Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
We often hear others who practice regularly saying "Oh you should meditate - it's the best thing ever.." and similar things. If we, ourselves, are feeling a bit ambivalent about meditation, it is perhaps worth taking a sharp look at "why would I meditate?"…
This in part is informed by where it is you are seeing, and thinking of joining in on, meditation. If it is a work-provided service (many corporations are moving in this direction), it is definitely worth availing yourself of it, if for no other reason that it got you away from your desk! Sitting in silence may even bring benefits of stress-relief and therefore mild health benefits such as less headaches, for example. If it is to be part of a certain circle, there will still be benefits gained, with the addition of pleasing the social strata involved, resulting in better acceptance.
Oh yes, these and many more subtexts inform the activities we seek to take up. However, as discussed last week, meditation in its fullest sense is very much more than a health-manager and social-secretary.
Genuine meditation offers something far beyond the physical and even the mental aspects of life. It is a place where you can introduce yourself to YourSelf on the different levels of being.
At the basic level, the mind gets familiar with the possibility of stillness and this brings a calmness, a peace which enhances the sense of well-being. On the social level, that first part results in better interaction with the world and therefore, there is likely to be improvement in relationships, general health and attitude to life.
At the next level, it creates the space, mentally and intellectually, to sort out one's stance on life; understanding one's relationship with the world, checking out philosophical connection and gaining spiritual insights.
At the highest level, the possibility is there to actually meet YourSelf; direct experience of the cosmic centre which is present in all existence; your core being.
The first level is reason enough to meditate. The second is 'value adding' to daily living. The third is realising the purpose of life.
Neither is this something reserved for those of Hindu or Buddhist background. Meditation is not the birthright of any one faith or creed. Many who profess no spiritual connection will still take up meditation.
Meditation can certainly be undertaken without the knowledge of what is to be found there. However, that can (and this has been witnessed) lead to confusions and misclaims about the purpose and outcomes of meditative practice. There are levels within meditation which can delay, or blind the practitioner, causing them to think these are the gains of meditation. They then re-enter practice looking only for those experiences, never progressing.
It is very important, then, to know what is the true purpose. It is to meet YourSelf and there discover the essence of existence.
More on this next week.