Image by 李磊瑜伽 from Pixabay 

After 20 years of intense meditation and having received the blessings of over half a dozen saints/gurus my understanding is that meditation is the very center of our whole effort. It is the very womb out of which our spirituality is going to be born. To say something about meditation is a contradiction in terms. It is something which we can have, which we can be, but by its very nature we cannot say what it is. Still, efforts have been made to convey it in some way. Even if only a fragmentary, partial understanding arises out of it, that is more than one can expect. But even that partial understanding of meditation can become a seed. In Sanskrit the word for meditation is dhyana. It has been recognized for two thousand years that this word is untranslatable, for the simple reason that in no other language people have tried it or experienced the state that it denotes; In English dictionary meditation is concentration and contemplation which is totally wrong. Dhyana is not concentration. 

Concentration simply means our mind is focused on one point; it is a state of mind. It has its utility, because then we can go deeper and deeper into a certain object. Concentration means rays coming together, meeting on one point; and when so many rays meet on one point they have enough energy to create fire. Concentration is always the narrowing of our consciousness. The narrower it becomes, the more powerful it is but concentration is not spirituality. It gives us tremendous powers, but those powers are of the mind. It is just that our mind is so focused that everything else falls out of its focus; we are unaware of it. It is not a state of awareness, it is a state of narrowed consciousness – so narrowed that it becomes one-pointed and the rest of existence falls out of it. Second: it is not contemplation. Concentration is one-pointed; Contemplation is a wider concentration, not one-pointed, but confined to one subject. We will be moving, our mind will be moving, but it will remain within the subject matter. Philosophy uses contemplation as its method; science uses concentration as its method. In contemplation also we are forgetting everything else other than our subject matter. The subject matter is bigger, and we have more space to move; in concentration there is no space to move. We can go deeper and deeper, narrower and narrower, we can become more pointed, but we don’t have space to move around. 

Contemplation is a kind of logical dreaming. Philosophy depends on contemplation and basically uses concentration as a tool, as an instrument, once in a while. But spirituality cannot use concentration or contemplation either because it is not concerned with any object. Whether the object is in the outside world or the object is in our mind – a thought, a theory, a philosophy – it doesn’t matter; it is an object. Spirituality concerns with the one, who concentrates and contemplates. Who is this one? Now, we cannot concentrate on it. Who will concentrate on it? – We are it. We cannot contemplate on it because who is going to contemplate on it? We cannot divide ourselves into two parts so that we put one part in front of our mind, and the other part starts contemplating. There is no possibility of dividing our consciousness into two parts. It is just like a mirror. The mirror can reflect us and everything in the world, but can we manage to make this mirror reflect itself? The mirror itself cannot mirror itself. Consciousness is exactly a mirror. We can use it as concentration and contemplation for some subject matter. Contemplation is theoretical; but spirituality is not contemplation and/or concentration. It is meditation. But meditation has to be understood as meaning ”dhyana,” because the English word meditation again gives a wrong notion because whenever we say ”meditation” we can be asked, ”Upon what? There has to be an object: the very word has a reference towards an object that I am meditating upon beauty, upon truth, upon God. But we can’t simply say, “I am meditating”; the sentence is incomplete in the English language. And that is the trouble. Dhyana means “I am in meditation” – not even meditating. In English it is something between concentration and contemplation. Concentration is one-pointed; contemplation has a wide area, and meditation is a fragment of that area. 

When we are contemplating on a certain subject there are a few things which need more attention; then we meditate. That is what in English is meant by meditation: concentration and contemplation are two poles; exactly in the middle is meditation. But we are not using the word in the English sense; we are giving it a new meaning totally. Meditation is not some activity. One does not meditate, one is meditation. ”this is what meditation is: Sitting and doing nothing – not with our body, not with our mind. Once we start doing something either we go into contemplation or we go into concentration or we go into action – but we move away from our center. When we are not doing anything at all – bodily, mentally, on no level – when all activity has ceased and we simply are, just being, that’s what meditation is. We cannot do it, we cannot practice it; we have only to understand it. Whenever we can find time for just being, drop all doing. Thinking is also doing, concentration is also doing and contemplation is also doing. Even if for a single moment we are not doing anything and we are just at our center, utterly relaxed – that is meditation. And once we have got the knack of it, we can remain in that state as long as we want; Once we have become aware of the way our being can remain undisturbed, then slowly we can start doing things, keeping alert that our being is not stirred. That is the second part of meditation. First, learning how just to be, and then learning little actions: cleaning the floor, taking a shower, but keeping our self centered. Then we can do complicated things. For example, I am writing but my meditation is not disturbed. I can go on writing, but at my very center there is not even a ripple; it is just silent, utterly silent. So meditation is not against action. It is not that we have to escape from life. It simply teaches us a new way of life: We become the center of the cyclone. Our life goes on, it goes on really more intensely – with more joy, with more clarity, more vision, more creativity – yet we are aloof, just a watcher on the hills, simply seeing all that is happening around us. 

We are not the doer, we are the watcher. That’s the whole secret of meditation that we become the watcher. Doing continues on its own level, there is no problem: We can do all small and big things; only one thing is not allowed and that is, our centering should not be lost. That awareness, that watchfulness, should remain absolutely unclouded, undisturbed. Meditation is a very simple phenomenon. Concentration is very complicated because we have to force our self; it is tiring. Contemplation is a little better because we have a little more space to move. We are not moving through a narrow hole which is going to become narrower. Concentration has tunnel vision. Concentration is not natural to the mind. Mind is a vagabond. It enjoys moving from one thing to another. It is always excited by the new. In concentration mind is almost imprisoned. But concentration is actually bringing all the energies of our mind and body and putting them into a narrowing hole. It is tiring. Contemplation has more Space to play around, to move around, but still it is a bounded space. Meditation, according to me has all the space, the whole of existence available. We are the watcher. There is no effort to concentrate on anything; there is no effort to contemplate about anything. 

We are not doing all these things, we are simply there watching, just aware. It is a knack. It is not a science, it is not an art, it is not a craft; it is a knack. So we have to just go on playing with the idea. Sitting and just playing with the idea that we are not doing anything. And one day we will be surprised: just playing with the idea, it has happened – because it is our nature. Just the right moment.... We never know when the right moment is, when the right opportunity is, so we go on playing. We have to be ready. One never knows when it comes. When it comes, just jump upon it! The future is unpredictable. If we wait, thinking ”When it comes I will catch hold of it,” by the time we become aware that it is there, it is gone. Time is fleeting, so fast, only dust will be there. We need to just go on playing with the idea. Play because meditation is fun and we need to keep it that way. We need not sit in the lotus posture. No special posture is needed, no special time is needed. No, not for meditation; any time is the right time – we just have to be relaxed and playful. And if it does not happen it does not matter; don’t feel sad. It can happen any day, it may not happen: it all depends on how playful we are. 

Any moment where we can feel relaxed, non-tense, play with the idea of meditation the way I do it. Just be silent, centered in our self, and someday – some day it is going to happen. We only need to play with the idea as many times as we can. If nothing happens that’s perfectly good, at least we enjoyed our self. We played with the idea, we gave it a chance. Go on giving it a chance and when the right moment comes and we are really relaxed and open, it jumps upon us. And once meditation jumps upon us it never leaves. There is no way. 

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