MEDITATION

Recently I was watching a TVO (Ontario version of PBS) special on
Buddha and his life. After enlightenment and delivering a series of
sermons, his fame reached the ears of a local king of Rajgir. He
donated some land and a bamboo orchard to the monk which became
Buddhas home for the rest of his days. When he was not traveling the
globe, he would frequently return to Rajgir and often spend
considerable time meditating in a cave still maintained  on this
ashram. In addition to a deep interest in visiting this cave next time
I am in the vicinity which is not very far from my ancestor's farm, I
was intrigued by what meditation did this all time great leader,
perhaps the inventor of modern day mediation do after accomplishing
everything  possible through meditation?

I have asked this question to some of my friends and gurus who are
obviously enlightened. What if any meditation do they do now? Answers
have been generally "none" to "that once you have seen the truth, all
of life becomes meditation". So what was Buddha upto in this cave?

Upon meditating on this question and having some forty years of
meditation experience myself, I think I have a reasonable hypothesis
as to Buddha's activities in that cave. This is of course based on my
experience and speculation.

Not all meditation is the same. The act may be similar but objectives
determine what meditation you need to do. This is quite critical as I
found out that wrong objectives end up producing wrong results. Not
surprising since all of this is still conducted by the mind and that
instrument is notorious for delivering what you ardently desire. So,
if you have been meditating on the laws of attraction  expecting
nirvana to grace your soul, you could be waiting a long time. Most
meditators in fact have been waiting.

Hindu children go through a thread ceremony which is akin to a coming
of age event. During this process, one is blessed with a mantra,
commonly the gayatri and takes a vow to recite this in meditation for
ten to twenty minutes each day for the rest of one's life. I did this
in earnest for nearly forty years. I do believe meditation was
beneficial to me while I completed my academic studies as well as
employment but was entirely unhelpful in producing what I was really
looking for. What anynone is looking for, happiness! This prompted me
to abandon meditation and led me to searching other avenues including
my introduction to spiritual guides including Buddha, Krishnamurti and
Richard Rose.

To my surprise, most masters also recommended meditation, leading me
to great deal of confusion as to what meditation should I be doing but
was not. The meditation of Krishnamurti or the effortless meditation
in TM were quite different from the ones prescribed by  the Hindu
priests. Theirs was more of a prayer to the divine in the form of
deities while masters like  Buddha taught vipassana, a process of
simply watching your body and breath. Many of Tibetan practice of
Buddhism seems similar to Hindu worship than vipassana. Reverence to
statues, objects and scripture is far more religious than
philosophical.

Then there is advaita and new age movement that is sweeping the world.
I attended a two week intensive with the gurus and guides at the
oneness university in chennai. Their form of meditation turned out to
be yet another kind. The central focus there and at many similar
ashrams is to enhance vital energy. This is called Kundalini by the
Indians, qi by the Chinese, and ki by the Japanese. So how do you
build this energy within yourself? Why, mediation of course.

This enormous field of mind,  body, consciousness and soul connection
through an act that looks similar but is quite different, that is the
act of meditation. Meditation being a physical act althugh mimicking
something different is still controlled and influenced by the mind and
body complex we have evolved into. Like nearly every act mind
performs, the biggest influencer turns out to be intent. I personally
have come into contact with three types of meditation so far. There
may be more but arguably would fall into one of these three.

What I personally started doing initially was Practical Meditation, a
discipline designed by our ancestors for physical and material
success. Even though it is fully steeped in Vedas, religion and
philosophy, the intent simply is to make sure my brain functioned
optimally to do life.  And it was very successful as a tool to help me
accomplish physical and mental tasks. Most often, the spiritual intent
is absent in practical meditation hence no such success is achieved. I
was still an unhappy and unfulfilled person even though materially
sound.

The second type of meditation I stumbled on to was the result of an
intent to find a solution to this anhedonic feeling; finding no peace
nor happiness. The internal cry of "there has to be something more to
life than just this" kept pushing me to look. This "Analytical
Meditation"  kept Buddha returning to his cave in Rajgir, recharge and
come up with solutions to myriad of questions he faced over the years.
Buddha was a genius with an unparalleled insight into the human
condition.

Finally,  a third type of mediation is often called "shaktipat  or
energy meditation". This is what Richard Rose referred to as
betweenness and was used by masters to perform miracles, like Jesus
turning water into wine, yogis walking on water and the mundane
deeksha process practiced by the oneness crowd in Chennai.  Reiki and
Qi Gong are also energy meditation.

Personally I no longer do practical meditatioon as I find very little
in the material world of desire to strive for. I am however very
grateful to my guru who introduced me to this while I was trying to
make a living. I would still recommend it, particularly to younger
yogis. My practice today combines the analytical and energy
meditation. Analytical because if Buddha did this even long after
becoming the model of enlightenment, who am I to question this
practice. I suppose this will continue for life. Finally I am very
attracted to shaktipat perhaps this is yet another form of desire. But
I am not ging to question what is obviously the most blissful of all
meditation practices I have tried.

There  are many other types of meditation  like astral projection,
concentration, hatha yoga and kundalini.  I have tried a few of these
but they are merely different techniques used to deliver practical,
analytical or shaktipat results.

By Sunil Vidyarthi

Comments

Sunil Vidyarthi said…
Jay says directionality is important. I thought intent does imply directionality. But what do I know? Argue with me, Jay.

I just wanted to add that as far as I know Buddha never really did magic tricks most masters are reputed to have done. Now this is all hear say. May be the devotees pin these miracles on Jesus , Krishna and Shiva. In any case an addendum to my own practice is that even the shaktipat does not pass Buddha's analytics and must be surrendered to samadhi for salvation. Shivoham...

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