Author: Randeep Singh / go to all articles on Yoga Concepts
Key of success for Meditation, The Right Object to Focus on
Meditation is very important in our daily life.
Meditation is the method through which,
we unite the soul and the divine.
Meditation keeps our mind calm and less anger.
Through Meditation we can improve our
memory power. Many mental disease can
be overcome with the help of meditation.
There are many types asanas mentioned in the process of meditation.
The object of meditation is the the degree of reality aligned to our being. This sentence may appear like a aphorism. We have to meditate only on that which is the exact counterpart of our present level of knowledge and comprehension. There should not be any mistake in the choice of object.
If the object is properly chosen, the mind will spontaneously come under control. The restlessness and resentment of the mind is due to the wrong choice that is made in the beginning. Often we are too enthusiastic and try to go above our own heads.
The mind is not prepared to accept such a revolution, which is beyond not only its own comprehension but also beyond its present needs and necessities.
The Good To Us – Object of Meditation
There may be many good things in the world, but they may not all be necessary for us.It should not mean that merely because something is grand and great, it should be the proper thing for us all. A thing may be, on the other hand, small and insignificant, but it may be just the thing that we need, and we should not be under the impression that it is a small petty thing.
Often we are happy over petty things, and they cease to be petty when they become our needs, and then they assume in importance. There should be an exercise of proper discrimination, the true rationality of ours has to take possession of us and free us from unnecessary emotions and sentimental exuberance of any kind.
Spiritual seekers are certainly after God. This fact is very well known to all. But we must know who is our God. God is the fulfilling counterpart of our present state of evolution. Anything that is capable of making us complete is our God. Anthying that keeps us partial is not going to satisfy us in any way.
That which completes our personality in any manner, in any degree of its expression, is to be considered as our necessity, and teachers like Patanjali who were great psychologists too, have taken note of this important suggestion to be imparted to the students.
We are not asked to jump at once to the great theological doctrines of the creator of the cosmos. That would go above our minds. The teachings remain merely as theory and gospel in books. We have internal necessities if a peculiar nature. We have psychological hunger and thirsts, which project themselves through our feelings, apart from the hunger and the thirst of the physiological system.
The mind too, hungers and thirsts. Emotions also hunger and thirsts. Sentiments, hunger and thirst, and whatever we are made of, has its own hunger and thirst. We cannot regard these as devils which have to be exorcised and thrown out. Such a mistake is not to be committed in a scientific approach called Yoga meditation.
The more we are cautious, the greater is our chance of success. The more we are emotional and miss the point, the greater is the chance of reversion and retrogression and a feeling of failure.
Our problems are our desires, and they have to be tackled in a very careful way. Some of them may have to be fulfilled immediately. One may be having a very strong urge from within to have a cup of tea, for instance, and then one should not be stupid enough to say ‘I am a spiritual seeker, I am not going to take cup of tea’, even when the impulse id annoying.
The impetuous and uncontrollable desires have to be sublimated with great analytical understanding, by the study of scriptures, resort to holy company, isolation and self investigation, and methods of this nature.
So is the case with medicines, when one is ill. Some of the desires are simple, harmless physiological and have to be fulfilled in a systematic manner, not with the intention of indulging in them, but with the higher purpose of subduing them. Sublimation of desires is to be distinguished from a suppression or repression of them, because the latter is harmful to one’s wholesome growth.
There are other desires which are either meaningless or impossible to attain, and they have to be sublimated with the strength of understanding. They make no sense, practically, and are just crotchets of the head of a person. But these are more difficult things to understand than the ordinary, simple desires.
These idiosyncrasies, as we may call them, are harder things to tackle, because they are more internal than these external appearances of the normal desires. They are part of our sentiments, emotions, ego and here we reqire an expert guidance form a master, a teacher, who has to act not only as a physician but as a psychotherapist in the above circumstances.
Guidance for the Object of Meditation
The most internal is the need we feel for guidance outwardly. One may look all right and not feel the need for any kind of assistance from others. But the internal forces are more difficult to subdue and handle. They are impetuous, uncontrollable. The desires which are of this character have to be sublimated with a great analytical understanding, by the study of scriptures, resort to holy company, isolation and self investigation, and methods of this nature.
