What is meditation? Meditation is not a kind of prayer of the mind and it is not a prayer in the mind. But it can easily serve the purpose of a soulful prayer for the mind.
We meditate for various reasons. Peace of mind we all badly need. Therefore, when we meditate, either consciously or unconsciously we aim at peace of mind. Meditation give us peace of mind without a tranquilliser. And unlike a tranquilliser, the peace of mind that we get from meditation does not fade away. It lasts for good in some corner of the inmost recesses of our aspiring heart.
Meditation gives us purity. There are various ways to achieve purity. Some people advocate the traditional Indian system of breathing. By breathing systematically and also through some occult techniques of breathing in and out, one can definitely purify one’s internal system to some extent. But this purity does not last permanently. However, when one prays and meditates soulfully and, at the same time, brings the soul to the fore, one is bound to achieve lasting purity. The purity that we get from our soulful meditation lasts forever in our aspiring consciousness.
When we pray, we feel either that we have done something wrong or that something can be invoked from above so that we do not do anything wrong. When we pray, we feel that the mistake-world is looming large. Either we have made a mistake by having done something or we have made a mistake by not having done something. Then our sincerity compels us to confess our mistake. So, prayer and confession very often go together.
But meditation does not believe in that kind of confession. Meditation says, “Why do you have to make a mistake and then confess it? Do not remain near mistakes. Remain millions and billions and trillions of miles away from mistakes. Then you won’t have to confess anything.” Meditation is not an escape exercise. When we pray, we try to bring down into us a higher reality or enter into a higher reality that will separate us from the world of suffering. We try to escape from the suffering of the world. But when we meditate, we do not try to escape. The seeker who meditates is a warrior, divine warrior. He faces suffering, ignorance and darkness, and inside the very life and breath of suffering he tries to establish the kingdom of Wisdom-Light.
The true seeker who meditates also knows that whatever he is doing is not for his own personal salvation. If everything that he is doing is only for his own salvation, then he and the world will always remain two different entities with two different ideals or goals. So, sincere seekers always try to assimilate world-truth, world-light and world-capacity and meditate for world transformation, illumination and perfection.
Real meditation never forces us to do something, to say something or to become something. It is the desiring vital or the desiring mind that enters into our meditation and forces us to try to achieve something. But meditation proper will never compel us to do something, to say something or to become something, for it knows that everything has to be natural and spontaneous. It only helps us enter cheerfully into the current of spiritual life.
Human life is beset with difficulties, dangers and so forth, but we can overcome these difficulties. We can take each difficulty as a powerful warning and we can take each warning as a blessing-light in disguise. The meditation-world invites us and leads us to the highest Reality. We see ahead a light, perfection-light. But as soon as we see this light that perfects us, we are frustrated. A red traffic light is frustration to us, especially when we are in a hurry to reach our destination. But we forget that it is the red light that saves our precious life from destruction. The red traffic light is regular and punctual. Regularly and punctually it is warning us, saving us. Similarly, regularity in meditation saves us, illumines us and fulfils us. The life of our outer smile is strengthened by the regularity of our prayer, and the light of our inner cry is increased by the regularity of our meditation.
When we meditate, we discover something and we invent something. From our regular meditation we discover faith inside us. This discovery we do not get from anything else. Immense, continuous, illumining and fulfilling faith we get only from our pure and sure meditation.
During our daily meditation we also invent. What do we invent? We invent gratitude. Our heart becomes the possessor of something which it did not possess previously, and that something is boundless gratitude. Each meditation creates a gratitude-flower inside our heart, and petal by petal this flower blossoms in worship of our beloved Lord Supreme. So we invent gratitude and discover faith from our meditation.
Meditation helps us hear the Voice of God. It not only helps us hear the Voice of God, but it also helps us listen to the Voice of God and the Choice of His Hour. After hearing the Voice of God, either we can stop or continue further and actually listen to the Voice. If we listen to the Voice of God, if we listen to the inner dictates at every moment, then the world of confusion that baffles us or that we ourselves create will no longer exist for us. The confusion-world we will no longer create for ourselves if we listen to the Voice of God.
There is a special way to listen to the Voice of God, and that special way is to meditate in silence. Silent meditation is the strongest force that can ever be seen, felt and executed. So silent meditation we must learn.
How do we meditate silently? Just by not talking, just by not using outer words, we are not doing silent meditation. Silent meditation is totally different. When we start meditating in silence, right from the beginning we feel the bottom of a sea within us and without. The life of activity movement and restlessness is on the surface, but deep below, underneath our human life, there is poise and silence. So, either we shall imagine this sea of silence within us or we shall feel that we are nothing but a sea of poise itself.
Then, if we start meditating, we are bound to hear the Voice of God and we are bound to listen to the Voice of God. Once we become accustomed to listening to the Voice of God, at that time we feel that there is no tomorrow. There is no such thing as the future, there is no such thing even as today; it is all now. God is now; His Vision is now. The eternal Now is the only reality. In the eternal Now we grow and glow; in the eternal Now we please God, fulfil God and become perfect instruments of God.
29 February 1977
By: Sri Chinmoy
Excerpt from The Seeker’s Mind by Sri Chinmoy at Sri Chinmoy Library