13 Mar Achieving Your Higher Self with Meditation
Q. Is it possible to channelize your suppressed emotions, energy or negativity into something more creative and positive rather than doling out your anger?
A. Simply speaking, when you are creative, you are positive.
One, when you use your energies towards some creative cause, pursuit, method, or system, you will be more positive, or more importantly, you will use your energies towards something that will eventually be fulfilling. When you have this energy bubbling in you, harness it and then direct it.
Two, that’s where meditation, contemplation, prayers, or chanting, when done correctly, are extremely helpful. They make you more aware of not just yourself but your higher self with meditation, your greater self, your more powerful self. That becomes the source of your energy then.
There was a time when we did not have electricity in the ashram. In its name, all we had was one service line. After 7:00 PM, the fans wouldn’t work. One could not have a tubelight anywhere, just a CFL bulb. Eventually, we got a transformer (after being duped, by the way). Now, we have this energy supply for the whole ashram.
When you keep drawing your energy from your base mind, you are on a service line. At times, it will work. Most times, it won’t. When you connect yourself with a grid, you have plenty of energy. You can light up the whole world – certainly, your world, if not The world. That’s where meditation makes you aware of yourself.
If you just engaged in a social cause, it may be fulfilling. It will definitely bring some wisdom and insight, but it won’t necessarily make you aware of your higher self. As long as you enjoy being in that cause, you will find it good. When that is not the case, you will feel down or sad or bad once again.
When you are well and happy is the time to meditate, by the way, not when you are down and depressed. As I’ve said many a time in the past, the most common misconception that people have about meditation is that in order to be calm, one can meditate. You can meditate only if you are calm already, which then makes you calmer when you go out and operate in the world. So, it’s Catch-22. One fuels the other, one complements the other.
This is the only way I know of to use your energies towards something positive. Sometimes, in some people’s lives, some big stuff happens, like disease in the family. Some people become bitter but for many people, negativity suddenly takes a back seat. They get so busy appreciating life. They get so busy fixing things around them that they don’t have time to feel negative anymore. It basically means that something has drawn their energies.
Q. Is concentrating on silence a state of thoughtlessness that one must hold for a longer duration?
A. Concentration is an act always. When you attain a state of concentration, after a while, it transmutes or transforms into something like meditation. Thoughtlessness is the latter stage. If you’re holding your concentration just fine, thoughtlessness will emerge, but thoughtlessness with awareness. That’s the difference.
It will take a lot of effort in the beginning. Continue to build your concentration. I can only tell you from my experience – believe me, the rewards of building your one-pointed concentration are beyond your imagination.
Most sadhaks, when they start on the path of meditation, are very attracted to different kinds of places. I don’t blame them because in the beginning, you need a very conducive environment to practice. When they do that, most of them give up very quickly. They realize that it is very hard to sit and concentrate. Even a few hundred hours of concentration gives you this wave of bliss, which is almost a mini-insight. You then think you don’t need to do anything more. But you forget the basic law of nature in thinking this way. You will not know what’s next unless you challenge yourself.
To master any skill, you must challenge yourself to another level. If you don’t do that, you will become complacent. If you become complacent, you may just slip into a comfort zone. If you are happy that way, good for you. If you are not happy that way, the way is waiting for you to be walked. That requires effort.
Good meditation is not any simpler than any other skill we master. One time, we had a kathak dancer at the ashram. When she danced, she spun around 50-60 times. For years, she had trained to move that way. An average person doing that would simply collapse on the floor. It’s a skill.
If you want to master any skill:
- Do not give up. Mastery will stop the moment you give up.
- Find the routine that works for you.
- Gradually build the intensity. Results will only come then.
- Maintain your quality.
Follow these and you’ll be amazed.
Meditation is like any other skill. Take the example of any musical instrument. First, when you start to play, it’s all very cacophonous. You cannot produce any good sound. Then, you start to learn a bit of melody. You encounter difficulties around the technique. You want to move your hand elsewhere but you cannot because you have to look at the guitar, for example, or the keys of the piano. But you keep progressing, practising and challenging yourself. You don’t do the same thing you do yesterday. You maintain your concentration and push yourself to jump, say, seven keys today.
And just when you think everything is done, you learn about harmony. You see you can actually harmonize something. You can go through a certain chord progression, modulate, switch from one scale to another and so on. It is endless. When you finally think you can play, pick any classical piece, and you will realize you cannot play it.
In music, they say, “Technique is the ability to play what you have in your head.” If you have not developed your technique, you cannot play that.
Similarly, in meditation, when you gain mastery, it is to be able to think the way you want to think, for how long you want to think, and to maintain that focus. To be able to do what you want to do, you have to build that mastery, which requires conscious or deliberate practice. This means that at all times during your practice, you are perfectly aware of what you are practising. If it goes into automatic mode, it’s time to up the practice. Automatic mode means your sub-conscious mind has taken over. It is no longer deliberate.
If good meditation is investing, enjoying your meditation is spending. If you are just sitting there, and you don’t know where you are, everything feels like you’re floating in some kind of space, you are having fun in something you’ve earned. You’ve learnt to sit still and be okay. It’s not going to take you further, however, if going further is what you care about.
This article on meditation for higher self is transcribed from video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWGDP14kd0g