What Is Meditation?
“What is meditation? Meditation is man’s self-awakening and God’s Self-offering. When man’s self-awakening and God’s Self-offering meet together, man becomes immortal in his inner consciousness and God becomes fulfilled in the world of manifestation. ‘Meditation’ is a most complicated and most fulfilling word. When we meditate without knowing how to meditate, when we meditate with our mind, it is most complicated. But when we meditate with our inner conviction, with the feeling of divinity within us, it becomes most fulfilling.
One cannot meditate well unless one knows how to concentrate. At first the seeker should not meditate but only try to concentrate. Then after two weeks, a month, or if necessary two months, he can start meditation.”
— Sri Chinmoy [source]
Your consciousness is something which is a persistent reality all day long every day, and therefore meditation is not something which only starts at the moment you begin to enter into a state and ends at the moment you come out of that state. If your consciousness is something which is an eternal reality and meditation is how you behave, then meditation is a lot more than just simply entering into a state seated at a shrine. Meditation is how you behave. If you are behaving well, you are meditating. And I don’t just mean the act of no longer hitting your brother/sister, or using your inside voice. I’m talking about thoughts: how you control your mind, how you are on the inside, is how you behave. And you control your mind by keeping it calm and quiet and by listening to the good. Listening to the good means you are not listening to the bad.
That Which Is Helpful For Meditation Is Part Of Meditation
Taking a shower and being nice and clean is something which makes you more pure; it is more conducive to meditation. There are various things you can do (and not do) in life which are helpful for meditation and are therefore all a part of meditation. It starts on the inside though, such as discipline, will-power, and dedication. Taking a shower or following a vegetarian diet is discipline manifested. Then, after some discipline, if you are calm and quiet, that is also part of meditation; that is the beginning of meditation.
The Secret To Meditation
Listening to the good within you is called aspiration. Aspiration is the secret to meditation. Aspiration is all about trying to better yourself and be a good or better person. Again, being a good person doesn’t just mean you don’t hit your brother/sister or you don’t go smoke drugs or rob somebody; it has to do with your thoughts: are you thinking positive thoughts and trying to keep your mind calm and quiet? Good or bad behaviour begins on the inside.
What Is Deep Meditation?
If you are following the path of aspiration, you are following the path of meditation. But what is deep meditation? Meditation can be going for a walk and keeping your mind pure, or doing work and focusing well on what you are doing, but deep meditation is something you want to practice if you want to make the fastest progress with conquering anxiety, doubt, depression, anger, and other negative forces.
In order to enter into meditation, deep meditation that is, you need to practice some form of concentration. You need to breathe in and out and, while doing so, you need to concentrate. If you lose focus on your object of concentration, then go right back to concentrating on your object of concentration. And that will help you to gradually experience meditation, which is a calm, soothing, nourishing experience with infinite potential for something deeper and more fulfilling. God is Infinite, and, during meditation, God feeds you with His Peace, Light, and Bliss; you can get some of it, you can get a lot of it, or you can get an infinite amount, depending on your capacity, but within all of it is God’s Infinity.
The Path Towards Deep Meditation
Like I said, there are things you can do that are more conducive to meditation, such as taking a shower or at least washing your face before meditation, keeping your back straight while you try to practice meditation, following a vegetarian diet, not drinking, smoking, or doing drugs, being more kind to others, listening to peaceful, soothing, spiritual music, having more love for God, having more love for the world, thinking and embracing divine thoughts as opposed to undivine thoughts, keeping your mind calm and quiet, reading spiritual writings, daily exercise, and just generally being aspiring. It’s all about aspiration. Aspiration is the secret to meditation. And concentration is the key that opens the door to meditation. So, if you’re already doing some of these things listed above, you’re already starting on a path towards deeper meditation. How do you keep going? Well, you have to follow a disciplined daily routine of punctuality and regularity for your meditation practice, which should be at least 10 minutes a day at your shrine or meditation spot. Punctuality and regularity are of paramount importance when it comes to meditation.
A Beginner Should Practice Concentration
In you is both good and bad, in other words, divine forces and negative forces. Anxiety is an example of a negative force and when you are suffering from it, it means you are listening to something bad within you. When you are concentrating or keeping your mind calm and quiet in some way, you are listing to the good, which is aspiration. Probably nobody taught you when you are about two years old, when you first started learning to worry, or unlearning how to not worry rather, that concentration and relaxing is what is helpful for you. You may have been told to “settle down” or “behave”, but perhaps you just didn’t have it explained to you well enough. Controlling your mind through concentration, be it on a flower petal, a candle flame, your breath, or God, etc., is good behaviour and will help you become a better person, which includes overcoming anxiety. It will help you increase the good and decrease the bad. While you are practicing concentration, if you continue to listen to the good, eventually the negative forces will not bother you anymore because you are not paying any attention to them, so it will be beneath their dignity to stick around. God will help with that.
There Is Always At Least Some Kind Of Aspiration
Meditation can be done at any time of the day and can be as simple as taking a deep breath and feeling yourself relax or imagining that you are offering everything within you to your spiritual Master or God. But your meditation does not cease the moment you stop taking a deep breath or offering to God because your consciousness and behaviour do not cease. In other words, after you take a deep breath, if you start day-dreaming with many different thoughts, your meditation is not very good anymore, and perhaps you’re having such a bad meditation that you’re not making any progress and negative forces start attacking you. There are two things: thinking and meditation. Thinking is not meditation. Meditation is controlling your thoughts. So, for example, if you are focusing on your work, you are doing a form of meditation. In order for there to be meditation, there needs to be aspiration. So, the less you are aspiring the less you are meditating. But even in the darkest dark, there is still at least some kind of aspiration because God is in everything, God is Omnipresent. So, even if you are completely overcome by anxiety or some other negative force, i guarantee that God is still there helping you. You need to learn to listen to Him.
Simple Meditation And Deep Meditation
There is simple meditation where you feel calm and quiet or when you treasure a good thought, and there is deep meditation where you become fulfilled and consumed with God’s Peace and eventually become Peace itself. Everybody knows simple meditation, but deep meditation is something that will help you make the fastest progress. For the rest of this blog, deep meditation will simply be referred to as meditation.
Sri Chinmoy has stated:
“Everybody meditates. If you tell me, ‘No, I do not know how to meditate,’ unfortunately I cannot see eye to eye with you. Everybody meditates, but there is a difference between my way of meditation and your way and his or her way of meditation. Since the dawn of Heaven and the creation, everybody has been meditating, but we all meditate according to our capacity and receptivity. When we think of God and meditate on God, this is one form of meditation. When we cherish or treasure a good thought, even for a fleeting second, this is another kind of meditation. Anything that helps us to our self-expansion is meditation.
There are various types of meditation: simple meditation, which everybody knows; deep meditation, which the spiritual seeker knows; and higher or highest meditation, which is the meditation of the soul, in the soul, with the soul, for the entire being. When an ordinary seeker meditates, he meditates in the mind. If he is a little advanced, he meditates in the heart. If he is far advanced in the spiritual life, he can meditate in the soul and with the help of the soul for the manifestation of Divinity in humanity.”