Meditation & Levels of Existence
Spirituality is observing your own existence. Have you experienced your own body? Experiencing the various levels of existence - your own body, your breath, your mind, your emotion, and the source of your life - is meditation. Meditation is experiencing the life force and being conscious of it - and this is done effortlessly.
Have you noticed - that the mind and body function on completely opposite laws? In the realm of mind, effortlessness is the key. You cannot remember something by putting effort. The moment you relax the memory comes back. Creativity, intelligence, and memory — all these faculties within us happen effortlessly. But you can build muscles only when you put effort.
With meditation, your physiology undergoes a change, and every cell in the body is filled with "prana". You bubble with joy, as the level of "prana" in your body rises.
On a physical level, meditation helps:
- To decrease any tension-related pain.
- To turn your body into a powerhouse, as you generate an inner source of energy.
When you sit for meditation, observe your breath.
Is your breath steady? Is the prana is haphazard or is it going smooth and normal?
When you are not feeling so good, or when you are down, unhappy or afraid, observe your prana - it is very shaky.
Steadiness in Prana is essential for meditation.
When the senses get steady - then the prana (which was shaky inside you) also becomes stable.
The four-fold inner equipment
It is the same consciousness that functions as mann (mind), buddhi (intellect), chitta (memory), ahankaara (ego). In ancient times, people have grouped these four different faculties as Antahkaran Chadushtaya (the four-fold inner equipment).
How do you listen? The sounds fall on the eardrums - but if the mind is elsewhere, can you hear? You are listening through the faculty in you - that is called the mind. Similarly, you experience all the other senses - through the mind.
Mind gallops towards world of five senses (sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch). You may sit quiet – with closed or open eyes. If your eyes are going all over the place, the mind is not in a meditative state. Only when the mind withdraws from the senses, it is ready for meditation.
If you have a positive state of mind you become creative, and successful in anything you do. People in the West, talk about affirmation. Affirmation is, you wake up in the morning, sit on your bed and affirm to yourself, ‘‘I will be good from today and that I will love myself’’. All these affirmations that you force on yourself – is not a healthy thing.
Meditation is the only way you can transcend the negative thoughts, and then positive thoughts will come spontaneously and automatically.
Stress and tension cause negative attitude. Suppose you don’t sleep for two days small things can irritate you. And if you have rested well, the situation is different.
With regular practice of meditation, the mind becomes fresh, energetic, and intuitive.
When you are listening, you are either agreeing or disagreeing. Notice whether you are saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’. This something by which we say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ - is called the intellect.
Life is very complex. There is no set formula. When you think that you are very honest, that you are righteous, you become a little stiff inside, without even knowing it. You point your finger towards others and become intolerant. When you recognize that there are flaws in you, you are then able to accommodate the flaws in other persons.
That’s why it is said, ‘‘do a good deed and forget about it’’. It is not only your vices or bad qualities that will harm you. Even your good qualities can make you stiff, rude and angry. That is why you should surrender both bad and good qualities. With meditation, you can relax and let go - of the judging nature of the intellect.
If you observe memory, it clings onto something that is negative. You will forget ten compliments from someone, but one insult from a person will stick to your mind.
This needs to be reversed; and the process of reversing this tendency of the mind from clinging to the negative and moving to something positive is called yoga. Yoga makes you like a baby again. It not only revives your nature, it also keeps your heart and mind young and bright.
Memory can make you either sad or enlightened. Through meditation and pranayams, you can overcome painful memories.
Meditation can bring that shift in your memory – to let go of the trivial, and to recognize your infinite nature. With meditation, you can regain the memory of "Who am I”. When people get enlightened, they say, "I remember." They have remembered - their true nature.
Ego and your emotions
You need to take a look at your own thought patterns and emotional patterns - there is a rhythm in them. And there is a rhythm in the consciousness. We need to find a harmony between all these rhythms within us - and that’s called spirituality.
Just look at yourself. Have you always agreed with yourself? You had some idea yesterday; today you may have a different idea. Five years back you had other ideas - that do not necessarily agree with the ideas that you have today. So when you have disagreement with yourself, why should it not happen with someone else? The ‘someone’ you have a disagreement with -is just a photocopy of your old or the new self.
For maintaining interpersonal relationships:
- Have a relationship with yourself - this is called integrity.
- Be informal - for it gives space for mistakes to happen. This keeps your interpersonal relationship strong. You cannot expect perfection in any relationship or situation.
Today one of the biggest problems with the world is emotional instability. When we create an informal outlook and cordial environment around us, we grease the friction and become the master of our environment.
Take life as it comes. Sometimes you are upset or angry; it’s OK to be upset or angry. Life does not stop for anything; it moves. Meditate and just move with the flow.
Q. What can make us centered? If we are shaken, how can we come back to ourselves?
Gurudev: Become more hollow, and empty. Practice more meditation. Do more seva. Seva brings the merit to go deep in. When you go deep in, the mind becomes fresh, energetic, and intuitive to do more seva.
Meditation is the only way you can transcend the negative thoughts; and then positive thoughts will come spontaneously and automatically.