By Scott Shaw
The concept of meditation has been indoctrinated into the Western mind for many decades. Certainly, the vast influx of Eastern Spirituality that came hand-in-hand with the Beat and the Hippie generation spread this understanding throughout Western Society.
Virtually everyone has heard of meditation and most are taught that meditation is a process where the mind is calmed, blood pressured is lowered, and the practitioner emerges more tranquil. All of these factors are definitely a byproduct of the elementary realms of meditation. As such, many medical doctors prescribe classed in yoga and meditation to their patients who are feeling stressed or anxiety ridden from the tolls of life. These prescribing doctors, for the most part, have never practiced meditation. If they have, it was only at the most superficial level. And perhaps, there lies the problem with the dissemination of meditation which has taken place in the Western world—its true purpose is completely misunderstood.
During the 1960’s the concept of meditation spread throughout the west. There was yoga and meditation classes taught everywhere. This phenomenon continued into the 1970’s. With this early propagation of mediation came very large groups such as Transcendental Meditation whose figurehead Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In TM, the practitioner is taught to meditate for a few minutes two times a day. What occurred with the widespread dissemination of TM, however, is that the meditation practitioner who was only willing to practice for a few minutes a day had the seal of approval from a true East Indian Yogi. “If Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says this is meditation then it must be spiritual right?”
Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with TM or the other Westernized forms of meditation which guide the practitioner to perform the practice for only a few minutes a day. In fact, it can help many people reduce the stress in their life and cause their mind to become more centered. The problem is, with this widespread decimation of Westernized meditation, the true purpose of meditation has been not only redefined by Western society, (as often happens in the Western world), but, its true essence has been lost, as well.
Walking the Spiritual Path
For those who walk the spiritual path and practice meditation in its more refined and elaborate form, there is equally a subtle element that caused the practitioner to miss the true point and principal of the practice. This subtle element is tranquility.
While practicing meditation in its more refined forms, a sensation occurs in the practitioner. It is a sense of supreme tranquility. This tranquility is so permeating that many practitioner become lost in it.
If there was a drug that provide a person with complete bliss, that is the sensation which occurs in the deeper realms of meditation. The problem is, though it feels great, this is not the ultimate reason for practicing meditation.
What is Meditation?
Meditation was formalized many-many centuries ago as a means to bring the practitioner into communion with the divine essence of this universe. Throughout the centuries there have been a few pivotal figures who have guided the process of meditation to new levels of excellence, whereby the practitioner could delve into this process while achieving accelerated results. Siddhartha Guatama, The Sakyamuni Buddha and Sri Shankaraya were two ideal examples of living beings that redefined the process of meditation.
It must be understood, that meditation is elementally not about simply chilling-out. It is a process that directs the practitioner to divine communication. Therefore, if it is practiced for any other reason, though its effects may be beneficial to the SELF, the DIVINE SELF will not be revealed.
Now here lies one of the essential problems with meditation. If it is practiced to achieve an end result; i.e.: enlightenment, then that end result will never been known. I am sure this sound very Zen to many of you, but bear with me here...
The spiritual person lives their life at a level that is never embraced by the common person. Everything they do, they do for the spiritual essence of the universe. The commonly practice Karma Yoga, (the yoga of selfless service), the pray, they meditate, they whatever. But, all that they do is done in order to bring about a harmony of body, mind, self, and universe.
Again, this is one of the complicated, subtle points of spiritual existence. The spiritual practitioner is locked in a human form. As such, they have desires, wants, and needs. But, for the person who walks upon the spiritual path, these wants and desires are geared towards personal and universal consciousness.
With out the SELF there can be NO SELF. Without the UNKNOWING there can be no KNOWING. To this end, the spiritual practitioner walks a very subtle road of constantly redefining what is spiritual and what is not.
The Early Path
When one enters the spiritual path, they are commonly very enthusiastic amount their decision to move down this reason. They constantly talk about what they believe to be spiritual, how holy their guru is, and how they are truly practicing meditation. Most, however, soon fall away.
This is human nature. People want to be SOMETHING. Thus, they become doctors, lawyers, teachers, truck drivers, policemen, and holymen. But, this BEING is the exact oppose of TRULY BEING.
The Bodhisattva Vow
In Buddhism, there is the Vow of the Bodhisattva. This is the vow that the practitioner takes, which states that he or she will continue to reincarnate—come back to this place we call life—even after they reach enlightenment, to help the masses ALL reach that perfect plateau of human existence, Nirvana.
Now, as nice and as selfless as all this sound, the Vow of the Bodhisattva is all about EGO. It is all about, “I.” This is where the person walking the spiritual path truly gets side tracked. If you lock into, “I” anything, then your meditation is meaningless and enlightenment can and will never happen.
“I” separates you from the divine. Therefore, if anything that you do while walking the spiritual path is about “I,” whether it being thinking that you have something to give, something to teach, something to say, or the ability to cause yourself to reincarnate to save all of humanity, you are totally lost. A no level is enlightenment about “I.”
Lets Get Subtle Again
Let’s get subtle again... Life is life. We are in a human body, we do human things, and we want human things. Wanting in natural.
Monks, Priests, Nuns, Swami for centuries have attempted to hide themselves from the world in order to curtail this wants. But, what did it prove?
Now, listen carefully, what they did was about “I.” They wanted something. They wanted enlightenment, they wanted to know God, and they wanted to be remembered as a saint. I mean, go to India—especially in the holy city of Riskeesh or Hardwar, and you see people all over the place standing on one leg for the rest of their life, walking around naked, ceasing to speak, etc., etc., etc. All claiming it is a means of mediation.
Go the Philippines during the Christian holy times and you will see people actually putting crowns of thorns on their head—being nailed to a cross. But, what does all this prove?
What it proves is that the people who do these things are locked into “I.” “I” am doing this because...”
“Because,” is not about spiritually. “Because is only about “Because.” “Because” is based in EGO and “I” and personal belief of how this world and this universe is suppose to operate.
In India, if someone had not previously described that deciding to stand on one leg for the rest of one’s existence was holy, do you thing that someone would simply decide to do it? In the Philippines, if Jesus had not been nailed to the cross, do you think that anyone would simply decide, “Hey, why don’t you nail me to a cross.”
Meditative holiness has been removed from the essence of spirituality and all that remains is tradition. It is due to this fact people define enlightenment as a THING a PLACE to get to.
As long as you define enlightenment as a THING or a PLACE, it can never be known. This is the point where some very insightful (anonymous) Zen Buddhist decided to begin breaking thought the vale of all nonsense and detail, “We are all enlighten. All you have to do is realize it.”
Back to Meditation
Here is where we get back to the root point of the true essence of meditation. Listen carefully, “If you are suing meditation as a tool, meditation becomes meaningless. Yes, it may calm you down and lower your blood pressure, but it will not show you the deeper realms of SELF and the UNIVERSE.”
So often I hear people say that, “Meditation is a step-by-step process.” Or, “They are making little steps towards enlightenment by meditating.”
If enlightenment was a curriculum at a university, then you could be making steps towards earning your degree. But, enlightenment is HERE, it is NOW. To know it, you must give up the process, including meditation. For in the ZERO and the EMPTINESS is the only place enlightenment can be found.
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