Why Do We Fear Meditation?

We fear meditation because we do not know what to expect.

When you sit down for meditation, do not expect the world to disappear immediately. With practice, you can do that but until then you need to be patient.

The Mind is like Indra, King of Indriyas. With willpower, we can close our eyes but it takes more to resist his baits. It is that subtle entity which takes practice to understand and comprehend.

If you have read Amarchitra Katha, you might have read about Indra, King of Gods doing all unholy things and feeling sorry afterwards. While reading about him, these thoughts would have crossed your mind-

  • How can the King of Gods fall prey to pleasures?
  • He is often described as the one who is restless and in continuous fear of losing his throne to anybody. He sees a sage also as a threat.
  • Either he is too humble or too arrogant; he seldom hit the middle ground.
  • And he doesn’t take the counsel of the Trinity before he acts but runs to them after committing the act.
  • Else he runs away and hides. He doesn’t want to face anybody and is overcome by guilt.

All these characteristics are similar to the Mind.

When I initially started meditating, it wasn’t easy. With the senses under your control, you can now see your thoughts very clearly. Very few would admit what all they see. It is embarrassing sometimes but that is why people are so unwilling to close their eyes. Many today advocate you to meditate with open eyes.

So anyway, getting back to what I was saying. The thoughts are like Indra, agitated. It doesn’t want you to observe it so keenly. So it will do anything to make you give up. But that is okay, it happens to everybody.

When you sit down to meditate, one of the many things will surface and will force you to join them.

  • Thoughts which are important to you(family, work etc..)
  • Thoughts that you have planned for the future
  • Thoughts of some good moments you spend
  • Instances that never occurred but which you had dreamt about.
  • Mistakes you committed which were never forgiven(by you).
  • Vile thoughts which are against your belief system
  • Uncanny thoughts

By now, the mind is restless; you open your eyes and things will slowly come to normalcy. But if you insist on continuing then Indra will use his last weapon Vajrayudha. If you overcome it, you will gain some control over the mind.

  • Repressed fears will surface.

It is like a watching a live show if you go with it. It is unsettling and might make you nervous. Trust your scriptures when they say the mind isn’t you.

Great seers had to endure it in spite of living a disciplined life. Remember the story of Viswamitra- you do not give up. Understand that they can’t hurt you, they are just thoughts.

If you think the thoughts are you or yours then that very thought will stand as an obstacle in your practice.

Sometimes the mind doesn’t approve of a thought. It might want to rationalize it to make it more acceptable. One of the two things you could do:

  • Just keep watching the anxious mind and it will pass but might come back. Unfinished business, you see 😉
  • Let it rationalize, you approve it. Leave it at that. It will continue with that for some time but do not entertain it. If you go with it, it will build a castle on that thought.

You might think, what would that do to my memory? Sublimation and rationalization happen all the time, it is just that we do not pay attention to it.

For example: when we do not like someone, we don’t admit that we are jealous or they are better but instead we look for reasons to hate them. There might be hundreds of good things staring at us but we will stay blind to that.

And how much ever you decorate a corpse, it will still go under the Earth. Our memories are faulted and they are past and doesn’t hold life. So, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t go overboard and keep decorating it ;). Let it go.

By now, you will really know how the mind operates. And when you watch the thoughts, you will see variety and their transitionary nature.

With time, mind slows down and then you would clearly see what lies beneath.

When we churn the ocean, good and bad will emerge. How could we say that the Ocean is faulty? The mind is like an ocean and only churning will bring peace.

From my experience, I can promise you this- that whatever has surfaced during med would never come to haunt you again. You would have made peace with it. So, go ahead. Close your eyes and experience the Divine.

Image : Internet

 

Advertisements

About Atman(Cont..)

How am I to look beyond the name and form? I do not see anything.

You are right. The teacher would suggest you look within before you venture out. Therefore, for now, do not try to see ‘Atman’ in all.

  • First, we should know what to look for?
  • Second, it doesn’t have a form; it cannot be described(like space).
  • Most importantly, you and I are also part of ‘All’. So, the search should start within.

You might worry that ‘Atman’ may vary from being to being. For example, the aloe vera plant sitting in the balcony might have less of ‘Him’ compared to ‘Him’ in me. Or the Himalayas would have more of ‘Him’.

Arjuna pretty much had the same doubt. To which Krishna answered: “Ajuna, I, Atman is equally disposed to all living beings(BG 9.29). Everything rests in me, as beads strung on a thread.”-Bhagavad Gita 7.7

Since he doesn’t have a form. How do I experience him?

Let’s apply the basic meditation here-Observing the Thoughts.

