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, cont'd.
With the physical body adjusted and ready to begin meditation, now the mental equipment requires some preparation for the flight. The human mind has three functional levels; conscious, subconscious and unconscious. The first is the surface mind, the one we are most familiar with, containing fully-wrought thoughts. The second contains several sorts of unfulfilled thoughts; undigested experiences we have put on the 'back burner', ideas not realised, hidden emotions… the subconscious is a minefield of the mind. The third level, the unconscious, holds all the impulses and instinctual thoughts, germinations if you will, which will spring up under certain stress circumstances - vaasanas. This is the equivalent of the causal body.
When the conscious mind is settled, the subconscious will float up, as if dreams. In this sense we can come to understand that dreams are nature's pressure valve for us, permitting the processing of thoughts we might not be able to deal with in waking state. When we go to sleep, all the impressions and preoccupations and frets of the world reach into our sleep space to be purged in a flash, yet giving us the experience of timelessness within them.
"Such purging becomes effective when sitting alone for meditation, prayer or japa. Almost without fail, when we sit to commence practice, the wretched mind will rebel and bring forth thoughts we had no idea were lurking. Indeed, sometimes this experience can be so disturbing to the early practitioners with little experience and no guiding hand, that they become overwhelmed and frightened and leave meditation, saying 'I cannot do this, my mind is too restless', not realising that it is simply a stage of clearing - as well as a test for the determination. In preparing for meditation, it is imperative that you allows all such disturbing thoughts to rise and to exhaust themselves. Do not try to suppress them. However, be careful not to initiate any fresh thoughts in the process by becoming involved with this passing parade. Stay in your intellect and merely observe the thoughts rising and moving away. The intellect acts exactly as a commanding officer in an army parade when he takes the salute and watches the soldiers marching past him. By this practice, the agitations will eventually subside, at least for this session, making the mind available for meditation. This is the thought parade."
It is not easy. It requires discipline. The subconscious will not always come up at your will, simply because the self is protecting itself. However, being sure take the part of observer can help the mind to feel less at risk and slowly these things will arise and then fade also.
As you settle for japa, or meditation or prayer, have first a pleasant scene in mind. A place from your past where you felt most safe and happy, perhaps memory of a very happy experience; even the face of a loved one…. Or an enemy! The point is to goad the mind into focus. Now enter your intellectual self and watch the thoughts arise in response to the goad. Simply let them flow. Stand apart so as not to be caught up on the flood. Floods end, eventually and all we can do is stand by an watch them. The conscious mind, released from the pressure of the subconscious, now becomes lighter and is ready to focus only on meditation.
Reading such instructions, point by point, appears dry, perhaps confusing. All that can be said to that is start now. Practice patiently and potently, without delay. As with all teaching, it means nothing until application and practice are taken up. Remember, "failure" in meditation is likely to bring gains also, for one can learn from the mistakes. Sincerity of purpose and dedicated regularity, little and often, are the secrets of success in meditation. For those who are truly serious, contact with a guru and associated study of scriptures adds much to the process.