When I first became interested in spirituality, the practice of meditation captivated me. I thought it to be a necessary element in furthering one’s spiritual evolution. And it is – if you know how to do it properly. If you don’t, it becomes like the 99% of the actions this world involves itself with at the level of being – superficial, hum-drum, pointless.
Why meditate at all? What benefit does it give me, the meditator? And if the fire burns within me to meditate, how do I meditate properly? To answer these questions we must identify the why of meditation.
Meditation is an ancient practice that has survived the test of time – for good reason. Beyond the surface level of sitting in lotus position, there is magic happening at the level of consciousness of the meditator. For the average joe, the concept of meditation can seem pretty weird. Why sit and do nothing when there are a million and one things you could do otherwise? But to the yogi, meditation is everything because he has realized his true Self and the divine connection he has with God. He realizes he is Everything! And because of this, he must choose: to walk alone on his path to God, or stumble and suffer along with others on the path of conformity.
The why of meditation is so the meditator can connect with the divine core of one’s being/to retrain the mind to identify with this divine Self instead of the limited mind/body-persona. We are not our bodies. And we are not our minds. This reprogramming of the mind takes unwavering devotion. And an intense practice of meditation combined with spiritual study along with other spiritual practices helps the spiritual aspirant gain Self mastery.
There are many meditation techniques. Each has their own particular way of evoking a certain experience in one’s consciousness. Loving-kindness meditation evokes feelings of … well, loving-kindness (a warm, fuzzy, safe bliss). But to attain liberation from suffering and become conscious of your true Self (enlightenment), your meditative technique requires these few goals:
- You must silence the mind.
- You must become aware of awareness.
Silence The Mind
The mind by nature identifies itself with external objects; the body, what it sees in the mirror, its job, and all the various roles it plays amongst the presence of other people. It is a bundle of thoughts, ideas, feelings and desires. It is always changing, moment by moment, reacting to the outside world, shifting itself and changing its intentions to move towards greater and more pleasurable experiences. It is always moving, never satisfied. This very inner movement is suffering. The mind’s desire to move is because it is suffering. It suffers because that is its nature: it is never satisfied with anything, always craving new experiences, always desiring, always producing its own suffering and always trying to run away from itself. This is why most people cannot sit with themselves. They must do something: watch a movie, listen to music, eat, go shopping, clean, do work, drink, smoke, have sex, hang out with friends. By allowing this inner movement to continue – desire stemming from the feelings of liking and disliking – we will continue to suffer. And so long as we identify with the mind and its identification and bondage with external sense objects, we will never know our True Self. The thoughts and desires of our mind must cease if we wish to know, feel and experience God.
Become aware of awareness
I came across a technique in my personal spiritual study called awareness watching awareness, and when I read about it, an inner bell rung so loudly within me because I realized that this was the technique I was using when I experienced enlightenment. I didn’t realize this was what I was doing at the time; I was doing it because it was the only thing I could do at that difficult time in my life. But eventually, using this technique allowed me to ground myself in the awareness of my True Self; that I am not my mind or body, that I am eternal, indestructible, infinite, incorruptible, perfect, whole – these were the qualities of my Self.
When you become aware of awareness, you are choosing the most direct path to your Self, to God. You are not focusing your attention upon your breath, body, thoughts, or feelings. You are taking the most direct path to Truth. You are focusing your attention/consciousness upon the true core of your being. It is a spiritual secret that what you focus your attention on os what you become. When you become aware of your awareness, it is only a matter of time before you realize your True Self. This technique can be used actively in meditation, or passively in every moment of your life.
Here is how you do this meditation:
This meditation will work best when your body is in a comfortable position. Because you want to draw your senses inward and away from the body and the external world, being comfortable will help you do this. You can do this meditation sitting down cross-legged, or laying down if you choose, if you can remain awake. It is also best if you remain undisturbed in your practice. If you live alone that is good. But if you live with others, kindly inform them not to disturb you unless there is an emergency.
Here is a description of how to do the meditation:
Just look at an object in the room.
Notice the awareness that is looking through your eyes.
Now shut your eyes and notice that you are still aware.
It is the same awareness that was a moment ago looking at the room.
Now, with your eyes still closed, observe your awareness.
Here is another:
When you are observing your awareness, just remain with that.
No need to do anything else.
Awareness is empty, so there is no object you are trying to observe.
It is just awareness being aware of itself.
Also it is no special kind of awareness, it is just your ordinary everyday awareness that you normally go through the day with, looking at itself.
The descriptions for this meditation are worded very carefully. It is best described simply. But because of this simplicity it can be a little hard to grasp. This is why at this website, they give you a list of descriptions. When you sit down to do this meditation, use one description. If in practice, it does not evoke the desired experience, try another description. But regardless, keep trying! The fruits of meditation are picked with practice.
The whole point of meditation is to shift the meditator from the usual identification with the mind-body persona, and to ground him in his true Self – which is pure consciousness. This is what the yogis call Atman (the Self/true Self), the individual experience of Brahman (The Absolute Reality). This experience of one’s true Self is enlightenment. It is heaven. It is liberation from suffering. It is the freedom from death. It contains everything the heart desires.
Tame your passions and desires. Master your mind and its thoughts. Meditate. Practice this direct path; the awareness watching awareness method. You can liberate yourself from the bondages of earthly suffering.