Saturday, September 12, 2009
Meditation By Dr.Bakhtiar Choudhary.
Meditation-Understanding What is Meditation and What happens in Meditation?In simple terms, meditation can be defined as relaxation of the body-mind complex with awareness. “Body - mind” may look strange because ordinarily we think that the body and mind are separate things. In fact they are not, the mind is the subtle part of the body and body is the gross part of mind. That is why, when the body is sick, the mind also becomes sick and when the mind is sick, the body also suffers.Concentration and contemplation are also thought to be a state of meditation but they are not. During concentration, the mind is focussed and working vigorously. As a result, after each concentrated effort, the mind becomes tired and head becomes heavy. Concentration has got its own utility. Concentration means narrowing down the mind or focusing the mind on one object or point. Science has evolved out of concentration. Scientist who is working in his lab, totally focused, is oblivious of the things happening around him, no wonder we may find that some of the scientists are absent minded as in the process they have narrowed down their mind to one single object or item.The same is also the case with contemplation, which is again an activity of the mind. All philosophies, theologies, are a by-product of contemplation, for example a philosopher contemplating on the subject of love, beauty, life, god etc. The more and better that one can think, the better the philosopher is. In this context, it is also reported that some of the philosophers have gone mad as a result of too much thinking….Meditation is neither concentration nor contemplation as in both the cases, the mind is working vigorously. It is pure relaxation like a silent lake with no ripples at all. Thoughts are like ripples in the lake of our consciousness. It is total rest which is a very important phenomenon for a healthy and peaceful living. It is very unfortunate that there is no training exists for such an important event for us from the very childhood.It is very strange that from the very beginning, every child is trained to switch-on the mind, activate the mind but is never taught to switch it off or give rest to the mind. As a consequence of this, our mind never gets any rest. Even while the body is resting the thoughts are stimulating, desires are disturbing, memories are moving and the ambitions are anchoring. It is continuous chattering….Day in and day out. One may not find a single moment when the mind is not chattering. By working continuously the mind remains mediocre and fatigue sets in. Noted modern psychological researches have pointed out that many of the diseases are born out of a mind, which dwells in anger, frustration, turmoil and negativity for a long periods of time. These diseases have their roots in the mind and they spread to the body. They are termed as psychosomatic disorders. By practising meditation, mind can rest and roots of these diseases can be removed from the mind. Interestingly, a very important definition of meditation is the art of living in the present moment. We hardly live in the present moment. Our mind almost always dwells in the past or in the future.Remember That: We have no control over the pastWe do not know about the futureWe are left with presentWe go on missing the present moment, the only moment that is available to us all the time. We may even find that all our so-called stress, negativity, anger, frustrations etc, are rooted either in the past or in the future. The habit of living in the past or future has gone so deep into us that we hardly do any activity by being totally in the present moment. Most road accidents occur due to this very reason, we are never in the drive, and are always somewhere else. Relaxation could be achieved by living in the present moment. If we look at it little deeper, the above two definitions have a deep-rooted connection and interdependence. If we are relaxed, we find ourselves in the present moment and also whenever we are in the present moment we will experience relaxation. All meditation techniques are developed down the ages by great masters to make us relaxed with awareness and keep us in the present moment.This experience of deep relaxation or the art of living in the present moment has very deep implications in human life. We must know our true self. The wisdom of the great ones; the realised ones, very clearly indicates that the root cause of human misery on earth is the very fact that we do not know who we are, from where we have come, and where we are going. All that we know about ourselves is the outward information given to us by family and society; name, cast, creed, designation, sect etc. In spite of all the outward knowledge acquired by us we remain utterly ignorant about our inner true self and without experiencing this inner knowledge we can never be at ease with ourselves and with others or with our existence.People who have gone deep within themselves have always known that all of us have original core and pure consciousness, pure silence, and ability to unite with infinite super-consciousness. They have also experienced that there is a vast diversity on the circumference, but at the centre we all merge and mingle in to one unity, into one omnipresent pure energy and pervading spirit. To have this experience and to rejoin with the source is pure bliss. That is very purpose of all the “Religions”. Religion is a beautiful word, which has originated from a Greek word called ‘religere’ which means to ‘reunite’ ‘rejoin’ with the essential core. From this essential core, from this silence all are manifested, all are created.Meditation helps us to become silent and get attuned with one silent dynamic source. Some period of regular withdrawal from all the external and internal activities is very important for a meaningful, peaceful, healthy and blissful living. Cessation of all physical and mental activity occasionally gives us tremendous opportunity to see events clearly without any preconceived ideas and judgement. We can see, and feel things as they are and act accordingly.A meditative process creates gaps, silent spaces in ourselves through which we can have a look into the source and can have access to the infinite strength. Normally, due to the continuous chattering of the mind or due to the going process of inner dialogue we do not get an opportunity to look into our own being which is rooted in the infinite source of existence because