that would require prolonged practice under an expert for several years.
Likewise, the place for meditation has to be sanctified in a specific manner. This is not about religion instead it should be a place where noble thoughts are cultured in general. Thus libraries could be excellent for meditation, so can be schools, colleges and also hospitals, where people come to heal themselves. At homes, a quiet corner could be dedicated for this discipline.
In recent times we learn of a few large corporations essentially in Silicon Valley creating dedicated rooms in their premises for their employees to sit in silence. Such places too should be good for meditation.
This is also where enhancing the level of awareness and education about meditation also becomes crucial. The complex science must be presented in a manner which people can comprehend and bring into their everyday practice.
The most difficult thing otherwise in meditation is to find your base – meaning the unwavering inspiration to sit for its practice on a daily basis. Once you have found that, the science is almost self-propelling. This inspiration comes from the guide, companion or the teacher. Thus sometimes you may have to go searching for one.
Meditation otherwise is all by live experience. You have to experience everything and as you experience, the science keeps unfolding by itself. And though there are a lot of mystical terms associated with the science, which may sound complex or incorrigible, yet the good part is that a skilled teacher would be able to explain them all in context as and when required.
Everything in this discipline has a clear scientific basis. Yes, sometimes a seeker may feel confused in the middle, yet as they continue with support from the companion or the teacher, they are able to make sense of everything. Just like when you are in kindergarten, most things of junior high school level would seem irrelevant. Yet once you have gone past that level, you would find it all really simple. Same ways, all complexities fade as you rise gradually with your practice.
In this reference, I feel eternally grateful to my revered teacher who inspired me to work in this challenging space and as a result I am now able to play a small role in propelling this deep science among the modern householders in a logical manner.
What is meditation? How does it work? Why it’s so effective? What is its life-cycle? Where does it take us eventually? Such questions are asked by almost everyone. Today, let’s understand these aspects in truly simple terms.
If you are practicing meditation then expect yourself to find two things all along:
These things come to you as a gift because the process of meditation makes you drop all your prevailing thoughts for a while and instead make you focus on something which is deeply peaceful by its very nature.
For example, you may simply start listening to the chirping of the birds. Sit in silence and just listen to the birds chirping in a garden or somewhere.
This sheer act would make a wave of peacefulness run through you immediately. Next, as you will practice this exercise repeatedly, the same vibrations shall start forming a firm foundation in your psyche. Like this, this sense of peacefulness will start staying for longer duration in you. Further, as you will practice more, it shall keep growing by itself.
Thereafter, once you would be able to sustain this peacefulness for a prolonged time then you also start finding (or refining) your purpose. Hence you shall then start improving as a person and as a professional.
This happens simply because, with regular practice of the discipline and experience of your natural peacefulness within, your mind stops going down the drain of the negative thoughts and instead is able to stay fresh and remain energetic for doing something positive, in turn making you purposeful and focused.
Please note: peacefulness of meditation won’t mean laziness. Plus meditation would never make you an escapist. Instead it will bring you a tremendously strong sense of purpose.
Surely, here you can definitely question me.
If meditation is merely about peace and purpose then why so much spiritual context gets attached to it otherwise?
What is spirituality vis-à-vis this talk of peacefulness and purpose?
To understand this simple secret, please try to answer this question:
What qualities do you see in a person who you may feel to be spiritually enlightened? Who do we call as divine?
Aren’t they the people who appear to be:
- peaceful and
- living for a purpose!
Thus, whether it was Gautama Buddha, Akka Mahadevi, Meera, Swami Vivekananda or even other illustrious and frequently revered personalities like Saint Teresa, Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam – all these lives were simply about purity, peacefulness and serving a chosen purpose.
So, what is spiritual enlightenment? What does it mean to be divine?
Well, it simply means being pure, peaceful and living for a purpose.
Go ahead and test this definition. Check it anywhere and I am telling you that you won’t find any divergence.
The life-cycle of meditation, starting from the most basic level to right up to the level which may be called the gateway to nirvana, is simply about finding these 2 things in tandem:
- Your own natural peacefulness &
- Your own sense of purpose.
This is what you find through meditation and this is what meditation helps you find in yourself and when you can possess both simultaneously for a prolonged period, purity too begins to shine by itself. Then people start feeling that you have become enlightened or divine.
Hence, what you may experience on the day-one in meditation, the same stuff you shall experience at every step; the only difference being that it shall keep growing in its intensity and duration.
Nothing is impossible in this science. It is a completely self-propelled mechanism. The simple requirement is regular practice. If you practice daily, everything will start coming your way. Moreover there are countless ways and methods for achieving the needful, hence a lot of choice also in terms of techniques and procedures.
Certainly, there will be challenges, difficulties and obstacles in the journey. To handle them effectively all you must do is to have a guiding support in form of either a teacher or an experienced meditation companion.
Thus once these two things, viz. a practically doable method for regular practice and a guiding support have been put in place, then meditation is great fun; the journey itself is so amazing that you joyfully forego every other alternative.
For example, I once loved drinking beer essentially when feeling tired or fatigued. Now of course I don’t drink and that is also because I don’t feel that kind of tiredness or fatigue anymore. I have no job related stress instead always have the energy to pursue my purpose.
Further, the calm meditative bliss that runs within due to regular practice is like a joyous dance happening within. Though, it doesn’t mean that I would want to miss the Zumba sessions out there in the new co-working facility, provided I can get a seat in that almost filled co-working space.
Nevertheless, even if I am not able to find a seat, then also I will still have my meditation and interestingly, this would be the other most amazing thing about this discipline. Once mastered to a certain level, nothing can take away your peacefulness from you! So, success, failure, hits, misses, appointments, disappointments; they all come and go, while you stay as joyous as before.
Actually, meditation is not complex. In fact, Mother Nature offers countless simple and convenient tools like wind, water, smile, songs, hymns, birds, air and more that can let you find your natural peacefulness and also help you master the advanced pegs of this deep science.
The mistake that most people commit is that they get diverted by the needless mystical theories, supernatural philosophies and illusionary concepts which sadly have got associated with this discipline over the ages. Those things are all useless and can be conveniently discarded, as Swami Vivekananda too had emphasised in all his teaching.
I have been in this discipline for 25 years. I have seen all its shades and thus can confirm every bit of this truth. This has been a discipline which has made me physically healthy, mentally strong, emotionally balanced and peaceful within. It has brought me my purpose of life which I searched for so long and accordingly now I am able to support others as well.
All this began with simple 10 minutes practice of a chosen method. Initially I couldn’t be regular in the discipline; since mind was still weak and distractions too alluring. However once I met my revered teacher, there was no looking back ever.
The same sequence now I am seeing with my
friends and meditation companions – each of them making stable progress and
enjoying it as well. They all are from various professions and have different
cultures. Yet the same result for everyone in the discipline. All happening due
to two simple things – regular practice and a little guided support.