MEDITATION IS NOT THINKING

In my last column, I began our exploration of meditation with 2 “nots”:

  • Meditation is NOT the technique
  • Meditation is NOT thinking

By way of very quick review, last month we explored the first of these, and I encouraged you to realise that the technique and the meditation are in fact two different things. This month, we’ll explore the second part: the relationship between mind, thought and meditation.

I am going to say something bold and with no offense intended. With the popularisation of mindfulness, the concept of meditation has been watered down a bit. I recently read an article by a meditation ‘expert’ advising practitioners to just “think away!” Oh my goodness, how far afield this is from true meditation!

I mentioned last month that the very highest states of meditation happen in the complete absence of mind (and with that, thought)! This is typically met with a giant “huh?!” We are so used to affirming our experience in and through the mind that to experience something beyond the domain of the mind is simply inconceivable. But a quick question should open other possibilities: “Do you love from your mind?” Or, is some other part of your being responsible for that experience? Let’s explore this a bit more.

So, “the absence of mind”…how can that be? Allow me to paint a picture. Consider an old-fashioned incandescent light bulb. If you didn’t know better, you could argue that the glass is giving off light. It certainly appears that way, but obviously, this is not the case. What is in fact true is that there is a filament inside the glass that is responsible for creating the light. The glass only serves to filter it, or soften it, depending on the glass.

Another common example is the relationship of the moon/sun. In a full moon, the moon appears to glow bright white. You might argue that it is giving o! light, but actually, the source of the light is the sun. The moon is simply reflecting the sun’s light.

In both these cases, the ‘illusion’ is convincing but the reality is different and self-evident. The glass does not give o! light, nor does the moon. So it is with the mind. It appears to be the seat of consciousness, but the real source of ‘light’, or our consciousness, is something else. It comes from another source deeper within. Exactly like the 

frosted glass on the lightbulb, the mind only serves to filter that essential consciousness-light

Allow me one more example: a lighted candle. Imagine you walk into a room which has a lighted candle, but the candle is covered with a multi-colored globe. What you see then is a globe which appears to be giving o! purple, yellow, red, green light, etc. If you didn’t know better, you could argue that the globe itself is actually giving off the light, but it is not. It is merely filtering and colouring the essential light from the candle into different colours.

Don’t be mindful of the
thoughts themselves.
Just ignore them with the
specific intention,
‘you are seeking the
ocean’.

This is my favourite example because it best represents the relationship of the mind to our spiritual source. Here the globe (mind) appears to be ‘self-experiencing’. It perceives its world in various colours (senses), that is, it sees, smells, hears. But in fact, all that the mind is doing is filtering the essential light from the candle. What you seek to do in meditation is to remove the ‘globe-mind’, the filtering mechanism, and in so doing, get closer and closer to the pure undifferentiated light of the candle. The experience is more pure, more honest, more ‘real’. You never lose sense of self, you simply experience ‘self’ unfiltered by the mind’s
perceptions and thoughts.

The first step in going beneath the mind-filter is to quiet it down. This is why almost every meditation technique, school or process has as its first step quieting the mind. But quieting the mind is just the beginning. 

takes time to accomplish. You do it in steps. All of these steps come under the category of ‘concentration’ which is the first rung on the meditation ladder. The first step may be just to turn down the mind’s volume level; then to still it with perhaps only an occasional thought-wave or two passing through; then to make it perfectly still, but you’re still ‘in there’; finally, to silence it completely and dive beneath it to explore the source of its consciousness-light. That source is called upon with many names: ‘spirit’, ‘self’, ‘inner child’, ‘soul’. Sri Chinmoy always used the terms ‘soul’ or ‘inner pilot’. I’ll use the term ‘soul’. Again, you don’t need to accomplish this total silence to experience meditation. You might think of thoughts as ‘fish in the consciousness-ocean’. You want to experience the ocean but if every

time a fish comes by you follow it along, you will lose sight of the ocean! In the beginning the task to still the mind, and at the same time to not pay attention to your ‘fish-thoughts’. In other words, don’t be mindful of the thoughts themselves. Just ignore them with the specific intention, ‘you are seeking the ocean’.

Like any task, with practice, slowly, steadily and unerringly, you can bring your mind into a quieter and more silent state. And with each step, you’ll recognise that who you are is not what you think yourself to be! As you explore the source within, a new sense of ‘self’ emerges, and that is quite beautiful, liberating and peace-filled! You’ll discover your monkey-mind needs a bit of taming!

WRITTEN BY- PRADHAN BALTER
PRADHAN HAS PRACTISED MEDITATION FOR 45 YEARS PRADHAN HAS
PRACTISED MEDITATION FOR 45 YEARS UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF INDIAN
SPIRITUAL TEACHER SRI CHINMOY. HE HAS LECTURED IN SOME 40 COUNTRIES TO THOUSANDS OF SEEKERS, AND AUTHORED THE RECENTLY RELEASED BOOK, ‘A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SEEKER’. HE DIRECTS THE SRI
CHINMOY MEDITATION CENTRE IN CHICAGO. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK A
QUESTION AT WWW.A21STCENTURYSEEKER.COM/ASK-A-QUESTION/ AS
THIS MAY JUST BE THE TOPIC FOR A FUTURE ARTICLE!

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