Meditation is a state of a profound unity with our True Nature, manifesting as a non-dual “experience” in which all movements of the mind are ceased. In other words, Meditation is a state of Samadhi. Samadhi is a state in which there is no duality, in which the observer and the object of observation i.e. the observed are completely unified. There are three basic levels of Samadhi: Savikalpa, Nirvikalpa and Sahaja. This is Meditation in the true sense of the word. Yet, there are various explanations of what Meditation is and all of them are true up to a point, but not completely. One of the most precise and de-mystifying explanations, devoid of meanings that remain unclear unless you had the experience – says that it is a state of expanded consciousness in which you register but don’t react.
All internal manifestations of the Mind’s movement ought to be registered but without additional reactions. Every experience, everything that happens to us, is a reaction. We know nothing outside reactions. I might describe man as a reaction on a remote control. To state more simply, Meditation would be a relaxed Awareness of the Mind’s movements without additional reactions. This would be the simplest explanation of Meditation.
Techniques are not meditation. They are instructions aiming to bring us to a point of heightened consciousness in which our awareness and attention are amplified and we’re able to detach from the fluctuations of the Mind and simply observe it. We ought not to confuse techniques for Meditation. Most explanations of meditation are wrongly equating techniques with meditation. In general, when we say that we meditate what we mean is a set of instructions we use during this “meditation”. Let’s get this straight – this is not meditation.
On the other hand, there is “meditating”.
What does it mean when we say we’re “meditating?”
Have you ever asked yourself?
Frankly, it means nothing.
It’s just a verb describing an action in which we are mentally identifying with the instructions aiming to bring us into a state of Meditation, isn’t it? When we say we’re meditating what we mean is following instructions that are supposed to bring about unification with the object of meditation. The moment when the mind becomes unified with the object of meditation is the moment of Savikalpa Samadhi. Savikalpa Samadhi is a state of unification with the object of meditation in which there is still a manifestation of thoughts and emotions, but you remain unaffected by them.
There are as many techniques of meditating as there are goals to reach through it. Usually, the mind expects some complicated technique, a complicated sadhana and in most schools such things are given. Arriving at a simple technique of meditation requires years of practice and self-confronting, which is usually slow and gradual – up until the Mind realizes it doesn’t need a complicated technique or a complicated sadhana in order to experience unification with the object of meditation. This state, Savikalpa Samadhi or unification with the object of meditation, is still not the one surpassing the Mind, for the Mind survives this state and continues to function normally afterwards.
There is a widespread misapprehension I’ve often came across, of how difficult it is to reach Savikalpa Samadhi. Perhaps it is difficult, since this state wasn’t properly presented and was given far too much significance. You’ve all experienced Savikalpa Samadhi. An example is when you’re embraced with someone you love and who fulfils you and in that moment everything disappears, the sense of time and space vanishes. All that’s there is the fulfilment you’re feeling from your partner. Within this fulfilment there is no partner and no you, there is only the state of Fulfilment and Love.
All of you experienced the state of Samadhi in a great orgasm. Or, when your internal reaction blends with something beautiful or joyful and for a moment the internal “movie” stops. There remains only the feeling of ecstasy filling you up. Also, you enter Samadhi in the state of deep sleep when all identification with you as a person, as a Mind or body ceases. There are many examples showing that Samadhi is not something mystical or beyond reach for most people. Yet, there is a difference between the Samadhi which you experience unconsciously, accidentally, by way of something, and the one you experience voluntarily and consciously.
In order to progress on the Way of Internal Evolution you must be conscious. Unconscious experiences don’t count. That’s why you need to walk the Way. If it were not so, doing what the so called tantric groups do while yielding to unconscious enjoyment in sexual rituals or other pleasures – would be enough. All of those people would have been awakened, which isn’t the case. In order to “unite” with your Nature you must make an effort, and although that state is effortless, reaching it is impossible without effort.
I’ll try to explain since it’s a bit contradictory. Let’s say you have decided to work on your body which you have been neglecting for a few years. You start a workout regime and for you it is a super effort: sore muscles, painful stretching, strength workout and the like. It can go on for a few days up to a few months. Later, when you get in shape, your workout becomes effortless, you glide through it. The same principle applies to other things, meditation included. While learning the dance steps difficulties are to be expected, but once you had learned them dancing becomes effortless and natural. It becomes routine.
Speaking of routine, we mustn’t forget that although routine in meditation is necessary, meditation ought not to become a routine act. Yet another contradiction! Routine is necessary in the beginning because the Mind resents being subdued. That’s why it is advised that you meditate regularly, always in the same place which is specially prepared so that you feel comfortable etc. – all with the aim of preventing the Mind from being in too much conflict. Later, when you get into a certain routine, though I’d rather say the “habit” of meditating regularly, i.e. of doing the technique, most of those things such as time and space don’t matter anymore. You ought to be able to do the technique at any time and any place.
To many seekers meditation technique becomes a routine and after a few years they realize they haven’t moved one bit. Most often the reason for this is that they’re doing it wrong. The other reason is there is no consciousness. The third one is that meditation technique is not meditation but simply calming the mind and putting it in a mould. If you complain about this to your Master you might hear something along the line of: “Keep working and results will come”, or, “You are making progress, you’re just not aware of it”, and the like. Most people continue working and in time get stuck in a rut. The way you wash your face and brush your teeth every morning – completely unconscious of what you’re doing – is also the way you meditate. How, then, do you expect to get results? Result is a routine; you feel you have done your duty, did what you “must”, and you’re satisfied with it. The Mind is under the impression that it completed its daily sadhana and now it’s spiritual. You keep filling it with texts, explanations and new techniques, but there is no progress – because meditation technique is not meditation. You’re going about it the wrong way, adjusting the mantra to your internal noise and entering a mould.
Meditation, in the real sense of the word, is not mould-ness, dullness, unconsciousness, or a routine. Now you might be wondering why such a thing even exists? If all of this is the end result then what is the point of all those meditational techniques? Meditation itself is the point. The goal is not awakening, nor acquiring powers, meeting gods and goddesses, entering wonderland and so on. As the purpose of Life is life itself, so the purpose of meditation is Meditation itself. You cannot, and you will not, attain anything else by it. Bit of a mind-trap, isn’t it?
You feel like there’s no way out of routine and habit, out of fantasies and projections the Mind has about mantras, techniques, meditating. Congrats! This is exactly what needed to happen. You needed to experience a complete disappointment in all spiritual disciplines, efforts, sadhanas. They can’t carry you any further. You realize that their aim is fulfilled. Meditating, doing mantras and techniques had brought you to their goal, which had nothing to do with your own goals and projections.