The Western mind deeply influenced by Judaism, Christianity and Islam which has no room for meditation. Contemplation yes, meditation no. Hence the Oxford dictionary erroneously defines 'meditation' and 'indulgence in thought. Ignorance can mislead us.
The concept of meditation originated in the East where great Masters shared it with their disciples. Unfortunately, even though India is the birth place of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, there is a lot of misunderstanding about meditation. Arrogance can mislead us.
Every seeker of the Truth struggles to experience and understand. A true master teaches without considerations of money, power, or benefit of any kind. (Disciples out of gratitude almost always make a voluntary contribution in money or kind to their teacher). Hence the true master remains openly honest, terribly blunt and virtuously open, keeping only the disciples development in focus.
Here is something from the great Master J. Krishnamurti that I would like to share with my readers.
There are many schools of meditation, each following its own methods and systems. claiming that if one practice these methods /systems, the practitioner will achieve a certain form of enlightenment. They claim that by their methods of meditation one can realise or experience an extraordinary state of existence.
A system or a method implies a mechanical repetition and that cannot be called as meditation, because repetition can only dull the mind.
Meditation is awareness, the awareness of our own thoughts, without trying to suppress, manipulate or control our thoughts. To simply observe dispassionately, the whole momentum of our thinking, this constant chattering that is going on within us.
Daydreaming is not meditation, for meditation requires a great discipline. Not the discipline of suppression or control, but the subtle discipline born out of observing one's own thinking.
One can therefore meditate at any time of one's choosing and at any place. Meditation is observation, an acute awareness of what is happening around us and also within oneself.
Meditation is not praying, for meditation is the emptying of the mind of everything we know, for only then can we begin to know the unknown. To see something new one must empty the mind of the past. Our experience of God or Truth or whatever we choose to call it has to be something new. It cannot be something born out of centuries and even thousands of years of conditioning or propaganda.
God or truth as we know it by organised religion is constantly decaying, if not dead. Truth is a living experience, that means it is here and now without baggage from the past.
A mind must be emptied of the past to become aware of the living Truth as it is today. To realise this Truth of the present the mind is silenced of all baggage of the past and all the chatter in the mind in the present.
The silent mind is not the absence of noise, rather it is the mind that has become aware of and understood its own thoughts. Such a mind grows silent and the body stills. Then an extraordinary state is achieved, the brain cells themselves become quiet. That is real meditation.
Meditation is often misunderstood as submission to some scriptural or human authority, or the chanting or mere repetition of words.
Real meditation is 'Simran' a stilling of the body and mind so as to be acutely aware of all that is without and within our mind. It is only then can we awaken to the Truth frequently referred to as God, a 'Truth' realised by ourselves rather than one given to us by others.
Do we possess, the audacity to awaken?
This article has been written based on the teachings of J. Krishnamurti.
Further reading and listening:
- What meditation is not - J. Krishnamurti
- The timeless teachings of J Krishnamurti - Krishnamurti Foundation Trust
- 'Urgency of Change – The Krishnamurti Podcast' - The full interview on episode 13