Thus, and in these similar ways, we have to check up the strings which connect us with the world. They cannot be snapped suddenly, they can only be thinned out so that they break later on due to the feebleness of these threads.
One cannot cut of a strong bond, just as one cannot severe a limb of one’s body or peel off one’s own skin. The desires are so much part of oneself that they can only be compared to the limbs of on’s body and to remove them at one stroke with violence would be something unimaginable. Desires which are forcefully cast out like devils can work havoc afterwords, because they are actually driven down to the unconscious.
They are not cast outside in space, as one imagines. They are pushed inside, which id still worse. Unfulfilled desires are not going to quite and live in the space outside. They go inside and live in a seed-form and may manifest themselves when there is suitable rainfall, and then they sprout and germinate into living creepers, once again, and even after years and years, nay, even after births, they can demand satisfaction.
Desires are like creditors, who cannot simply be shunted off with a ‘no.’ They are to be paid there dues, either by an actual disbursement of their parts, or by a reconciliation with them in some intelligent manner. The object of meditation is not necessarily the highest God of the universe, at once, in the beginning itself, though we may call our object of meditation as our God, for the time being.
This concept of the degrees of reality or the necessity to consider the object of meditation as a deity in itself under every degree of manifestation has led to the notion of many Gods of religion. Often we say that some religions are polytheistic since so many Gods are there.There are in fact, not many Gods. They are only the necessary many acceptances on the part of many individuals, of many degrees, of of their many realities.
They are not many Gods, but the many stages of acceptance. It does not, however, mean that the one God has many degrees. There are no partitions in the existence of the Absolute. But there appear to be partitions distinguishable one from the other in the degrees of reality because of the distinguishing layers existing in our own psychic per,sodality. The degrees are in us and not in the reality.
There are not, actually, degrees of reality, as it is sometimes thought. There are degrees in the consciousness of reality, degrees of the perception of reality, degrees of our capacity to understand the nature of reality. So, the gods come into existence and our God can be anything that attracts us as n absolutely essential item under the conditions in which we are placed.
When one is seriously ill, a particular medicine may be required, though that medicine has nothing to do with one’s spiritual life, apparently. But it is not true. Anything that sustains one and enables one to live a wholesome life is God revealed in one degree.
One cannot easily say what is spiritual and what is not spiritual, until one goes deep into things. Allis a question of understanding the relevance that a particular thing has with our mind, our consciousness, our being as whole. in the Yoga Sutras connected with the subject, PTanjali gives suggestions for various types of concentration on the requirement of the seeker under different conditions.
When one is in these stages of the choice of the object of meditation one requires guidance from someone who is competent. Who has trodden the path, who knows the pitfalls, who has seen the difficulties and have known the remedies of the problems faced. The seeker is treading an unknown path, a path the future of which is completely out of sight, and he cannot know what lies ahead of him. Therefore, the need and timely instruction and assistance of a personal nature, from a Guru.
A Guru is not a professor or a schoolmaster. He is intimately related to the disciple’s very existence. People have many Gurus, these days. That is not what I mean by a real Guru. One who has spiritually taken charge of the soul of the disciple is the Guru. Not mere the one gives an intellectual instruction and goes away.
Tradition considers the relation between the Guru and the disciple to be a perpetual one, until the salvation of the soul is reached. The Guru helps, not merely in this life, but even in the future life. This is because this relationship is not social, it is not even merely psychological, it is spiritual,
The choice of the object of meditation, to come to the point again, is the important aspect of the very beginning of spiritual life. the choice is the initiation the disciple receives form the teacher. What is called initiation in the mysteries of the practice of Yoga is nothing but the initiation of one’s spiritual being into the technique of tuning oneself to that particular deity, the form of God, or the object which is goign to be one’s target for the present moment.
