Getting back to that serenity which is our original nature is meditation. Absolute joy and happiness is meditation. A pleasure minus excitement is meditation. A thrill without anxiety is meditation. A love without hatred or any of the opposite values is meditation! Meditation is food for the soul, and every soul yearns for meditation.
There are five ways through which one can experience meditation.
#1 Through physical manipulation
By stretching and contracting the body, the mind experiences a state of awareness that you can call meditation. Exercise can bring a certain amount of calmness in the mind. Not totally, but a certain degree of meditativeness can come through exercise and physical manipulation. Yoga and Tai-Chi are examples of ways to experience a meditative state of mind through physical manipulation.
#2 Through breathing exercises and pranayama
Through the breath, the mind becomes quiet and can easily slip into meditation. This we all know through our experience of Sudarshan Kriya. After pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya, when you sit for meditation, you slip into meditation effortlessly.
So a breathing technique is another way to get into meditation.
#3 Through any of the five senses
Through any of the five senses and sensory objects, one can experience a state of no-mindedness – no thoughts, calmness, serenity, and inner beauty.
If you observe a child eating a lollypop, you can see how the child is totally engrossed in enjoying that piece of candy. At that time, if you ask the child what their name is, they won’t answer! They are fully into enjoying the lollypop. Being 100% engrossed in a particular sensory object brings you to a state of meditation.
You turn on some music and you get totally engrossed into the music, then a moment comes when you move even beyond the music. You no longer hear music, but you know you are and yet you have no boundaries. In the language of Yoga, this is called Laya Yoga, which means dissolving in it. This leads you to meditation.
Any wonderment or astonishment also leads you to a state of meditation. Whenever a “wow” arises in you, there is no mind, there are no thoughts – but you just are.
The senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound can all lead you into meditation, provided you do it in the right way. It needs a certain skill to experience that.
#4 Through emotions
Emotions can also lead you to a state of meditation – both positive and negative emotions. A state of shock can also take you into meditation. Again, it is a little risky.
You know, when you feel utterly hopeless, you say, “I give up!”It means – this is it, I can’t take it anymore. During those moments, if you don’t slip into frustration, depression, or violence, you will find that there is a moment where it snaps and there is no-mindedness. So, whether it is positive emotions or negative emotions, like fear, the mind stands still, it stops. It can lead you into that spot.
#5 Through intellectual stimulation
Intellectual stimulation, knowledge, or awareness can lead you to meditation too. This is called Jnana Yoga. If you visit a space museum, you will be in a different state of consciousness when you come out of the museum. You will experience a shift inside you because you have seen yourself in the context of the universe. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? What are you in reference to the unfathomable, infinite universe?
If you have studied Quantum Physics, you start to see that everything is just atoms, or just energy. If you delve into Quantum Physics and then you study Vedanta or the Art of Meditation or Yoga, you will find striking similarities. You will find that the same language is being spoken.
Adi Shankaracharya said, “All that you see doesn’t exist”. One of the top scientists of our times, Dr. Hans-Peter Durr said, “I studied matter for the last 35 years, only to find that it doesn’t exist! I have been studying something that doesn’t exist.”
So, through knowledge also you can experience a state of meditation.
Try this exercise:
On a free day, just lie down somewhere outdoor and keep looking at the sky. A moment will come when the mind becomes still, there are no thoughts and you don’t know where you are, but you know you are. An experience of the centre everywhere and circumference nowhere.
Limitless awareness can happen through just watching an empty space, because our mind is also space, and consciousness is also space.
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