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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2680

What is meditation? Why should we meditate..?

By *Meher Baba - Syndicate Features

Meditation may be described as the path which the individual cuts for himself while trying to get beyond the limitations of the mind. Meditation has often been misunderstood as a mechanical process of forcing the mind upon some idea or object. Meher Baba : "Meditation is essentially an individual matter in the sense that it is not for self-display in society but for one’s own spiritual advancement." Meher Baba : "Meditation is essentially an individual matter in the sense that it is not for self-display in society but for one’s own spiritual advancement."

Most people naturally have an aversion to meditation because they experience great difficulty in attempting to coerce the mind in a particular direction, or to pin it down to one particular thing. Any purely mechanical handling of the mind is not only irksome but is bound ultimately to be unsuccessful.

The first principle which aspirants have to remember is that the mind can be controlled only according to laws inherent in the make-up of the mind itself, and not by means of the application of any mechanical or semi-mechanical force.

Many persons who don’t technically ‘meditate’ are oftentimes found to be deeply and intensely engrossed in systematic and clear thinking about some practical problem or theoretical subject. Their mental process is, in a sense, very much like meditation, in as much as the mind is engrossed in intense thinking about a particular subject- matter to the exclusion of all other irrelevant things.

The spiritual tragedy about ordinary trains of thoughts is that they are not directed towards things that really matter. On the other hand, the object of meditation has always to be carefully selected and must be spiritually important; it has to be some divine person or object, or some spiritually significant theme or truth.

In order to attain success in meditation the mind must not only get interested in the divine subjects or truths, but must also begin by trying to understand and appreciate them. Such intelligent meditation is a natural process of the mind; and since it avoids the monotonous rigidity and regularity of mechanical meditation, it becomes not only spontaneous and inspiring, but easy and successful.

Meditation is the first stage of a process which gradually develops into concentration. In concentration the mind seeks to unite with its object by the process of fixing itself upon that object, whereas meditation consists in thorough thinking about a particular object to the exclusion of every other thing.

In concentration, there is practically no movement of the mind but in meditation, the mind moves from one relevant idea to another. In concentration the mind merely dwells upon some form or a pithy and terse formula, without amplifying it through a success of ideas. In meditation, the mind tries to understand and assimilate the object of dwelling upon diverse attributes of the form or various implications of the formula.

In concentration as well as in meditation, there is a peaceful intermingling of love and longing for the divine object or principle on which the mind dwells, and both these psychic activities are very different from the merely mechanical processes which have rigid regularity and unrelieved monotony.

Persons with the capacity for concentration, meditation is unnecessary. It is sufficient if they concentrate on the mere form of a God-man or Man-God.

Meditation is essentially an individual matter in the sense that it is not for self-display in society but for one’s own spiritual advancement.

It is not necessary for persons to go to mountains and caves. Even in towns, a little care and trouble can secure the aspirant the quiet, silence and seclusion necessary to facilitate and promote progress in the different forms of meditation.

Any posture which is comfortable may be adopted so long as it contributes to the alertness of the mind and doesn’t induce sleep. The posture should not involve any physical tension or pain. It is desirable that the aspirant should maintain the same posture for each meditation. Choosing the same spot and a fixed hour also has a salutary effect. Hence the aspirant must be serious about resorting to an identical place, posture and hour.

Meditation should not be resorted to with a heavy heart, as if one were taking castor oil. One has to be serious about meditation but not grave or melancholy. Humour and cheerfulness not only don’t interfere with the progress of a meditation but actually contribute to it. Meditation should not be turned in to a distasteful and tiresome thing. Meditation should be something like a picnic on the higher planes. Like excursions into new and beautiful natural surroundings meditation brings with it a sense of enthusiasm adventure, peace and exhilaration.

In ordinary thinking the uninterrupted flow of relevant trains of ideas is common, but when the mind sets itself to systematic meditation, there is inevitably a reactionary tendency for irrelevant and contrary thoughts to emerge and create disturbances.

This is the law of the mind and the aspirant should not be upset by the appearance in consciousness of many contrary and unwholesome thoughts which had hitherto never made their appearance.

The process of meditation invites many absurd and unwanted thoughts. The aspirant must expect and be prepared for all these disturbing thoughts and should exercise inexhaustible patience with unshakable confidence that ultimately all these disturbances will be overcome.

*Excerpts from the discourses of Meher Baba, the silent Master

- Syndicate Features -

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