For most people, sleep is enjoyable. A relaxing time when the conscious mind recedes so that the unconscious mind can come out to play. As a result, sleep time is experienced as a pleasurable state, free from the constraints of an overbearing mind. But what about the other 16 hours we spend walking around this planet? Is it possible to experience pleasure when our minds are engaged?
Dr Hasmukh Adhia addresses the true art of meditation in this latest DNA India post. According to Adhia, the practice of meditation is the cultivation of a state in which one experiences the loss of self while in the waking state. While this a long process not meant for everyone, through practices like yoga and meditation, a person can experience deeper levels of peace through non-attachment.
But there are certain pre-requisites of meditation. First of all, before we try meditation, our body has to be free from pain and healthy. If there is a problem in our body somewhere, mind will not be able to concentrate in meditation.
Also if a person’s mind is full of negative qualities like anger, jealousy, extreme attachment, ego and unlimited desires, one will not be in a position to sit in meditation. So, the first step is to take care of these angularities of mind by systematically developing opposite virtues of love, compassion, generosity, contentment etc.
Out of the three stages of meditation, the first step is Dharana, in which one must try to focus thoughts on any one single object such as picture of any God or symbol or sound of Aum. If mind is too turbulent, one may not be able to do this at all. In such a case one can try to chant names of God (japa) while focusing on God’s form.
Chanting is ideally done mentally only. But if mind oscillates too much, one must chant loudly first and then slowly shift to mental chanting.Japa is therefore a beautiful technique of developing concentration of mind.
The next stage of meditation is Dhyan. In this, there will be uninterrupted focus on a single object. In short, dhyan is effortless dharana.It is a deeper level of focusing. When one reaches this stage, one starts enjoying it. One forgets how much time is spent in dhyan.
The next deeper level of meditation is Samadhi in which one loses consciousness of self, while maintaining focus on the object of meditation.Samadhi is a stage for enlightened souls, not for everyone. Samadhi does not mean physical dissolution of self but it means complete absence of ‘I’ in mind of a sadhaka.
Read more from Adhia on the true art of meditation here.