What is meditation?
What is meditation? The question is coming from the mind and meditation is beyond mind. Meditation is something which is so vast and the mind which wants to understand it can only understand till the limitations of the mind. Meditation is something of no mind. Meditation is something beyond mind and something which is beyond mind, something which is a state of no mind, the mind can’t understand. Then you would ask, “If we don’t understand then why meditate? What is the benefit of it?” Before going to that I could say by using the meditation method we prepare the body, we create an atmosphere where meditation can happen. We use aasan, pranayam, the right location to sit, all those are just supporting an atmosphere where meditation can happen. We do not do meditation, meditation is something experiential and not explanative.
How to meditate?
How to meditate? In order to meditate one needs a method he or she can use which appeals the most to that individual. One requirement is the method. Second, one needs a place where one can meditate. Third, an aasana. Something which one can use to sit in a proper posture. Fourth, a posture. Which posture suits that individual, one can choose and for which technique. Mediation can also be on the basis of mantra or no mantra, that needs to be selected as well. So in order to meditate, after having the logistics and basics in place where nobody is disturbing the person (if possible), one needs to use a technique. Which technique is more suitable for meditation.
For technique one needs to go through the number of methods. For example, one can use Vigyan Bhairav Tantra which has 112 methods of meditation. Now, in 112 methods we can quickly go through the list of 112 and out of that you will find for example, 10 which appeal to you. So you short list those 10, write them down separately and have that list. Then out of these 10 you can again further go and check what is more suitable and then you could bring the list down to 7 for example. Then in those 7 whatever technique appeals to you the most first you take this technique and practice it for 41 days and then you will be able to figure out if this works or it doesn’t work for you. Before going for 41 days you could also take each of the 10 methods and practice them for a few days. So, you would know that out of these 10 or 7, whatever you identified, these are the ones which work most. Once you identified those, that out of these 7, these 3 work really good for you. Then you do deeper experimentation on those and pick a technique. Whichever technique you choose. In the entire history of human consciousness the most people became enlightened using the breath methods, because breath is most subtle to us. So you could use those too and in breath there are a number of ways and means of doing the practices.
For meditation, first the technique. If the technique is selected, one needs to sit. For sitting I will explain to you various postures, so you choose any one posture. Sit in that posture and then the question comes, “What to do when I sit?” One method you could use is Ana Pana Sati Yoga, in which you watch the breath going in and out. Just the portion of the nostril opening. Only this area you remain with, putting all the energy over here. Breath going in and out, in and out. Just this, nothing else. That’s one way to meditate.
Why meditate? What are the benefits of the meditation? This is the question. You are meditating so you should tell me why you are meditating and what benefits it is giving to you. Meditation can be used for stress management, meditation can be used for curing certain diseases, meditation can be used for living happy and joyful. But these are ultimately not reasons why to meditate. Meditation is to know who we are, from where we came, where we will go. In the material world, I say that meditation can also be used to gain power, like if we do tratak, you bring concentration in yourself and concentration gives power, which we can use in any which way. It can be used to get a good job by remaining focused, it can be used in achieving ambitions, it can be used in making money. So there are a whole number of benefits of meditation and it depends what one is looking for and accordingly one can use it. But the meditation ultimately is for liberation, meditation is for knowing from where we came and where we will go.
~ with love, Swami Advait & Team Meditation Foundation