Return to Primeval Happiness
The crucial reason for human suffering is that human beings do not know they are Ātman (Imperishable, Timeless, Boundless Spirit), that they are Brahman (the Ultimate Reality). This Unknowing is Avidyā, Ajñāna (the Spiritual Darkness of Ignorance). The purpose of meditation is Ātmā-Bodha (the Realization of yourself as the Self or Immortal Spirit).
The Universe is cyclic. A period of Manifestation, or Creation and Evolution, is called Manvantara. A period of Dissolution and rest from all action (non-manifestation) is Pralaya. So, likewise, your Soul comes into incarnation and then returns to the Unmanifest.
Attachment (Rāga) to worldly things brings only temporary happiness, as all objects and situations are perishable and come to an end. Peace of mind you will not find until you have dissolved your mind in the Bliss of Reality (Ātmānanda).
Your true Self-Nature, which is Ātman (the Breath or Spirit of God), is ever bodiless, hence forever free of pain, disease, death or decay. It exists in a state of Eternal Consciousness of Bliss (Sat-Cit-Ānanda). The goal of meditation is to know yourself as That.
You are Ātman (the Limitless Being) even now, and you always have been. What is preventing your practical experience of this Truth is the ego. Your ego is an artificial construct made up by your mind—your thoughts about yourself, your image of yourself. When you can give up that illusory image, you will be Absolute, in the Here and Now.
The Innermost Self, your true Nature, is inherently Blissful (Ānanda). Therefore, as you go deeper and deeper in your meditation, you will spontaneously experience more and more joy, happiness, felicity and elation in your life. The Way of Meditation is a return to Primeval Happiness (Ādi-Ānanda).
What Meditation is not…
- Meditation is not simply another form of relaxation exercise, as so many materialists would have you believe.
- Meditation is not to enhance your position in physical life, to increase your “brain-power”, to increase your stamina in sport, to improve your memory, to perform better in schoolwork or at university. These are all plainly and simply worldly objectives.
- Meditation is not for enhancing your career prospects, to become a better manager or worker, or to get along better with other people. These are worldly objectives.
- Meditation is not for improving your physical health, for increasing your life-span in the body, or to achieve worldly success in any field. These are all worldly objectives.
- Meditation is not to help you sleep better, or eat better, or perform better in any field. Its purpose is not to cure diseases or reduce nervousness, tensions and stress.
All these points are simply side-effects. If you pursue meditation for side-effects, you are not on the Path of Liberation. You have missed the Objective. You have missed the Goal.
Types of Meditation
The Latin word meditation originally meant “to contemplate Reality, to focus on Reality”. This is radically different from the current usage of the word. Only in later times has it come to mean “to think, to reflect, to ponder over a problem”.
There are many types of meditation. There are reflective meditations, active (creative) meditations and passive (silent) meditations. Some forms of meditation were devised to awaken creativity and regenerate the mind, while others were devised to realign the personality, leading to contact and communication with the Soul within.
Reflective meditation is thinking about a topic, such as a virtue, a quality, an attribute of God, or some idea or truth, and gathering information about it. This includes memory, reason, logic and deduction. It also includes forms of study and book learning. This is the lowest form of meditation. It is the meditation of the thinker, the philosopher, the mathematician, the metaphysician, the scientist and the theologian.
Creative (Active) Meditation
Creative meditation is active meditation using visualization, imagination, pictures, maṇḍalas, symbols, images, myths, stories, movement, art, dance, poetry, and so forth. This form of meditation is more transformative than reflective meditation. Active meditation awakens the Creative Intelligence within you and uses Creative Imagination to bring about modifications in your mind. This requires the mind to be active, positive, male, creative, thinking, willing, producing thought forms. All active meditations—including worship, chanting, rituals, singing, constructive thinking and active prayer—bring about changes to the ego, the self, the personality.
Contemplative (Passive) Meditation
Passive meditation is a different process. Passive meditation is silent meditation, the quieting of the mind-stuff (Citta) so that the Higher Consciousness may be reflected in it. In Silence you can attune to your Soul, to the hidden depths within you, the Kingdom of God. In those meditations where we make Soul-contact, the mind must be passive, receptive, reflecting, female. We touch upon the inner Silence, Emptiness, Calmness (Śūnyatā), which is free of all opposites, full and unconditioned. In Silence you return to your own Source, your Root, the Divinity within you. God dwells in us. God can be known in Silence.
Contemplative meditation consists of two stages:
- Invocation, evocation and reception.
- Meditation in the transformed state, or Higher Consciousness.
We invoke, or evoke, so that there is a downpour of Divine Energy, by using a mantra or a prayer, a mystical formula or a ritual. Or we empty our minds of all thoughts and ideas, and into that Emptiness pours the Divine. Once the Divine has found its way into our Hearts and minds, then we abide in that condition. This abiding in the Divine Presence is Contemplation.
Silence resolves all conflicts. It might appear on the surface that Silence does nothing to you, that nothing changes, but silent meditation changes you deep inside, beyond thoughts and ego. After silent meditation you look at the world around you from a depth, not from your thoughts and emotions. Silence changes you subtly, where it matters most. In Silence you can touch your Soul, who is One with God, the Divinity that lives within you.
The highest goal of meditation is to touch upon the Monad, the Unconditioned Consciousness. This you can only hope to do after establishing yourself in Soul-Consciousness.