If I had a beard, and constantly wore single colorly clothes then probably I wouldn’t have had this disclaimer. Disclaimer being: What I call meditation might be different from what is normally taught elsewhere. The meditation I practice is a hybrid combination of my understanding of teachings of Buddha, teachings in the books – Zen Mind A Beginner’s Mind, The Power of Now, conversations with a friend on responses from Ramana Maharshi to certain questions, some articles by Swami Vivekanada and many other sources.
Once upon a time, long long before the time of facebook and twitter, I’d written a short note on my profile (yes, orkut). It was supposed to be about me but it was a spiritually philosophical message. I had to login to it today to copy it verbatim (yes, orkut still exists).
Anyway here is the note :
“rain falls down… some ppl like it.. some dont….its a fact that rain falls down n doesn’t go up… Likewise the elements in life have a reality… they behave in a particular way.. suppose they behave in the way u like…. then, u love them… if u don like.. u hate them..realize the reality..
everything has its own behavior..
accept it..enjoy LIFE …….” My rain theory..
You can easily make out that this was written when I was in college just by observing the number of periods I’ve used after every sentence. Though, then, I’d claimed this to be mine but surely I’d overheard it somewhere. There is something profound about this that I still resonate with. And this is the essence of meditation: practicing ‘what is’. Let me elaborate.
How is meditation taught?
- Sit straight and close your eyes
- Take deep breaths
- Use your breathe to focus on so that you don’t get any thoughts
While this works flawlessly the first time, overtime it gets frustrating. You can’t sit for long time. You can’t not have thoughts. You get bored. Basically you can’t do it and finally don’t see a point to continue.
So what really is meditation? What is the goal? Does it have any benifits?
First let us understand what is a “problem”.
Problem is the resistance to what is.
I repeat – problem is the resistance to what is. You have a problem when you have a resistance to what is. When there is no-resistance to what is, there is no problem.
You are on your way walking to your office for a presentation with your neatly ironed formals. It pours down. Drenched, your blood shoots up – “F*&$%ing s*#t, this can’t happen to me now”. The “F*&$%ing s*#t, this can’t happen to me now” is resistance. Because the situation is away from an ideal situation. And, hence, the sidefacing, hence the problem.
Step back. Become an outsider and you will realize the problem was having the ideal, failing to acknowledge ‘what is’. And that is the goal of meditation practicing ‘what is’.
How to practice meditation?
1. Realize there is no right meditation: Don’t try to understand meditation because our goal is to practice un-idealness. There is no ideal meditation. In others words we are not practicing anything. We are practicing being. If you are angry and frustrated, be it. If you are horny and blissful so be it. Be whatever you are.
2. Sit: One less thing to feel resisted about. You are more relaxed. More relaxed you are, more easier it is to accept the moment. And how to relax? It is to be ok with being unrelaxed. I’d go ahead and say – if you are truly ok with being unrelaxed, i.e., you don’t resist it, that state for me would be the state of relaxation.
3. Close your eyes: Further cut down inputs to your brain to resist or worry about. Everything else from point two applies.
When I do these three things, it is natural for me to start listening to my breath. Life slows down. I don’t feel the need to do any right kind of meditation, so I am totally ok however the time that I put in goes. It is just ok.
How to meditate? Just sit. That is all.
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”.
He replied “Nothing!”
He gently added “But I lost anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death”
Image credit: Carrotmadman