Meditation is a state not an activity
One thing we all need to understand and remind ourselves is that we cannot “do” meditation – it is not in our hands. What we can do is a technique, or a certain practice, or a device given by some wise people.
Meditation is a state of being, where we arrive after a certain practice of a certain technique, or a devise or whatever Sadhana (spiritual practice) that we are suggested by our teachers or masters. I think the same thing applies to Yoga, as all the wise people, especially from India, say that, “Yoga is a state of being, we cannot do yoga,” yoga is something which is a consequence of all the practices that we may do, over a period of months or years. Second thing about meditation, is that, any technique that we may choose to do it is important that we give it a consistency of at least twenty one days. When we are committed to a certain practice for at least twenty one days without failing it on any day; it becomes part of our system, it almost becomes like a good habit and it opens the potential of that particular technique, or Sadhana, or practice, or device – whatever we may call it. It gives us a chance to see the full potential of it and it gives us a certain chance to harmomize ourselves with the potential and the energy of that particular technique. And once you feel that, “yes, this particular technique of meditation is working,” then it is suggested that we continue it for at least three months. Then there is real chance for the actual strength and potential of the meditation or technique to work on ourselves. So, whenever we choose a certain technique, it is not good to judge something within a day or two, “oh it’s not working for me...” It’s better to give it at least three weeks and then in that time, it will really reveal to you whether it is working for you or not. Also, a period of twenty one days makes you a little patient, in any Sadhana.
Trust and patience
Sadhana is a word in Sanskrit which means when you decide to do a certain practice through a certain technique whether it is asana, pranayama, dhyana which is meditation, or any other practice which one chooses to do. So when one chooses a certain Sadhana, a very, very important factor in the path of Sadhana is trust and patience. And this is something, especially in India, all the wise ones have continuously repeatedly again and again, again and again have insisted: that no matter what Sadhana you choose to start, the best approach towards a Sadhana is to trust the technique, trust the guidance of the Guru, the Master, the teacher – and remaining patient, not having a goal in mind that, “ok i am doing this Sadhana, so I must achieve this. All which is in our hands, it is to remain committed, sincere and consistent to that particular practice. The result is not in our hands; the wisdom of the wise ones says that trust and patience are the two pillars of any Sadhana that you do, and it will always help you to progress without any struggle on your behalf and when the energy is not concentrated on a goal then the energy is relaxed. When the energy of the meditator or practitioner is in the moment, in the now, here, it is not running behind a certain goal so that approach really, really helps a practitioner, a meditator, a seeker.
If you see behind me, there is a picture of Sai Baba (Shirdi) who was one of the most famous saints in India and his main philosophy about Sadhana was two words: trust and patience. So this can be included in our practice, no matter what practice you do, that if we can remain in full trust and with patience, then who knows, maybe things may start appearing even before twenty one days. Our goal should not be on the result.
Yes, after twenty one days, one can decide, “yes, I want to continue with this particular practice,” or maybe you are not feeling in synchronicity with it, then it’s ok, at least give yourself and the technique a chance for at least three weeks; if you really like it then definitely continue it for three months. This was also an advice from one of my previous Masters, Osho.
Meditation is like switching on the light
Many times we approach the phenomenon of meditation from a point of view that it will bring us some kind of relaxation, some kind of peace, some kind of easiness and harmony. Yes, that it does also, but at the same time, as I have understood from my Teachers, meditation is a little bit like when you have a cellar in your house which you haven’t cleaned in months or years maybe, so one fine day you decide to go down to the cellar and you switch on the light and when you switch on the light you see the mess. Meditation is like switching on that light. So because meditations can sometimes bring us to those spaces which are unexplored spaces of our psyche, so i am calling our psyche like that cellar which hasn’t been cleaned for many years. So it can be sometimes a little shocking also, but that is where the actual process starts: the process of cleaning the cellar. So along with the process of our practice, the meditation, if you can be assisted by the right guidance, the right knowledge and of course the right practice then it can really help to clean that cellar and eventually have it completely cleaned. Please understand that only sitting in meditation will not solve anything – this was a very clear guidance from my teachers, because if you go to a room that hasn’t been cleaned for many years and you meditate there, the room is not going to get cleaned automatically; you will have to do something. That ‘doing something’ is looking at what the mess is and then finding out how to clean that mess and that can be sometimes a little arduous process with a little struggle, but it is worth it, because you know what it is to have a clean room and then when you burn an incense in that room the meditation is completely different.
Meditating only, does not work
Lastly it is very, very important – because meditation, as you all know, is a journey of growing into awareness, it is a journey of raising our consciousness – but that awareness, that consciousness needs to be applied in our day to day life. That is what I understand as “the extension of the meditation.” Meditation does not ‘end’ after that hour and then we can go back to our unconscious pattern in our life. This was also something that Gurudev was making us aware a lot that, if meditation is not bringing awareness into our day to day life then there is no point – and it could be even simple things, like how you keep your living space or working space, not that we need some fancy things and all that, but just that you keep things organized so that it creates a certain harmony within you and without you. Another example, when we are dealing with people, when we are interacting with people, when we have a certain situation which can be challenging to us, do we bring in that meditation? do we bring that consciousness? do we bring that awareness into that situation? Then, you can say that, “yes, my meditation is working.” So please understand – and i am also on that journey, it’s not that I’ve reached somewhere, but I am simply and humbly sharing what I’ve heard from my Masters and I have been practicing, is that it is very important to extend that meditation into our day to day life and bring that awareness into every interaction or non-action in our life. Then you will see that things are automatically changing around you. Situations may be the same but the way of responding changes, and that is thanks to the awareness and consciousness brought to that situation. You can try it and see how it works; of course, it will grow slowly-slowly. Even if it is an attention spam of five minutes or ten minutes, no problem, it has to start one day and then you will see that if you are persistent, that remembrance stays and then that space will grow.
Part of a talk from a live streaming course organized by YogaLaSource, Luxemburg
- following this introduction a meditation technique was practiced, ending with a Mantra chanting.