The Tree of Knowledge
What is Meditation?
A mind in the present moment is meditation. A mind without agitation is meditation. A mind that becomes no–mind is meditation. A mind that has no hesitation and no anticipation is meditation. A mind that has come back home to its source, is meditation. When you are not happy in the present moment, then you desire for a brighter future. Holding desire in the mind means the present moment is not alright. This causes tension in the mind. At this time meditation is far from happening. You may sit with eyes closed, but if desires keep arising, you fool yourself that you are meditating. You are daydreaming. Focus means what? Being centered, remaining in that space of peace, that is focus. Every desire or ambition is like a sand particle in the eyes: it irritates. You cannot shut your eyes or keep them open with a particle of sand inside. It’s uncomfortable either way. Being dispassionate is like removing the particle of dust or sand from your eyes so that you can open and shut the eyes freely. When you are dispassionate, you can enjoy the world freely and you can relax and get relief from it freely. Total freedom comes.
What can you do when desires come up? Just offer them and let them go. That is meditation. Not holding on to them, daydreaming. You have no control over having desires. Even if you say, “Oh, I shouldn’t be desiring, that is another desire! Asking, “When will I be free of the desires?” is another desire. As they come up, recognize and let go. This process is called sanyas. Offer all as they come, as they arise in you, and be centered. When you can do that, you are centered, then nothing can shake you, nothing can take you away from that. Otherwise, small things can shake you, and then you are sad, you are upset. You become upset over what? A few words from here or there, or some insult can make you sad. This is a test for you, how easily you could let go of all that. This is the art of letting go.
Life teaches you the art of letting go in every event. The more you learn to let go, the happier you will be, the freer you are. When you can learn to let go, you’ll be joyful. As you start being joyful, more will be given to you. Those who have will be given more. That is meditation. As long as some desires linger in your mind, your mind cannot be at total rest. Now, take a good look at the desires. What are these desires? Seeing how small they really are, seeing they are nothing to be bothered by. This is maturity. This is called discrimination. Discrimination is seeing all this is nothing, so what! Another way to alleviate the grip of desires is to extend your desire, make it so big it no longer bothers you. It takes a tiny sand particle to irritate your eye. A big stone can never get into your eye and irritate you. So much unhappiness comes from the smallest things.
In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said you cannot get into yoga unless you drop the desires in you. As long as you hold on to the desire to do something the mind does not settle. Do you see the mechanics? The more you are anxious about doing something the more difficult it becomes to sleep. Before going to sleep, what do you do? You simply let go of everything. Only then are you able to rest. Why not do the same thing in activity, moment by moment, at least during meditation. When you want to sit for meditation, let go of everything. The best way is to think “Oh the world is disappearing, dissolved, dead.” What is there in life that you can hold on to? You cannot even hold on to this body forever. Whatever care you take, one day it’s going to say goodbye to you. You will be evicted out of this place, this body, forcefully, perhaps with no prior notice. No time even to pack your bags. Before the body leaves you, you can learn to leave everything. That is freedom.
Meditation is letting go of the anger and the events of the past and letting go of all your planning for the future. Whatever you may plan, whatever you may do, your final destination is the grave. Whether you live as a good man or a bad man, whether you cry or laugh or do anything, everybody goes to the grave. Whether you are a sinner or a saint, a rich man or a poor man, you will be in the grave. People fought wars. Those who won went to the grave as well as those who lost the war. A patient dies and the doctor also dies. They both go to the grave. God laughs on two occasions: One is when a doctor tells the patient, “Okay, don’t worry, I am here to save you.” Another is when two persons say, ‘This is my land!’, and they fight for a piece of land. Then God laughs, “You both are going into the grave. You say, ‘This is my land’, ha!”
Dispassion can bring so much joy in your life. Don’t think dispassion is a state of apathy. There is a difference between dispassion and apathy. A state of apathy is incompleteness. Dispassion is full of enthusiasm and joy. Dispassion brings all joy to your life. It allows you to rest so well. When you rest well, when you go deep into your meditation, you become very dynamic when you come out. But holding on to the idea of doer-ship can hold you back. Holding on to planning can hold you back from diving deep in meditation. Just this understanding is good enough. Let go, sit and see how in a few days of such practice, it can change the quality of your life.
Source: Excerpts from ‘Wisdom for the new millennium’ by Shri Shri Ravi Shankar
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