“If you have time to breathe you have time to meditate. You breathe when you walk, you breathe when you stand, and you breathe when you lie down.” — Ajahn Amaro
It took me a while to understand this, but unless you don’t meet face to face with the realization it takes time to understand what meditation really is. At least for me who is not so advanced in the transcendental knowledge of the supreme or perhaps you can say the nature, it is really difficult to attain the state of meditation. As I am still discovering the path of being in the meditative state here is a small write-up which I have co-authored with my spiritual friend Milli Datta Khan who is a Nichiren Buddhism practitioner.
Let’s dissect the word to understand it better. Meditation is according to Wikipedia “is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.” That’s one of the most lucid definition of meditation I could find on the web, and when I dwelled on the meaning within the lines it was indeed enlightening.
Another insight to ponder upon is the word ‘meditate’, meditation is noun whereas the word meditate is verb i.e. to take action. Therefore, to meditate is to take conscious action to achieve the desired mode of consciousness, and it can be said that meditation is a way of life, and how beautiful it will be if one’s life itself is converted into meditation. Now it starts with the very simple process of meditation and one needs to meditate on something to start the ignition.
Let me narrate a simple yet an apt metaphor, say, you decide to go somewhere by your car, in order to run the car you need to start the ignition then the car will move. Your ride depends on few factors like the condition of the road, the agility of the driver which is you, and the knowledge of the destination. Similarly, meditation is the journey, to meditate is to start the ignition and to keep running it, depending on your karma how smooth or difficult your journey will be is decided, but if you have developed the firm skills and character to face the adversities just like the skills possessed by the driver there is no second doubt that you shall reach your ultimate destination. Yes, the paths may be different and even if it sounds a bit clichéd it is true that it will lead us to the same destination. (Now, isn’t funny how people are hell-bent in destroying each other because they happen to choose a different path in order to reach their destination)
Just like you have the choice and free will to decide whether to undertake the journey by the car, you also have the free will to decide whether to meditate or not. It is for those who seek answers for their existence in this world, those who have realized that their existence perhaps might not just be a coincidence but by a deliberate design. Knowledge of the knowledgeable is important and that is there in the form of books and their wisdom is inevitable in search of truth, but without the knowledge of the ‘self’, the knowledge of within, the realization is not possible. The key to all the knowledge within is meditation.
When you initiate the process, when you start to meditate, you open the window to unlimited possibilities, you reach the ultimate knowledge source. If one needs to understand what I am talking about through graphical representation you can watch the movie Ant-man. Towards the end, when the Ant-man destroys the Wasp to keep his little daughter safe, he becomes so tiny that he is able to enter the smallest part of the atom itself. It appears that there is no concept of time and space here. There is just a vacuum which is so peaceful and full of transcendence.
All the answer lies inside us, we hold all the knowledge of the universe, and in fact all human beings are super powerful and full of knowledge. If all the bliss and eternal knowledge is inside us then why do we appear so much in difficulty and so much in pain? The answer to that question is very simple, if you have a trunk load of treasure which is locked inside, unless you open it would you have the access to it? You need the key to unlock the trunk, and that key is the way of meditation. We seek the key to that trunk outside, whereas it is within us. Failure after failure of inability to find the key leads to frustration.
That trunk is nothing but your subconscious mind that stores all the treasure of knowledge. When you are aware, you will observe that it is always guiding from what is (right) and what is (wrong), I have put them in brackets as these spheres are always subjective for humans, but our subconscious mind knows it all. When you listen to your ever existing voices inside you carefully then gradually it starts giving you all the answers that you need to know.
There is no particular way of meditation, however shutting down your visual sensory organ is necessary as it helps to shut off any distractions. Our mind is ever restless, it is here with us for a moment, and the very next moment it shall cover miles to be somewhere else, and that too before you realize. When you close your eyes, your inner guiding light is lit and helps you to have conversations with your ‘self’. In a definite way meditation is a prayer to invoke the higher powers to communicate that we surrender before You, it is a way to touch the ever beautiful ‘self’, and when that happens your world turns out to be beautiful, the sky, the flowers, the stream brings you message of happiness. You become filled with gratitude, and full of compassion.
Our heart only knows the path of happiness that gives us the inner peace and serenity. Spiritual practice such as meditation and prayers are nothing but to remind us what we are and we already know, why we are here, and what our mission is. And we all forget our heart’s message and fall into life’s ruts and crevices. We feel unfulfilled and unhappy. We get depressed and anxious. We have blurred our perspective and forgotten you bigger picture, and lost the way.
The remedy is simple. Take the time to remember our divinity, our spiritual nature. Remember why we are here. Meditation is one way to triggering our memory.
Meditation is a feeling of self-realization, and to know our subconscious mind where we can face our inner potentialities as well as our inner flaws and have the Strength to take the full responsibility of it and have the courage to accept it and change it. Here change is an inside job which causes conspicuous as well as inconspicuous benefits means unknowingly we start changing from inside and along with our outer circumstances also start changing.
As we take the full responsibility of ourselves that means we have already open our subconscious mind because with close mind it’s impossible to learn anything new. Only open mind can receive and process new knowledge. Now there will be a question, what is subconscious mind? Subconscious mind is our conscience. It can also be called our higher mind, higher self, or inner voice (the feeling that your subconscious mind gives you is called ‘instinct’. The subconscious mind is our true mind, spiritual mind. Just as the conscious mind or physical mind take care and guide our body, the subconscious mind take care and guide our soul. The soul and the subconscious mind are joined together for eternity. So after guarding our soul by preventing it from taking the wrong actions, the subconscious mind guides us towards what is morally right. Only spiritual knowledge alone will help our subconscious mind to evolve. It is only when we put that knowledge into practice that the subconscious mind grows. Therefore, the key to spiritual growth is pure action. Physical mind sets limit but our subconscious mind is actually shows how much limitless or powerful we are, and can only be done through meditation.
Meditation is an art or technique of quieting our mind. Although everything is energy and everything in this universe are interrelated and all set in a beautiful rhythm. With the help of meditation we can follow and sync ourselves with the universal rhythm. So that the endless chatter that fills our consciousness is stilled. In the quiet of the silent mind, the meditator begins to become an observer, to reach a level of detachment, and eventually, to became aware of a higher state of consciousness. By pulling us out of the rut of everyday awareness, meditation serves as a reminder of what we have been learning about higher, more spiritual values. To meditate is to remember regularly. You are reminded of the bigger pictures, of what is important in our lives and what is not.
There is a very beautiful line by Osho — “If u can be in love in any situation, then you are in meditation.”
It means only love is real. Only love is an energy of incredible power and strength. We are all made up of energy and love encompasses all energies. Love is an absolute. Love never ends, never stops. The purest form of unconditional love, expressing your love and expecting nothing on return. By giving love away freely you become a spiritual millionaire.
Remember to listen to your intuition, and try not to let your fears sway the soft and gentle murmuring of your beautiful heart. Feel the freedom to love without holding back, without reserve, without condition. For our lives in this plane is limited ones. We are merely in a school. When we return home, we take only our thoughts, our actions, our learnings, our love with us.
Finally, do not be afraid. We are immortal, eternal spirits and we are always loved. In fact we are love.
Therefore, remember, when you are seeking love and happiness you are seeking the path to self-realization. You just don’t know it yet or perhaps still seeking ‘happiness’ at the wrong places. When you are walking the path of your passion, the things that you love to do, it is in fact a manifestation of meditation. Sooner or later we will be there, we all will be taking that journey. You just have to understand our relationship between you and the Gohonzon, till the time your life itself is converted into a form of meditation and it becomes visible when you walk, talk, sleep and think.