  • Sit with your eyes closed in a quiet place. why? Because we give way too much importance to our sense perceptions. So, shut them out for some time. Bhagavad Gita 8.12
  • You see your thoughts coming & going? Do not go with them however interesting they may seem.
  • Where are the thoughts appearing and disappearing? Watch that space that is helping the thoughts come and go. Hmm, interesting. That doesn’t have a form, either.
  • Now, what is that which is observing that space? Your eyes are closed but there is something which is witnessing the flow & intensity of thoughts.
  • If you have ever dreamed, you know that something was watching that dream too.  That is when you say I dreamt. Your body lay there like a corpse while dreaming. So, who was watching that dream?
  • Even in your deep sleep state, there is that thing which is observing nothingness(cessation of activities) Who is That?

Now our scriptures say, that ‘Observer’ who is observing all the three states is ‘YOU’. Unless someone is walking in and out of you, ‘That’ should be YOU 😉

Now we may realize, what do we mean by “Man having a body and mind”?

So, the ‘Man’ is Atman. He is not different from us but He is us.

I suppose we also understand who we are addressing when we use ‘I am’. And the Vedantic phrase “Nitya Shuddha Atman”.

Why am I Nitya? Because I do not come and go. I am there as an observer in all the states at all times.

Why Shuddha? Because the thoughts/emotions/dream/waking doesn’t taint me. They exist in Me. Like what we do under the Sun, doesn’t malign the Sun. Gita in 13.33 reiterates the same with another example of space.

I observe the mind & body in the waking state and the mind building a dream. I also observe when all the activities cease.

I am there. I am That.

As my teacher would put – we are like the Musk deer which spends its entire life searching outward for its own scent. Completely unaware that the smell is from its own navel 🙂

Note: This is my understanding. I might never be able to understand another person, or for that matter, even my mind or body. Though we do not wish for situations/people in our lives to change yet they change and so do we. But you might notice that we are longing for permanence – our very nature.

We should not stay unhappy with what we get. We should find our happiness and trust me, that isn’t anywhere outside. Change is the only constant thing in this world and we are seeking the opposite. So…..

Bhagavad Gita:

Bahir antaśh cha bhūtānām Acharaṁ charam eva cha
Sūkṣhmatvāt tad avijñeyaṁ Dūra-sthaṁ chāntike cha tat// 13.16

Exists outside and inside all living beings, those that are moving and not moving. Subtle, and hence incomprehensible.  Always near yet at the unspeakable distance- such is imperishable He!

Image: Internet

 

About Atman…

When I was told by my teacher that I am neither the body nor the mind .. suddenly it felt strange, as if someone had stripped me of my Identity.

The more I pondered on it, the more desperate I became. The desperation was real. How would you feel, if you been told that you are not anything that you doubted you were? Doubted? This thought would have crossed any mind at least once- that how can I be both the body and the mind.
Now, I wanted to know who am I? How do I look? How did I end up fooling myself to be the body and the mind?
For a minute, I even doubted whether I really existed. That strange feeling of not knowing myself was disturbing. I thought if I didn’t know myself then how wrong was I interpreting everything that is around me.
When the inquiry deepens and when we start asking more questions about Self (mind you, not about the world nor about fixing worldly things) that is when the teacher would render his experience or for that matter the experiences of all those who had discovered their true self.
Teachings:
  • The first thing that you would be told is that Atman is self-luminous, Svayamprakasha.

I, Atman does not require any proof to be proven. I am right there but you do not see me because you are too distracted. For example, we do not see the space or akasha around us(it doesn’t have a form) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there(it is in our experience). Likewise, you do not see yourself nor you see your self in others but you experience yourself and that needs no proof.

  • Atman is the Only Reality, SAT/Existence

Also, Atman is not an effect of a cause and it does not appear all of a sudden from somewhere. IT is just there and everything exists because of That.

Vedanta gives examples of the mud in the pot; it was always there in the pot. Gold in the gold ornaments etc. The body cavity which contains internal organs isn’t different from the space outside the body. Space which is so invincible yet so strong and extremely important for existence perhaps is the closest proof that Atman can exist likewise.

Since the real identity hasn’t been strengthened yet, there is a possibility of the above information to be misconstrued. You might just confuse your old pseudo self to be that Atman. To break that notion, Bhagavad Gita comes forth with the below message.

  • The names and forms are in me; I am not in them.(Bhagavad Gita 7.12, 13.17)

alphabet-alphabet-art

The letters are on the paper. Can you say the paper is in the words?

The 29 States and 7 Union Territories are a part of India. Do we say each state is a different India?  You cannot say there are multiple Indias as there are multiple states. The essence of India is in each state because India is one entity; the states are part of India. There is no two, in reality, India is One. Similarly, the names and forms are in the Brahman, the beings with the names and forms are unmanifest before their birth, manifest in life and again unmanifest on death. Basically, nobody is going anywhere or rightly put, there is no two things to come and go.

Sumi, in a black or pink dress, would still be Sumi. The dress does not change Sumi. Likewise, there is one Brahman, who wears different attires and is addressed differently. Long story short, we should learn to look beyond that names and forms.

to be continued…….

Image:  Internet