Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation.
The text being referenced for the next few weeks is "The Art Of Contemplation". Last week we saw the first part of an introduction to the concept and purpose of contemplation. This week we complete that intro.
CONTEMPLATION (summary part two)
In all faiths, the teachers have developed techniques by which the average devotee, not necessarily willing or capable of grasping the subtleties of technique and philosophy alone, might marshal themselves into a relative state of quietude. The steeples of the churches, the high chambers of temples, the domes of mosques… all are designed to draw the eyes and the minds to the Higher. Their very height and majesty bring a natural stillness to the devotee and prepare them in a physical atmosphere for attending to their own inner 'atmospheres'. Other things add to the ambiance of contemplation in such places; ringing of bells, burning of incense, chanting and so forth. Sadly, too many of us tend to bring the outside troubles into these houses of contemplation and miss the wondrous experience on offer to us. We use the space of silence to work over our mental agitations and build up our resentments and imaginations about the external, rather than focusing on the internal and the Higher.
Nothing short of the mysterious power called Life! Not some external power in 'heaven', not a physical being sitting on an enormous throne, not an 'eden'… nothing but to experience the truth of Existence is the goal of the true-hearted devotee, no matter from which society or faith structure they come. In contemplation we attempt to move towards the Life-giving Principle of Consciousness, without which we would be nothing more than the rocks in the mountains. We cannot make this attempt in our daily agitated states. Therefore the first step in contemplation is the 'quietening of the mind'.
In the seat of meditation we are searching. In our own study and discussion, we are seeking. Remember, the latter is the case of not knowing what is being sought. The former is, you may say, seeking with Knowledge; we have an understanding of what it is that is being sought and set out in a particular direction in order to locate it. Our study of scriptures and philosophy leads us to believe that there is indeed a Life-giving Principle from which we arise; irrespective of whether we are Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish… the highest knowledge base in each recognises the One Consciousness behind everything, (it is only the petty humans without this knowledge, stuck in their ego-selves, who argy-bargy about 'my religion, your religion').
Here we are then, looking into the search of the Higher by contemplating what we have learned and applying that in the seat of meditation.
Important note; Meditation is a noun, not a verb. It is a specific condition or state of the human mind. In order to bring the mind into the state of meditation, the efforts and exercises used constitute contemplation, which is the verbal context.
Just as 'trying to sleep' is not sleep itself, so contemplation is not itself meditation. Trying to sleep will result, eventually, in the sleep we sought. Contemplation will, with sufficient dedication, will result in the state of meditation. Holding ourselves in that state of Higher Awareness is knowns as Self-Realisation, or Revelation of God.
This can seem to be a daunting prospect. For many of us it can seem an impossible state to reach. Currently all our instinct is to look to the external. How are we to believe that there can be such a state as 'bliss'. The teachers of the ages offer the example of deep sleep. We only know it has been bliss, however, when we return to our full waking state and can recall that, for a time, we were free of the external and its disturbance. A full and deep sleep refreshes us, recharges our 'battery'. We are then told that to sit in full meditation, this bliss of non-externalness is present, but in a state of consciousness whereby we at one and the same time 'know' we are in bliss, which we certainly cannot do in deep sleep.
Thus, in a nutshell; The art of contemplation is to hold the body from restlessness, to hold the mind steady and focused and to move into the state of meditation wherein we come to know Self.