Monday, June 8, 2020


I have written 3 blogs on meditation previously (links below), assuming they will address everything a first timer needs to know about how to meditate. I get many questions on Quora and Fb asking me about meditation. When I send them these 3 links, I find there are still questions at the most basic level. Conversation with a few helped me see that they are sincere yet utterly untuned to this idea. So I wondered if the idea of meditation could be broken down further. Here goes -

Painting - Akash Bhisikar
I read the Autobiography of a Yogi when I was about 16. Reading about yogis who stepped back from the world so that they could meditate for upto 18 hours a day, I was inspired to meditate. But it was not easy. I knew there was no ways I could go deep into meditation immediately and I  recall how I would pep-talk myself to sit in the inner darkness for only 5 mins. 

When I closed my eyes and glimpsed into the darkness and nothingness, my mind would come storming with a flood of restless complaints and I would somehow force myself to retain the “meditative” state for 5 mins. When the 5 mins ended, I would open my eyes and breathe restlessly as if I did not have any oxygen during meditation. So back then, the struggle was just to enter the doorway of meditation by sitting quiet in the apparent darkness, not knowing what to do. It took me about 6 months of consistent practise to get use to the idea and then move ahead to deal with the other challenges awaiting me.

Let's understand the above with an example. Meditation is like entering a new world. Imagine travelling to a new country. We don’t know anything about it and are obviously clueless and yet there are many things there to make us feel at home. The humans there may be different but they still are humans like us; eat, sleep, walk and talk like us.. the sky above is the same, the food, though different is often made of familiar vegetables. They have houses and beds to sleep on just like us though of a different style. So there are many things that we can relate with.

But meditation is entering a whole new world and all you see is darkness. Nothing else. Nothing for the mind to relate with. A whole new realm of existence.

Looking back, I see that my struggle then was not against the darkness, but my own mind. My mind which had dominated my being for incarnations, was not willing to do what I expected it to. This is the struggle most people have. Even if they close their eyes and sit, their minds, which thrives in doing something, pops up and asks - what am I suppose to do now? And so the most common question asked is - “What do you really do in meditation?”

Here’s what you need to understand. Meditation is a process that will lead you to an uncharted territory where the role of the mind is not as much as the role of your conscious awareness. You are less of a doer and more of a witness. “Witness what??” you may think.. “Its all dark out there!”

Have you ever stayed out in the bright sun for so long that when you enter your own room, all you see is darkness? It takes a good 30 seconds sometimes to adjust your eyes to the light inside the room. It is the same with meditation. You have lived in the outer world through your senses for not just the years in your current life, but many previous incarnations. When you go within, to your own inner world, naturally you see darkness, because in the inner world you need inner eyes, inner ears, inner senses and they are all asleep. The mind has been dominating the show, regaling your senses with  outer panorama. You never needed the inner senses and so they fell asleep, much like a physical part which if you do not use much, grows weak. 

So what do we do? ….. ‘do?’

Darkness is only a phase of transition from the outer world to the inner world.

Like the stages in our human growth, there are stages in our inner growth as well. So initially we must get use to the darkness and inner silence. This requires you to silence and still the mind. This is where 99% of the meditators struggle. The mind scoffs at the idea of doing “Nothing” and sitting in “futile silence”. But this sitting in silence is not nothing. 

Before cooking tandoori paneer, we marinate the paneer in the spices for many hours, so that the paneer takes on the flavour of the spices as its own. So also, when the restless mind is kept in the silent darkness within, it is like marinating the mind in silence and stillness. When silence and stillness permeates our being, the inherent inner intuitive faculties slowly begin waking up. Now this is a preciously important step and takes a good amount of time, so one must have utmost patience and perseverance. My Guruji said “Do not be like a person who sows a seed and digs it everyday to see how much it has grown. Be like a wise farmer who patiently waters and nourishes the seed and waits for its stems to shoot out. He further nurtures the sapling until it grows into a plant and then a tree bearing fruits. Remember - sincere meditation Always bears fruits." So meditation is not a fast-food type, quick fix exercise. This is a game of long innings and therein lies its challenge, grace and beauty and the key is patience and perseverance.

As you grow within, different challenges arise. The mind eventually gets comfortable with the inner darkness and begins to bring outer thoughts into the inner world. So one will notice that when you are meditating, much of your time is spent thinking of some mundane thoughts or issues. This becomes stronger when we are facing challenging issues in outer life. Those thoughts intrude and takeover our inner space. Recognising this helps us to grow further by cultivating inner discipline to manage unwanted thoughts and get detached from them. We learn the virtue of being in now and to be true to ourselves in the moment. This also teaches us to work along with the universe, recognising and accepting the universal intelligence all around us and relinquishing the control the mind wants to exercise in every situation. In this way evolution takes place in the inner world at every stage.

Just like when going abroad, it is wonderful to have a local host who knows everything about the new place and can give you access to any part of the new world, similarly blessed are those who have a inner host who is the master of the inner world, - a Guru, whose grace can take you to the pinnacles of human consciousness. But true Guru’s are rare to find and equally rare are worthy disciples. The teachings of a Guru are like a detailed map which will help negotiate the inner pathways of awareness, and a Guru’s primary objective is to help you enter and rise in higher states of consciousness, until you meet the  highest version of your Self. 

But this does not mean you stall you journey until a Guru comes along. Begin meditation sincerely. 
Your sincerity and perseverance will attract the right teacher at the right time.
Those who are not willing to make the effort but wait for a Guru to make it easy for themselves, either don’t grow at all or worse often find a lesser teacher who may be more of an obstruction than help. Remember any sincere efforts put in your meditation will bear fruits.

Similar Posts :

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this post, I will read your related articles.


Please share your comments along with your name.. Thank you :)