Meditation

Meditation is one of the spiritual disciplines which occupies an important position in most of the spiritual traditions. Therefore, a proper understanding of its role is necessary for every spiritual seeker. Now-a-days, Meditation is recommended for physical and mental health, personality development and better performance also. Hence, a clear understanding of meditation is useful for all, whether one seeks spiritual enlightenment or not.

The Upanisads vedanta point out that Self-Knowledge is the only means of liberation and that Self-enquiry guided by the Vedantic teachings is the only means of Self-Knowledge. So, Self-enquiry occupies primary position for a spiritual seeker.

Meditation is prescribed neither for Self-knowledge nor for liberation. It is meant for preparing the mind to receive and assimilate the vedantic teachings. Accordingly, Meditation can be broadly classified into two types, VIZ., Preparatory meditation, which is to be practised before one exposes oneself to vedantic teaching and Assimilatory meditation which is to be practised after one exposes oneself to systematic vedantic teaching consistently for a length of time.

One has to develop different mental faculties to receive the Self knowledge. Accordingly, Preparatory meditation can be subdivided into four types. This is based on the faculty to be developed.

Preparatory Meditations

(1) Relaxation - meditation

In this, you learn to relax at all levels. In any posture consciously relax every part of the body from head to toe. When the body is totally relaxed, you feel bodiless. Then, observe the breathing. This will help in making the breathing-process smooth and even. Next, relax the mind. The following methods can be used to relax the mind:

(2) Concentration - Meditation

While the previous meditation is for simple, deep relaxation, this meditation is to develop the faculty of focussing.

The following methods can be used to develop this faculty:

(3) Expansion - Mediation

All the time, being obsessed with personal or family life, one develops a narrow, frog-in-the-well mind. To break this, one has to meditate on the totality which expands the mind and makes the individual and family problems insignificant. Try the following:

(4) Value - Meditation

This meditation is very important. This will help in internalising the values. This will bring about a transform in transactional life.

(5) Assimilatory (Vedantic) Meditation

The seeker of spiritual enlightenment should not stop with the practise of the above mentioned meditations. Self-enquiry with the help of a Guru and the scriptures is a must. Consistent and systematic study of scriptures for a length of time under the guidance of a traditional master will lead to Self-discovery. To assimilate and own up this wisdom, one has to practise Vedantic meditation as follows:

Obstacles and Remedies

(1) Sleep

This is the most common obstacle. One need not feel guilty about it. The solution to this will vary from individual to individual. Some general methods can be tried by all:

(2) Distraction

This is the second common obstacle. One need not feel guilty about it. The following methods can be adopted to avoid this.

(3) Dullness

Sometimes the mind becomes dull. It is neither asleep nor restless. It this happens, nothing can be done. One has to hope and wait for clearance. However, one can try to avoid this situation by the following methods:

(4) Tasting the Tranquility

The withdrawal and quietitude in meditation create a sense of wellbeing. Many mistake this temporary experience of well-being as spiritual fulfillment and tend to enjoy it more and more. This is the subtlest form of obstacles. This can be solved only by applying Vedantic discrimination properly.

Conclusion

Everyone can practise the first four forms of meditation. It will be very useful whatever be one's field of activity. If one is a spiritual seeker, they become all the more important. One does not require any special initiation to practise these four forms of meditation.

Om Tat Sat

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