“Meditation is a continuous flow of perception or thought, like the flow of water in a river”
Consciously or unconsciously we are all seeking the peace of mind that meditation brings. All of us have our own ways of finding this peace, our own meditative habits. For when our attention is fully engaged, the mind becomes silent; when we succeed in restricting our thoughts to one object, the nonstop internal chattering stops. Indeed the satisfaction we feel when our minds are absorbed often comes less from the activity itself than from the fact that in concentrating, our worries or problems are forgotten.
Meditation is the practice by which there is constant observation of the mind. It means focusing the mind on one point, stilling the mind in order to perceive the self. By stopping the waves of thoughts you come to understand your true nature and discover the wisdom and tranquility that lie within. Focusing on the flame of a candle, say, or on a mantra, you repeatedly bring your attention back to the object of concentration, reducing the movement of the mind to a small circle. At first your thought will insist on wandering; but with steady practice you will succeed in extending the time the mind is focused. In the beginning, while your attention still wavers, meditation is more properly called concentration, in meditation; you achieve an unbroken flow of thought. The difference between the two is one of degree. Not of technique.
In the same way that focusing the rays of the sun with a magnifying glass the rays of the sun with a magnifying glass makes them hot enough to burn, just so focusing the scattered rays of thought makes the mind penetrating and powerful. With the continued practice of meditation, you discover a greater sense of purpose and strength of will and your thinking becomes clearer and more concentrated, affecting all you do.
“Meditation does not come easily. A beautiful tree grows slowly. One must wait for the blossom, the ripening of the fruit and the ultimate taste. The blossom of meditation is an expressible peace that permeates the entire being. Its fruit …… is indescribable”.
During meditation you experience the mind as an instrument. Just by concentrating for a short period each day, you start to see how much movement exists in the mind, and how little you live in the present. From this brief encounter with a different mode of perception, you can learn to observe and thus change your way of thinking. One of the most useful tools for controlling the mind is to stop associating with your emotions, thoughts and actions. Instead of identifying with them, you simple step back and assume the role of witness. As if you were watching someone else. By observing yourself dispassionately in this way, without judgment of praise, your thoughts and emotions lose their power over you – you start to see both mind and body as instruments that you can control. In detaching from the games of the ego, you learn to take responsibility for yourself.
While walking, for example, try to synchronize your breathing with your footsteps – inhale for three steps, exhale for three, breathing slowly and with control quietness the mind down too. When reading a book, test your concentration by stopping at the end of a page to see how much you can remember. And don’t restrict japa to your session of meditation – repeat your mantra on the way to work, for example, while doing your asanas or preparing a meal. Most important of all, keep you’re thinking as positive as possible. On days where you’re of mind is shattered by anger or unhappiness. You can often calm yourself by focusing on the opposite emotion- countering feeling of hatred with love, for example, doubt with faith or hope. By using these simple techniques you will slowly accustom your mind to a state of concentration. You will begin to notice that external influences are having less effect on you. Whether you have a difficult week at the office or an enjoyable day out in the country, you mood remains the same, for your inner core is growing stronger. You gain the security of knowing that in the midst of the changes that are life’s essence, you can remain constant and assured.