What the East has been practicing for millenniums, (yes millenniums) has been the frenzy of the West only recently. It is marketed under different names and forms, it is extolled for the numerous mental, physical, and metaphysical advantages, and it is also glorified for its holistic healing.
Disclaimer: I don’t profess to be an erudite philosopher or soul-searcher, I will only relay experiences and learnings I have come across. I shall share what Meditation is, and what one must focus on, as also not focus on.
Locking yourself up in a room and slipping in a 00.15.00 timer cannot provide you with your daily dose of “meditation.” If you deliberate anything (posture, chant, etc.), it is binding to your mind. Instead of relinquishing thoughts, you start imagining – feigning an experience that springs from your mind, and not free from it. In deep meditative state, there is loss of knowing, recognition and remembrance. Meditation is not easy. One has to discipline oneself for constant awareness. But what do we have to be aware about? Both internal and external things. What you say, eat, do, etc. are processes that you must be aware about. And internally, you must focus less on preconceived notions and knowledge, more on free thinking (or ceasing to think at all). Why? Because knowledge shapes and controls experience – and for this reason, set aside what you have heard from teachers and saints; find out for yourself. The beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are, where you are going, or what the end is.
But how do you cease your mind?? That organ is the cause of our sleepless nights and awful days; it just does not switch off! Expert-level meditation as mentioned above (where the mind completely shuts) is highly daunting if you are beginner. For beginners, one must then attempt to spend time ‘enjoying’ the ‘inner.’ I will explain this. The ‘inner’ talked about here is any of the following words that you prefer: Soul, God-emanation, Spirit, inner-person, inner-strength, superego, etc. First, acknowledge that its existence is within your physical body in a non-physical capacity. It is witness to all your actions. If it can sit through and attest to all your activities, should you not service it by thinking on it for some time in the day? For acknowledging its indwelling in you at least once a day? Conscious remembrance is the path to ‘enjoy’ the ‘inner.’ Be aware on this life-giving power who is in you and everywhere around you. This acknowledgement is beginner Meditation.
I am going to leave you with this very poignant excerpt by Jiddu Krishnamurti from his book on Meditations:
“A meditative mind is silent. It is not the silence which thought can conceive; it is not the silence of a still evening; it is the silence when thought – with all its images, its words and perceptions – has entirely ceased. This meditative mind is the religious mind – the religion that is not touched by the church, the temples or the chants.”