Meditation 101

It would be safe to assume that you’re reading this article because you want to learn meditation. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing.

Let’s take a look at what the spiritual masters have to say about meditation.

Nobody can do meditation. The reason why most people who have tried meditation have come to the conclusion that it’s very difficult or impossible is because they are trying to do it. You cannot do meditation but you can become meditative.  Meditation is a certain quality. It is not a certain act.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

So with this understanding, the logical question is – how to become meditative? It’s likely that you’ve tried to meditate but faced the following two problems:

  1. you felt the strong urge to sleep a minute into closing your eyes
  2. your mind was wandering all over the place (and to other, new places you had never been)

But with meditation now known to have so many scientifically proven medical and psychological benefits, you are eager to get in on the transcendental know-how but only don’t know how.

If you cultivate your body, your mind, your energies and your emotions to a certain level of maturity, meditation will naturally happen. It is just like if you keep the soil fertile, if you give it the necessary manure and water and if the right kind of seed is there, it will grow and bloom into flowers and fruits.

– Sadhdguru JV

Meditation is not an action or a ‘doing’ but actually ‘non-doing’. This implies that we must dis-identify with the body. Meditation is not thinking about something, but is actually no-thinking or ‘no-mind’. This implies we must dis-identify with the mind. So meditation begins with the understanding that one is not the body or the mind.

Meditation is just to be, not doing anything – no action, no thought, no emotion. You just are. And it is a sheer delight….

Meditation starts by being separate from the mind, by being a witness. That is the only way of separating yourself from anything. If you are looking at the light, naturally one thing is certain: you are not the light, you are the one who is looking at it. If you are watching the flowers, one thing is certain: you are not the flower, you are the watcher.

– Osho

For most of us though, the mind is a constant source of thoughts, unstoppable and uncontrollable. Even when we close our eyes to shut out the world, the mind creates its own world and there  are non-stop movies playing out inside our heads. That’s why the mind is often compared to a monkey (‘monkey mind’), jumping from branch to branch, from thought to thought. More often than not, these thoughts cause us misery. Yes, you heard that right – the mind that so many of us pride ourselves on and so many of us attribute our success in life to, is for most of us, also a source of misery. So how can we try to control this source of misery and eventually become ‘no-mind’?

Watch your mind.

Don’t do anything – no repetition of mantra, no repetition of the name of god – just watch whatever the mind is doing. Don’t disturb it, don’t prevent it, don’t repress it; don’t do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher, and the miracle of watching is meditation. As you watch, slowly mind becomes empty of thoughts; but you are not falling asleep, you are becoming more alert, more aware.

As the mind becomes completely empty, your whole energy becomes aflame of awakening. This flame is the result of meditation. So you can say meditation is another name of watching, witnessing, observing – without any judgment, without any evaluation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the mind.

– Osho

So meditation involves emptying out the mind as opposed to the common misconception that the mind needs to learn to meditate. And contrary to another common misconception that meditation means relaxation of energies, meditation actually means intense concentration (the kind that can reduce your sleep quota to a fraction of the average person’s requirement – that is a whole other topic not covered in this article).

Sounds like tough work? As a beginner in meditation then, it is useful to firstly accept that meditation demands a lot of discipline and patience – given how full most of our minds are, it will take a while to empty them out! But the key is to begin somewhere and stick with it, training the mind like you would a kindergarten child. The following are some tips as you begin to make some quiet time for yourself:

  1. Mentally repeating to yourself ‘I am not the body. I am not the mind’ (part of Sadhguru’s ‘Isha kriya’ meditation) or some other mantra you like
  2. Watching your breath (this is usually easier when done after a ‘pranayama’ practice or breathing exercise)
  3. Using a guided meditation video (from the assortment available on You Tube for example)

See also: – Effective ways to improve your yoga meditation practice and Practical meditation tips

You can start with the above aids and slowly, you will begin to find your path here. Consistent practice will help to quieten the mind and discover the inner stillness. As they say, only when the waters are still, can we see the surface beneath. Not only that, only still waters are of any use to anyone; no one can drink from turbulent muddy waters. So really, what you do for yourself, you also do for those around you. It’s the ‘meditation win-win’. The ‘win-win’ of the highest order.

 

For more information on the teachings of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, see http://isha.sadhguru.org/mission/guided-meditation/nobody-can-do-meditation/ and for more from Osho, visit http://www.osho.com/read/osho/osho-on-topics/meditation

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Shruti Bakshi
Shruti Bakshi is the Founder of the LivingWise Project. She has worked for several years in banking and financial services in London, Paris and Mumbai and holds an MBA (INSEAD) and MPhil in Finance (Cambridge). Shruti writes about life at the intersection of spirituality and modern society. Her debut novel 'From Dior to Dharma' was released in May 2017.


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