19 Nov 1: What is Meditation?
When was the last time you sat in silence? When was the last time you experienced deep silence? That is what meditation is. It’s a state of deep silence, but with one key difference. Ordinarily, when you are sitting in silence, you are not aware of it. But, when you are aware of your silent mind, a state, when the mind is looking at itself, then that is a state of deep silence, and that is one of the final stages of meditation.
I am not promising that with meditation you can levitate, shrink your body to a tiny point, or gain all those ‘siddhis’ (magical powers attained with yogic advancement through meditation and yoga). All I can promise you is that, with meditation, you will experience deep silence. In that deep silence, something arises naturally, and that is called insight. In that insight, you learn to look at life very differently. Your perspective towards life changes completely. Then, people don’t bother you as much, words don’t hurt you as much, and things don’t throw you off-balance as much. Because, life will go on. People will still hurt you, challenge you, resist you and the world will test you. Even when all that is going on in your life, how do you remain peaceful? That is what meditation is about.
At first, meditation is an act. It is an activity that you undertake. It is a verb. But as you progress, it becomes a state of your mind, and you are ‘in’ meditation. Then, meditation just happens to you. You don’t have to sit down and meditate anymore, you are in a state of meditation at all times. The key difference between meditation and all other activities is that the former leads to silence with awareness. The gap between one thought and the next is where extreme silence lives. The average human mind goes through 60,000 thoughts in a span of 24 hours. There is no time for the mind to stop from one thought to another.
But, when you practice meditation correctly, you are able to live in that gap because you don’t have to think all the time. Just like your body goes to sleep, you can also put your mind to sleep when you don’t need it to work. Just like a nap of seven minutes refreshes you completely, a small, good session of meditation can completely refresh you. Having said that, meditation is not a five-minute feel-good activity, although that could be a very good start. Meditation is about going into the deepest recesses of your consciousness and exploring and experiencing the truth – the truth about the real you; not the truth that the world has made you believe about you. You are not a man, a woman, a father, a daughter, a mother, or a sister. Maybe you are some of these things, but you are something beyond that as well. The answer to, ‘What is You that is beyond?’, is the outcome of good meditation.
This article is part 1 of Learn to Meditate series, and is transcribed from the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISTPhdlTWBQ
Read Part 2: Hurdles in meditation, or Meditation Tips for Beginners .