Each personality has his or her preference for living, eating, working, etc. meditation does not escape the idiosyncrasies of each individual. It is broken into various fragments and every person is inclined to one or the other. Often, we see that religion and meditation are bifurcated, and the other times, we see that they are conjoined. By distinguishing religion from meditation, people choose to segregate God from personal meditation for sound body and mind. For some people, the “hassles” of religion and religious doctrines are voluntarily sacrificed for the ease and simplicity of quiet contemplation (especially now, since medical science has begun to prove its effectiveness). Others, however, focus on an image of a deity or on a mystical word or phrase. Through this, they feel in touch with the Divine.
To be sure, we see that meditation has always been connected to mysticism. If some people choose to deviate from that, then it is obviously due to their free will. Yet, original meditation was always performed to commune with the Universal, that which surpasses the ambit of the mind. Sufis, Cabbalists, Buddhists, Vedastists, Sikhs, and the early Christian fathers – all practised divine communion through a silenced, tranquil mind.
Yet today, a gross misunderstanding of the word meditation exists. To be in meditation is neither to simply push energies to a poorly functioning of the body nor to heal emotional hurts. Real meditation is also not a focussed concentration on a mantra, image, or some thought of pleasure. These are simply offshoots of the eternal meditation. Prevailing methods and techniques confine one to the body and mind. Propagators of such methods themselves have failed to understand them message of the ancients treatises in which the purpose of meditation was first recorded.
In fact, the genesis of meditation bespeaks an entirely different method. It is something that we were performing even before our birth, as it was method taught to us by Supreme Himself. Gurubani aptly describes this fact – O Man! When you were coiled in the cradle of the womb, upside-down, you were absorbed in meditation. You took no pride in your perishable body; night and day were all same to you – you lived unknowing, in the silence of the void. Current forms of meditation have their respective benefits, but they are scattered piece of a broken glass. The only way we can reap the true benefit is bringing together all the pieces to synthesize the fragments like pieces of a puzzle. When this puzzle is solved, we will have before us the authentic form of meditation; we will see our true face.
Knowing who we are, seeing our true face, is the goal of meditation. And that face is seen when we piece together and make ourselves whole. Various methods are offered with this goal, yet those methods fail miserably because they lack the adhesive to really mend the broken pieces of our inner Self. For example, some advocate “Mindful Meditation”, which is a detached watching or viewing of the coming and going of thoughts. This is the step in the right direction; however it doesn’t take people to summit which is ever-flowing visions of the Universal, the Absolute, that which is beyond death and destruction, which is beyond desire, disease, old age, and suffering. Some say it is the “Unseen Reality”. Yet it can be seen with the eye of wisdom, the Divine Eye.
Yogananda Paramhansa says: You will surely behold the inner light, for it is ever there, shining in your forehead. Just as all human beings have eyes, so does everyone has this spiritual eye within his forehead. In the Bible, Book of Revelations, it is affirmed: And they shall see His face and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there, and they need no candle, neither light of sun; for the Lord giveth them light and they shall reign forever and ever.
Though the goal of every type of meditation is enlightenment, but frequently, we are caught up in a wheel that takes us in circles. We cannot surpass the realm of thoughts and enter into wisdom without authentic meditation. Without the true form of meditation through which we can behold the face of the Self, the face of God, we cannot achieve anything beyond mind and body. The Eternal Reality that (we think) we experience through various other techniques remain unknown to us in the darkness behind the closed eyes.
Next blog will continue to explore deeper into what it actually means “to be IN MEDITATION”