Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Truth about Meditation and Samaadhi

When we speak about what meditation is and is not, we can start with a definition of the word “meditate.” Webster says that to meditate is, “to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”

This definition is a start, but to practice it one would need to know more. Also, with just this information many misconceptions about what meditation really is can arise. Therefore, my working definition will be: “Meditation is a state of higher awareness, awareness of your true Self which is pure, free and forever.”  If we use Webster’s definition then we would think that meditation is only a focusing technique. However, the state of meditative awareness can occur spontaneously, such as, by being in the company of a long time meditator, by listening to a talk on meditation, or just by closing your eyes and watching. Therefore, we need to expand the definition and to do this first we will explore what meditation is not.

In the Transformation Meditation Teachers Training Manual the basic misconceptions of meditation practice are discussed along with the true meaning of what meditation is.

Misconception 1: The state of yoga or union with the Self is achieved when the thoughts in the mind are controlled.

Thoughts do not need to be controlled. Your mind is a field of thoughts and they appear without your invitation. When you come to know that your thoughts are waves of perception that you, as the Self, use to perceive the world, then your thoughts are not problems that have to be controlled. They appear from the Source, or Pure Consciousness, and you can observe them as they return back to that same Source. When you follow these thoughts back to the Source, or experience the space between your thoughts, you are united with the Self. When ice is heated, it turns to water and then steam, which dissolves back into space. H20 can appear in different forms, such as clouds, ocean waves, ocean foam, ice, steam, etc., but it is the same substance. In the same way, your thoughts can be seen as energy in a more solid form appearing as words, and then as more subtle perceptions, or waves, which you can observe as they dissolve back into the Pure Consciousness field of your awareness. Just as we know the ocean is all water even though we may perceive waves, spray or foam, we can also know that thoughts are all Pure Consciousness.

Now that this is cleared up, we can continue on with the discussion of the truth about meditation. The question will arise: “If you do not control your thoughts in meditation then what do you do?” The answer is that you just close your eyes and watch the space in front of your closed eyes. The instruction is to watch as it is; in this watching that you become aware that you are the watcher or witness of all the changing thoughts. Therefore, you can de-identifying with the thoughts and remain the Knower of your thoughts. You become aware that you are not your thoughts, as you are the one who is knowing or watching your thoughts.

The techniques of meditation, such as using a mantra or watching the breath, are just preliminary methods to allow you to begin to watch rather than to drift off with all the changing thoughts. When you follow all of your thoughts that is called day dreaming and not meditation. It becomes meditation when you, as the watcher or Knower of your mind, direct the attention back to the mantra that you are repeating, or when you direct the attention to watching your breath.  By doing this you are remaining the watcher or Knower and de-identitifying with the changing thoughts. You become aware that you are the watcher, or subject, and the thoughts are what you are watching or knowing, as the object.  If you, for some time, follow the thoughts then that is fine as you cannot control your mind. Thoughts just come from nowhere, like your hair grows without your control and thoughts come and go without your control. When you go to sleep at night, you lie down on your bed, tuck yourself in and wait for sleep to come. In the same way when you meditate you close your eyes, watch the space in front of your closed eyes, repeat the mantra or watch the breath, and become aware of the Knower of the thoughts and breath. Then meditation occurs by itself. Remember and practice the definition I gave about meditation, “A state or higher awareness.”

Patanjali in his great work on the yoga sutras, says in his
Yog Darshan, III: 2,

Tatra pratyya-aikataanataa dhyaanam

Dhyaan, or meditation, occurs when the attention of the mind flows in conscious continuity and opens up to the awareness of its own knowingness. ( From: The Sootras of Patanjali Yog Darshan: Concise Rendition, by Robert William Eaton)

To remain in the awareness of your own knowingness, means to remember the Knower. The space behind your thoughts, or the space when all the thoughts dissolve back into that space, is what remains when you allow your thought to just pass by. You remain as You, the Knower, or Pure Knowingness, and that You is pure, free, and forever.  That is meditation!

Samaadhi is not the type of transcendence whereby you no longer exist and you are unconscious, as it often sounds like when it is described as transcendence. Samaadhi is when the buddhi (dhi), or intellect, is sam, or even.  The Sage Patanjali says in Yog Darshan, III:3,

Tad-ayv-aarth-maatra-nirbhaasam swaroop-shoonyam-iv samaadhi

In that same dhyaan, or meditation, when only the essential purity of the focus of meditation shines in the meditator’s mind, as if the mind’s dualistic nature has dissolved and become absorbed into the pure space of the Self. That is samaadhi, the state of indivisibility or oneness in the meditator.

When in the state of samaadhi there is no longer the dualistic vision of you as a Knower, and a space that is being known. There is only You, the Knower, or the purity of space. When the intellect is absorbed back into the space from where it arose, just like a cloud dissolves into the blue sky and now there is no cloud, in the same way the wave of perception or thought is dissolved into You, the pure Knower-space or Pure Knowingness itself. Samaadhi is the Eternal Being. In samaadhi there is no desire or craving for anything as you are completely fulfilled and free just by being left alone with your true Self. Nothing else is needed.  All the clouds of the mental thoughts, feelings and forms have now dissolved back into the Source or clear space. That space is now You, the Pure Knowingness and all is peaceful and free. Samaadhi is your true state or true nature as it is always there behind all of the thoughts and experiences. The space of your purity gets covered by the mind, therefore, when the mind is absorbed in that space, what remains is the true You, pure, free and forever.

Shree the Director of Transformation Meditation Online Institute. She is available for individual Self Realization sessions on Skype to help you to become aware of the identification with your mind and thoughts and to guide you to the knowledge of your true Self, forever one and blissful. It has been said that even a few sessions of Self Realization Counseling will break your chain of suffering and can give you more than you would get in many years of traditional psychotherapy. Listen to Shree's, Free 5 Minute Doubt Free Mediation MP3, Click Here

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