Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
Meditation & Life, with Sw. Chinmayananda (Gurudev).
We are now exploring the writings of Gurudev on our focus subject of Meditation. The book is a thorough treatment of the subject and extends to over 170 pages of closely printed text. No attempt is intended, here, to present the text in its entirety. However, important paragraphs and quotes will be given, within a summary of each section. You are encouraged to use the links on sidebar to obtain a copy for yourselves from CM publications. Please remember that each of the posts under this title is part of a thought flow and it is important to go back and read the previous post in order to refresh and review the context.
Prepare for Meditation.
In preparing ourselves for meditation, we should first acquire the ability to look within. We have been shooting our attention out ward. We are vaguely aware of the mental world. Just as a child requires training, a new aspirant must learn to recognise the world within and the learn to walk among the objects of the world with a fresh view.
Watch the Mind.
It is necessary to learn to go about daily routine with a constant watching of the mind. Each thought, word and deed ought to arise bearing the seal of your recognition. Let your silent observer be posted at all times, like a sentry on a watchtower. At the end of each day, practice introspection, consulting that observer for the pointers to analysis of the events of the day.
When you begin these attempts at self-analysis, it might seem unsatisfactory as, at first, it seems simply to be a narration of the day; or it will be that only the good parts are properly observed, and the less good are somehow 'muddy'. Nevertheless, continue the practice. Seek to discover those weaknesses and faults. Detect the time bombs of your character. Do not become discouraged. The darker the reports the greater should be your effort to readjust your values and alter the mind's channels. Inner reformation always comes from revelation. When you have detected the errors in yourself, and find that there is genuine shame, then too comes genuine repentance and at that moment the traits are negated. At this point you have won only half the battle. Having found the errors, it is necessary to weed it out by replacement with a healthier component, a new virtue. Then watch as the substitution takes hold each day.
Introspection, detection, negation and substitution are the four stages of preparation, in that it begins the purification of the personality. Without this mellowing and winnowing, there can be no forward movement. Neglect of this prep for divine life has landed more than a few eager-beavers in deeper water than they could cope with. Often has been heard the complaint, also, "I have been a seeker for years and yet I have found no peace nor the joy the scriptures promise."
It the mirror's surface is oily, the face reflected appears oily. Any amount of effort to clean the face is of no avail so long as the mirror itself remains unclean. It is not the fault of the texts that the spiritual seeker has not succeeded, for unless s/he undergoes the entire preliminary purification process, progress will inevitably be hampered. It is a scientific truth that all liquids will find their level; but liquid in two different vessels need not find the same level as each other. It is necessary for the containers to be connected for a common level to take place and prove the statement again. The Divine Water in the Lord is currently separate from us; we must find our connection with the Lord for a Divine level to be found. Contact is established by following the steps which lead one into a Divine life. This includes emptying the mind… "Empty thyself and I shall fill thee" is an eternal promise. This emptying of the undivine to leave space for the Divine begins with introspection and is effected through careful, consistent detection and negation of our grosser instincts. Substitution with higher graces is the secret of invoking Divine Grace.
One who thus daily practices introspection is creating a wall against life's melancholies and failures. Even those who have already been along the path but without genuine spiritual gain, can begin again with this practice. Introspect daily, detect diligently, negate ruthlessly and substitute wisely. Grow steadily.
Develop a Devotional Attitude.
Before attempting meditation, it is necessary to pray. Meditation is a contemplative flight, not mere intellection or emotional sentimentalism. Head and heart may be considered the wings by which we make the flight. There must be confidence in a Higher Power/Personal God/Saint or Prophet to which supplication can be made for blessing in the endeavour. Call upon the Lord of your heart - even if currently you would call yourself atheistic, there is the Higher Ideal of Humanity to live the very best life possible… a Higher Self which can be your guide. Pray for the help available through this entity, show your devotion and trust. "There is absolute freedom for you to conceive of the Supreme through any symbolism you choose. Symbolism cannot be avoided, for at this stage of development we live in the plane of the mind. The mind cannot conceive of the Formless Infinite."
The Guru, for the purpose of meditation, is one who has guided you to detect and experience your Divinity. That Guru need not be a priest or a nun; it might be a wise friend, a leader of society or simply someone met in public who had words which impacted spiritually upon you. It may come from a book or from a scene in nature. Something which is the trigger for your taking up this spiritual pursuit can be said to be the guru in this instance. The main thing is that from this point, you find the courage and the fascination to keep along the path of righteousness.