there is no gap, no interval between the two thoughts. Gaps are very valuable because that is the only door, only way of connecting with the divine sources. That is why so much emphasis is given to silence and stillness. “be still, and know that I am God” ………And meditation is the way. As it creates stillness in us and once we know, experience and rooted in the stillness, it becomes our permanent nature and then wherever we go, even in the midst of tremendous movement and activity it remains the same, the same.The difference between Sleep and Meditation As far as relaxation is concerned, it can be achieved through deep sleep i.e. during Delta (0.5 to 3.5 cycles per sec) brain wave period, the period of total oblivion, without any awareness; and that is what deep sleep or good sleep is all about for most of us, certainly it refreshes, rejuvenates and also helps the body mind to heal itself. However, in this very state a very vital phenomenon called “awareness’ is missing which is a very important and vital ingredient as far as human evolution and growth is concerned. All the great mystic traditions of the world have given great emphasis on the aspect of human evolution. According to them the whole purpose of human life is to evolve. Infact all around us, in nature, the process of evolution is continuously happening on its on accord, without any conscious effort. The rocks, the trees and all others animal species are evolving naturally or unconsciously without any conscious effort on their part and the culmination of their evolution is ‘the human being’. And with this quantum leap of nature into a qualitatively different dimension all natural, unconscious evolution comes to an end. It could be said that below humans all evolution is collective and with human the evolution becomes individual and by choice. The freedom to evolve becomes a choice to humans. Every individual has to choose and make his own efforts if he or she wants to evolve. The freedom to take conscious decision is a great gift from existence to humans only. No other animal is endowed with this gift.Once the great Socrates was asked by some one “if you have a choice, what would you like to become? A contented pig or a discontented human being?” The answer of the great one was wonderful. He said “I would like to be a discontented human being has choice-------the freedom to choose growth------- the freedom to become more and more consciously aware where as the pig has no choice, it is still a part of the collective unconscious”. But with choice, freedom, freewill, comes a greater responsibility ------- Now it is every individual’s responsibility to make oneself happy, blissful or miserable. No other person could be held responsible for her or his misery or happiness.Relaxation with AwarenessA deep meditative state provides deep relaxation of body and mind with awareness. It has been noted from the lab tests that the human mind functions through the following four brain wave states:a. Beta state (18 to 28 cycles per sec.): A state of wide-awake, logical thinking state with divided attention also a state of action. Stress is accumulated in the Beta state.b. Alpha state (7 to 13 cycles per sec.) A state of deep relaxation of body mind with focused awareness and also a healing state. Meditation takes one to Alpha state.c. Theta state (3.5 to 7 cycles per sec.) It is a dreaming state or REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state. Great creators, artists, musicians, inventor’s etc. work in the Theta state.d. Delta state (0.5 to 3.5 cycles per sec.) It is a deep dream less state and also a state of healing and regeneration.A profound meditator enters in all these four stages with total awareness and complete relaxation. The total awareness during all the brain wave periods was tested and experimented at the Menninger foundation in Kansas, USA in 1977. Elmer Green and other researchers, using the Electroencephalograph machine recorded the brain wave function of an Indian Yogi, Swami Rama. The Swami demonstrated that he could enter in to even the Delta stage with total awareness, total consciousness. Such a demonstration under scientific conditions had not previously been demonstrated by any body in a lab. The ability to remain totally conscious deep sleep is a proof of the existence of a forth state (Turiya state), the ultimate waking state of consciousness. The Swami proved this by recalling each and every incident, which had occurred during the period of deep Delta brain wave sleep. Outwardly it looked as if he was totally lost in sleep. But he was aware all the time during his sleep.For the first time, Lord Krishna’s famous statement in the 2nd chapter of the “Bhagavat Geeta” – “Ya nisha Sarvabhutayam tasyam jagrati sanyamni---- (“Even when the mortals are sleeping or that which is night for the mortals or for all, the Yogi, the awakened one is fully awake”) was proved correct in a scientific lab.A meditator, by remaining aware and alert, gains a profound experience of total relaxation, which is not only for more beneficial than the conventional sleep but it also opens up a doorway to higher states of consciousness i.e. deeper states of relaxation with awareness and ultimately it leads to “Samadhi” or “Enlightenment” or to ultimate flowering of human consciousness. For a person who has mastered this state of awareness, the so-called barriers linked to waking, dreaming and deep sleep i.e. conscious, subconscious and unconscious minds are dissolved. For this type of person dreaming completely disappears. These perfectly integrated, aware and totally relaxed super conscious persons live permanently in Bliss, and death is also a bliss full event.Meditation before going to SleepMost of us do not getup in the morning with full vigour and freshness even after sleeping 6 to 8 hours; this is so because we do not enter into sleep without resolving our physical mental and emotional tensions. The sleep of a meditator has a different quality. From the Beta state (waking state) he gradually enters into deeper states (Delta state) leaving out all the tensions. And since between the Beta & Delta states he passes through the intense Alpha state (created consciously by relaxing the body & mind) the quality of relaxation experienced even during ordinary sleep is also because of the naturally produced intense Alpha waves. Meditation before entering into sleep helps us to dive in to the depths of sleep and we can come out refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.