What is Meditation?
A short talk by Sri Chinmoy.
What is meditation? Meditation is man's self-awakening and God's Self-offering. When man's self-awakening and God's Self-offering meet together, man becomes immortal in his inner consciousness and God becomes fulfilled in the world of manifestation. 'Meditation' is a most complicated and most fulfilling word. When we meditate without knowing how to meditate, when we meditate with our mind, it is most complicated. But when we meditate with our inner conviction, with the feeling of divinity within us, it becomes most fulfilling.
Meditation means conscious self-expansion. Meditation means one's conscious awareness of the transcendental Reality. Meditation means the recognition or the discovery of one's own true self. It is through meditation that we transcend limitation, bondage and imperfection. First we face limitations, imperfections and bondage, then we transform them, and afterwards we transcend them.
Meditation is the language of God. Now I am speaking English and you are able to understand me. If we want to communicate with God, then meditation is the language. It is the common language of man and God. God uses it and we use it. When we go deep within, into the deepest recesses of our hearts, we commune with God through meditation. It is through meditation that we can know that God is both with form and without form, with attributes and without attributes.
Meditation is dynamism on the inner planes of consciousness. If we want to achieve anything, either in our inner life or our outer life, then the help of meditation is of paramount importance. When we meditate, what we actually do is enter into the deeper part of our being. At that time, we are able to bring to the fore the wealth that we have deep within us. Meditation shows us how we can aspire for something and, at the same time, how we can achieve it. It is through meditation that we can enter into an object, a subject, a person, or into Infinity and Eternity. If we practice meditation daily, then we can rest assured that the problems of our life, inner and outer, are solved.
Why do we meditate? We meditate precisely because this world of ours has disappointed us and because failure looms large in our day-to-day life. We want fulfilment. We want joy, peace, bliss and perfection within and without. Meditation is the answer, the only answer.
True meditation can never be done with the mind. Very often we make a mistake when we say that we are meditating in the mind and utilising the mind. Real meditation is done in the psychic being and in the soul. It goes hand in hand with flaming aspiration, the burning flame that wants to climb up to the Highest.
Each soul is running consciously or unconsciously toward the Goal, but those who are running consciously will reach the Goal sooner than those who are still asleep. All human beings without exception will reach God, but through meditation we reach our Goal sooner. We have to know how fast we want to reach our goal. If I want to come to Puerto Rico from New York, I can come by boat, I can take a direct flight, or I can take a plane that stops at various places on the way. It is entirely up to me whether I take a direct route or an indirect route. There are many roads that lead to the Goal, but one road is sure to be shorter than the others. In the spiritual life, it is when we meditate on the heart that we make the fastest progress. Naturally, if we are wise we will take the shortest route. Each second counts.
Real meditation we get from within or from a spiritual Master. We can never get it from books. From books we can get inspiration or an inner approach to the fulfilment of our outer life. But in order to have true meditation we have to go deep within or follow the guidance of a spiritual Master. Each individual must have a meditation of his own. Each one has to follow a particular path. There is collective meditation and, at the same time, there is a specific meditation for each individual. If you are sitting in a group meditating collectively, that is wonderful, but if you want to realise God, then you have to have your own specific method. This specific way of meditating either your soul will tell you or you will get it from someone who can enter into your soul and see its possibilities, someone who can see how your particular soul wants to manifest the divine Truth here on earth. Some souls want to manifest the Divine on earth through Beauty, while other souls want to manifest the Divine through Power, Light or Bliss. You have to know what your soul wants and how your soul wants to take part in the cosmic Play. Only then will your meditation fulfil the Divine within you and the Divine in the rest of humanity.
There are many seekers whose meditation is not fruitful because they are not doing the meditation that is necessary for them. They are not meditating in the right way. When we meditate properly and soulfully, we can eventually expect a bumper crop of realisation. But if we are constantly knocking at the wrong door and meditating in a wrong way, then we are wasting our time.
Again, I wish to say that in the process evolution no human being will remain unrealised. It may take millennia, but each individual soul will realise God. Meditation tells us that yesterday's message is to be rejected, today's message is to be accepted and tomorrow's message is to be embraced. What is yesterday's message? Yesterday's message is frustration, imperfection and limitation. If we look backward we can immediately feel and realise that we were unfulfilled, we were imperfect, we were swimming in the sea of bondage. Today's message tells us to go deep within and see the face of reality. It makes us feel that the outer life can easily be transcended and that we can see God face to face. And tomorrow's message is that we can easily claim Divinity as our very own on the strength of our soulful aspiration and meditation.
Excerpt from Meditation: God's Duty And Man's Beauty by Sri Chinmoy.