Meditation: the Art of Arriving at Stillness
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
Kamlesh D. Patel
Over the last few days some new knowledge has been revealed on the subject of consciousness. The above quote of Einstein resonates with some of the ideas that I want to share in this article.
Imagine a beautiful flower blooming in the garden. If you run by it you will not be able to appreciate its beauty, whereas if you are walking by you will enjoy it more, and if you are standing in front of its beauty then you can really appreciate it. If you are flying, then you cannot even see the flower on the land. So when we are moving rapidly, we miss out on many things.
The mind is faster than physical movement. When the mind is moving rapidly from one object to another object, from one subject to another subject, one venture to another venture, what you miss is the blooming of the flower that is inside you. You are not merely missing out on the details; you completely miss out on the existence of the flower itself. You are totally absent. Now what is that flower? It is your atman, your soul.
Is it possible to move at lightning speed and still be present in each moment? This is the area we will explore in this article.
The atman is in the centre of our being, around which we have the four main subtle bodies – chit, ahankar, buddhi and manas – and then the physical body, which is the outermost layer. Think of a wheel. The very centre of the wheel is almost steady, without movement, whereas the circumference of the wheel experiences maximum movement. Similarly, the centre of the tornado, the eye, is in utter stillness. If you want to protect yourself, position yourself in the centre of the tornado and keep moving along with it, and then nothing will affect you.
What is our centre, around which the vortex of life exists? It is the atman.
God has given us the five senses for a purpose and we should not misuse them. We are so busy with our enjoyments at the physical level. We have eyes so that we can look around and protect ourselves, we can see things better, and that is their main purpose, but then we use the eyes for something else. We manipulate the senses. If we remain focused on the steadiness of the soul, we stay centred. However, a vacillating mind creates disturbance and then we are unable to focus on the centre.
In the book Truth Eternal, Lalaji Saheb says:
Atman is made up of At + man. At means to move, and man means to think and contemplate.
Brahman is derived from Bruha + man. Bruha means to grow or expand, and man means to think.
So, that which moves and thinks is atman, and that which grows and thinks is Brahman.
Between atman and Brahman, what is common is thinking and contemplation. Atman can only move, whereas Brahman has the possibility of expansion. Now, what is the difference between movement and expansion? Movement is unidirectional or one dimensional, whereas expansion is 360-degrees or multi-dimensional.
Now when we move into the para brahmand, we go beyond thinking and contemplation, beyond movement and expansion, to absolute stillness. When we reach there, we experience indescribable stillness, the para brahmand state, because now we are closer to the centre.
Take it a little differently: consider that the earth is revolving around the sun while spinning on its own axis at a very high speed. If you are seated at the equator you will have maximum exposure to the movement, whereas when you are at the North Pole you will feel as if you are stationary, as you are on the top of the axis. So, the key is to find the axis within ourselves.
How is this possible? It is possible only when you match your movements with those of your axis. And what are those movements all about? The ability of your mind to settle down.
That is what Lalaji meant when he said that it is the settledness of the mind on a subject that brings happiness. If that settledness is not there, then you will be jumping from one thing to another without any resolution. You will not have any closure, you will not have any satisfaction, and you will not have any peace. You will still be vacillating and dissatisfied all your life, and you will not have learned anything from all these activities.
So settledness is the key. When you meditate you must feel settled. Or you can put it this way: if the meditation is correct you will automatically feel settled.
Of course, settledness does not mean inactivity; in fact it is activity at a dimension we never conceived of before. When you have a subject to study, a business venture to work upon, and a conversation with your child, your mind should be steady on them. At the same time your mind should also be steady on any other thing that you may need to attend to. The steadiness should be there. It is not that when you are fully attentive to one thing you are less attentive to another. One does not rob your mind of capacity for the other.
It depends on how you develop your capacity as to how you can expand these things. So as you progress, you will not feel that you are thinking or contemplating; it just becomes a part of your nature. It is like developing any other capacity: for example, when little children have to add 2+2 a lot of thinking is involved, but as a teenager you can have a complex equation in your mind and contemplate on it, no longer needing to think. You are able to contemplate. When you advance a little more, you are neither thinking nor contemplating, as the answer comes just like that.
The nature of atman is movement, and at that stage you are focused one-to-one. Brahman is expansion, which means you develop 360-degree consciousness. When you reach the para brahmand it is almost like you are everywhere at the same time. It is of a nature where you have gone beyond expansion, and that is why there is stillness. You see it happening when things are moving extremely fast.
So let’s look at it from the perspective of infinite movement versus perfect stillness. What is infinite movement? We can understand this by considering Newtonian Theory and particles. If you go from Detroit to New York by car, you will go at a certain speed. Let’s say you take 8 or 9 hours. If you take a flight, you will arrive there in an hour and fifteen minutes. If you take one of those old supersonic flights, by the time they announce you are taking off you are already landing. If you fly at the speed of tachyon particles , you can be in New York and Detroit at the same time. Now why is this relevant to infinite movement?
When we go beyond certain frequencies in Nature, it seems as if there is nothing happening because of the enormity of the speed with which things are moving. You can think of it like a children’s spinning top. When it is spinning fastest, and is perfectly balanced, it looks like it is not moving at all.
As we move inward towards our center, something similar happens; we become subtler. As we become subtler and subtler, the frequency within also changes. The transformation follows the progression from matter to energy to Absolute. In such a profound state of being, it appears as if nothing is happening inside, but so much is actually happening at the same time! The 360-degree awareness is so rapid that it is almost real time.
For example, even before another person speaks, you have felt, understood and responded. Nothing is holding your mind, or you can say that it is able to settle on everything. You are absolutely settled on your spirituality. You are also settled on your business decisions without becoming either disturbed or elated about them. There may be a hundred things that you are planning in your life, but if I have the ability to move from one to another at lightning speed, then why worry?
The idea of all yogic practices is to make the mind still and steady so that it can resonate with the stillness of the atman. So all our efforts towards yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi are for the single purpose of creating stillness in the mind.
The outer stillness of the mind is then able to match the inner stillness of the soul. This is sahaj samadhi, and to achieve this is why we meditate.
Excerpt from the upcoming Complete Works of Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh, Volume IV, taken from Lalaji Maharaj’s notes.
When certain actions or reasons produce or help in producing conditions that are either in our control or beyond our control, it is called practice or ashgal.
Steadiness of the heart on any work
The purpose of the various practices laid down by the esteemed Elders is to bring about a one-pointed focus and steadiness of the heart, which has been led astray by unnecessary thoughts and confusion. In a beginner, lack of understanding and the thoughts and worries caused by entanglements in current circumstances hinder them. The practice becomes easy for them if they follow the teachings of the Elders.
One among many practices involves fixing the mind on one particular object. It helps to gather the attention and achieve one-pointedness, that the gaze is fixed on something. The purpose of this practice is to bring the scattered focus to one point and single-mindedness is achieved.
The method of attaining one-pointed attention
Experience has shown that by this practice it is possible to obtain one-pointed attention. Fix your gaze on the heart, the point of sajda, for meditation.
All sisters and brothers are developing correct thinking, right understanding and an honest approach to life. They are attaining rightness in action and perfection in character.
At 9:00 p.m., every abhyasi, wherever he or she might happen to be at that time, should meditate for fifteen minutes, thinking that all brothers and sisters are being filled with love and devotion and that real faith is growing stronger in them. This prayer can be offered at any other time.
Everything surrounding us, the air particles, people, the birds, the trees… everything around us is deeply absorbed in Godly remembrance.
All sisters and brothers who have craving for the Ultimate are being attracted towards Sahaj Marg.