Self-reflection, meditation is a natural human quality. We are born with this ability. It is not something someone else gives to us. It is not something that comes from the outside. It is not something we have to achieve. We simply have to remember how to do it.
There are many ways to meditate but you could say that there are two main streams of thought regarding how to best learn and achieve a meditative state. Both strive to help the meditator unite their individual consciousness with the Divine.
Everyone meditates whether they call it that or not. Our skills and talents are perfected by concentration and focus. We cannot learn anything well without bringing all of our attention, creativity and purpose toward our goals. Most of the time we pursue worldly pleasure–money, food, sex and recognition. We work to secure a life free of trouble and strife. We pursue the good with great ingenuity and vigor, while pushing away the bad with the same energy.
The need to acquire possessions and hold onto them binds us to the world in unhealthy ways. We can never have peace or be happy when desire and doubt, attachment to worldly things and fear of loss threatens our sense of security. When we meditate on loss we invoke the feeling of loss. When we meditate on fullness we invoke the feeling of fullness. True security happens when we connect with the Self and live from that space.
Most of us replenish our energy during sleep. If your sleep is disturbed or short then the mind becomes agitated. Meditation is similar to sleep in that we can access the peace of sleep while being awake. It has been described as ‘sleep sitting up’.
We can enter meditation via three familiar states of Consciousness: the sleep, dream and waking states. Some minds are lazy, sleep like and easily fall into Tandra, a sleep like trance. Other minds are full of fantasy, imagination and romantic notions. They enter a meditative state similar to dreaming. Other minds are vigilant to the outer world, anxious to keep things under control. They can learn to enter a mind state that is awake but peaceful. Some minds are full of to do lists, how to get ahead, and push for it. They learn to become absorbed in meditation.
The meditation you have at any given time will depend on the state of your mind when you sit to meditate. If your mind is agitated, or if you are angry, or depressed or afraid, it will take more time to calm the mind. However, it is exactly at these times that meditation is crucial. If we can sit until the mind is calm we have achieved a spiritual triumph.
Meditation has the peace of the sleep state, the inspiration of the dream state, and the vibrancy of the waking state. It restores us on all levels.
You could say that life is a series of conversations. From the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep there is chattering going on inwardly and outwardly. There are pleasant and unpleasant conversations. The mind dwells and broods over some and ignores others; some uplift us and some hurt us. These conversations are full of questions.
In meditation we reflect on the language that stills the mind, frees it from the restless activity of useless conversations and connects it to the Self. We learn to use language properly.
When disappointment, frustration and anxiety overwhelm us we look for ways to drown out the negative feeling. We turn to food, drugs, sex and other diversions to avoid the angst of life.
Even in the waking state we can be mechanical, asleep or dreaming–unpresent. In meditation we wake up to ourselves. We can see how we sabotage our lives, our happiness, and our well-being.
Devi Ma is teaching a three week Learn to Meditate course beginning March 15th. This course is designed to bring the knowledge and wisdom of the ancient yogis into the modern age.
Sri Nityananda Ashram has a variety of weekly programs. These include Self-Inquiry or Shiva Process, Study Groups and a range of chanting, meditation and yoga.