30 years ago when you mentioned meditation people thought that you took drugs and were part of a cult. Of course that was often the case. 🙂
These days when you mention meditation everybody seems to have an opinion about it.
In our society meditation (along with Yoga and Tai Chi – both highly respected spiritual development methods if applied correctly) is unfortunately often turned into an exercise.
Most people wrongly assume that meditating longer and developing a meditation schedule/habit will ‘get you there’ faster.
Meditation using willpower will only strengthen the personality’s view that it is doing something ‘spiritual’. It will build a stronger spiritual pride that will get in the way of opening.
So, what actually is meditation?
Often it takes years of ‘meditating’ before you realise that what you are doing is not IT. That is because our ego keeps on believing that it can do meditation.
Mostly what the ego is really doing is ‘tripping out’. By that I mean that the ego focuses strongly in a way that makes the brain create dopamine which makes us feel good. This in turn makes us do positive action which leads to a better life.
Of course there is nothing wrong with feeling good or having a better life, but it should be called energy manipulation or ‘magic’ instead of meditation.
If you focus strongly enough in this way you will get visions and sensations of light. This can often include incredibly strong and beautiful energies. Whether these experiences are real or fantasy depends on your belief system. But they are still happening in the form world. They have certain limitations. There are still beings of Light and beings of Darkness.
Most importantly, there is still a ‘me’ which feels that it has ‘got’ an experience.
It is still duality. It is part of Maya, the illusion.
The purpose of meditation is to allow the “me”, the self identification, to dissolve so consciousness can be experienced without an ego claiming that it ‘has’ an experience.
Meditation takes place when the ego/me is observed and realised not to be the centre of consciousness.
Merely sitting for days on end does not necessarily achieve this.
It is more a matter of discovering/knowing what Not to look for.
Or to quote a couple of the great teachers:
“Don’t try to understand! It’s enough if you do not misunderstand.” Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Meditation is allowing everything to be as it is” Adyashanti
The realisation that can happen during meditation cannot happen as long as we try hard. Because the mind, trying hard, is in the way.
Instead, allowing the field of consciousness, the sense of awareness itself, to be present will melt away the illusion and re-assemble reality as it is (not as we want it or wish it would be).
Because meditation is about going beyond the mind it is a matter of developing ‘not knowing’ or ‘beginners mind’.
This can practiced by focusing on a candle, a dot on the wall, your breath, your heartbeat or a colour or a mantra. By focusing on something that doesn’t allow the mind to make a story, a dimension shift can happen spontaneously. Suddenly you become aware of the mind starting to do something else, but you the observer are free from the mind. You don’t have to pay attention to whatever the mind is doing. You can allow the mind to think, the ears to hear, the feelings to feel, the body to breathe and the heart to beat. All while you observe it happening. Meditation is taking place.