11 Jan The Purpose of Meditation
There is a deeper question to be asked – “ If you meditate, does that mean you are going to be happier than those who don’t meditate? If you meditate, does that mean, you are going to be more self-disciplined than those who don’t meditate?”
Or, in other words all I am trying to say is – a) Why meditate? b) Is meditation on its own enough?
So, when you meditate, you will hear a sound of conch shell, because the unstuck sound “anhad naad” is very close to the sound of conch shell, in the beginning. As it expands it transforms into many other divine sounds, which I cannot explain, and which is something for you to experience. Having said that, meditation on its own, is really not going to make you a very calm person or evolve spiritually. Please remember, you may be a top-notch yogi but it does not mean you are spiritually evolved.
Spiritual evolution has little to do with meditation. It is a potent aid; it helps you, but not much beyond that. The singular most important thing that I got from meditation and it’s going to sound very normal, very ordinary but it made a big difference to my way of living and life. My biggest reward from meditation was patience. I can observe something for hours, someone for years, without first saying anything at all. I can sit patiently and not feel agitated, restless or anxious.
Patience is at the core of persistence, self-discipline, and any kind of practice or path you may take, in which you wish to succeed. If there is no patience, all kinds of negativities will come and grab you. I think it was Blaise Pascal who said, “The root cause of all human suffering is man’s inability to sit quietly in a room.” It’s when you feel impatient with yourself.
Meditation will help you develop that patience, which is absolutely required, in not only the spiritual, but the material path as well. Patience is what matters in personal, interpersonal, professional and social relationships. Patience is what matters when you are trying to champion and master something, when you are trying to work on self-transformation. Because these tendencies of the mind were not built overnight and therefore, they cannot be fixed overnight.
Beyond patience and beyond meditation, there are certain virtues without which your meditation will not give you the desired effect or effects. In Santana Dharma, our history is replete with examples of yogi, and people ask me this question all the time, if Durvasa was so enlightened, why would he get so angry and curse people. If Vishwamitra was like this, why would he do that. If Vasishtha was like this, why would they that kind of animosity and so on. Hence, my earlier remark on being superior yogi does not mean you are superior spiritual person.
If you really want to be spiritual, if you want to be a yogi, somebody who is having all these experiences, somebody who can develop clairvoyance and hear distant sounds or somebody who can, not necessarily read minds, but something along those lines. Sure, meditation is the way. If you want to develop extraordinary intuition and if you want to walk in this world with a shield of divine energy around you, so that you protect not just yourself but everyone around you. Yes, meditation and just meditation can give you those things.
But, if you want to be at peace, while living in the world; if you want to stay away from jealousy, hatred, envy and anger and if you want to feel at ease and in bliss, while operating in this world, then meditation will only contribute about 10-15%. Hence, you may have noticed It will not get you the peace that you seek.
So what are these core virtues? The virtues that will give you the desired effect or effects that you seek. Here is an example:
While practising compassion with another, the whole concept of right or wrong disappears. If a child makes a mistake, the mother forgives him automatically because of pure love. But what triggers that forgiveness? A sense of compassion. If there was no compassion within, forgiveness is not possible.
So, when you try and are unable to forgive, you are not being compassionate to the other person and to yourself. If you forgive yourself, you will also forgive the other person.
Once, there was an old lady who served a monk. Two decades went by, and the monk was now in his mid-thirties. One day, she called upon a young woman.
“I want you to go to the monk and tell him that you are greatly depressed, you are going through a lot in life and are looking for some love and warmth,” she said.
The young woman agreed and approached the monk. “I’m really depressed. Can you please give me a hug?” she asked.
“Go, run away! Don’t you know? I’m a monk! I’m not supposed to come near you. Go away. Your problem is your problem. Find the solution elsewhere. I’m not your solution.” So saying, the monk rudely sent her away.
The young woman went back to the old lady. “He didn’t even let me come near him, rejecting me outright!”
“Oh, he offered you no words of comfort?!”
“All that meditation was a sheer waste. He could not cultivate the most basic emotion of compassion,” the old lady responded.
I’m reminded of a little childhood incident. My mother would sometimes ask, “You are always going away for meditation. What more is there that you want to do? What is that for which you really want to go away?”
I replied, “Even now, the pain I feel for those people who are not related to me is different from the pain I feel for those who are related to me. I want that difference to disappear. I want everybody’s pain to feel equally painful to me.”
And this is the primary difference between being compassionate out of divinity and being compassionate out of attachment. To feel compassion for those you’re attached to is automatic. But to feel compassion for those who’ve got nothing to do with you, that’s real compassion. That’s divine.
Ultimately, remember, once you gain an experiential understanding into the true nature of your mind and everything around you, an ever-brimming compassion arises naturally for all sentient beings. At the end of the day, any attainment is worthless if it doesn’t help our world move forward. Any meditation is pointless if it doesn’t expand your consciousness, if it doesn’t amplify your existence and bring in you compassion, positivity and love.