This is a secret by itself and the teacher will teach it to the disciple. The object of meditation should satisfy the student, that is why it is called ’Ista Devta’ (loved deity). The ’Ista’ is that which is desirable, beautiful, attractive, required, that which attracts one’s love and one’s whole being. One pours one”s self into it. One likes it so much that one cannot like anything else as much as that. ’Ista’ is the beloved. ’Devta’ is deity. It is deity because it is one’s God. It is that thing which one really requires, so that without it one cannot exist.
That which causes a cessation of one’s restlessness, satisfies one”s whole being and not merely one’s sentiment, is one’s Devta or deity. And it is most loveable: obviously one cannot have love for anything else under the circumstances. An Ista Devta is a chosen Deity over which one pours one’s emotion, love and affection. Now, what connection has this Ista Devta with God, the creator, the Almighty?
Inter Relatedness – Objects of Meditation
Everything has a connection with everything else. There is nothing which is not internally related to the Almighty, the Supreme Being. Every atom is so related and every atom can be a teacher under given conditions. We can touch God through every speck of space, because there is no such thing as a universe outside God. God is in everything that is experienced here as the world, or the universe, pervading and permeating all things so that one cannot touch anything without touching God in some way.
There should not be any misconception that the deities, even the images, the so-called idols that the people worship, are all just nonsense or insignificant nothings: these are necessary prescriptions for the illness of the spirit, in the stages of its evolution.
We see people changing there aims constantly. They cannot stick to any particular scripture, ideal, or teacher. They cannot stick to a method, cannot stick to a place, cannot stick to anything. There is a perfunctory external touch with the ideal of life and not a going deep into it. The choice of the object of meditation is a final act and once we make this choice, we have to adhere to it, and there should be no misgivings.
There should be no doubt in the mind if that is a wrong choice that has been made. The choice is to be considered as correct when it has been made by a teacher. Secondly, any object can take one to anything, because of the connection it has with all other things. What is required is deep concentration. We can dig the earth at any place and we will find water, provided we go deep enough. We have to go to the oceanic level at the bottom.
Thus, concentration on the chosen ideal or the given object wholeheartedly, continuously and regularly for a life tim, is essential. It would be a wonder to hear stories of great saints and sages who are supposed to have spoken to even the idols, to inanimate matter, a bronze idol, or a stone image. How can matter speak? It can speak because of its getting charged with the spirit of the consciousness of concentration.
Nothing – non- material exists in the world, finely matter is sleeping consciousness. what we call the inanimate is the slumbering-Absolute, and it can be awakened by a deep concentration of consciousness. The awakening takes place when the consciousness gets communed, but the objects appear as a material thing as long as it is out side consciousness in space and time. So one should not be too much fidgeting about the propriety in the choice of the object of meditation.
The Choice of the Object of Meditation
Once the choice has been made, it has to be adhered to, and the student will screed. The object has to be such as would satisfy the emotions. It should satisfy even the intellect and reason. There should not be a resentment of any type of any nature. Sometimes it may so happen that It is necessary that the emotions like the choice but the intellect does not agree. When the intellect agrees emotions do not.
It is necessary that there must be a blend of these aspects of our inner being. The emotions and the reason must accept the propriety of one’s having made this choice. ”Yes it is the thing meant for me, and for such and such reason.” The intellect always seeks a rationale justification, a confirming logic. The head and the heart have to be in unison.
Then there is coming together of the understanding and the feelings, and meditation is nothing but the union of the understanding of the feelings with respect to the object that is chosen as the finale of one’s life. Mere intellectual deliberation is not meditation. Thinking of some object intellectually cannot be called meditation.
In meditation there is a total attunement of the whole being with the object that is chosen as the great aim. Whatever we are made of or constituted of has to take part in this concentrated effort. There should be a wholesale conscription, as it were of all the parts of the personality, and every part is involved in this universal cause.
There should be no reluctance on the side of any part of our being in this act of concentration. There should be no difficulty felt in this act of whole souled attention on the object. The reluctance arises on account of mistaken choice. This happens when some parts of the personality has felt the need for the object and the other parts think it is not essential. We have to bring our force round, by some method which is apt under the circumstances.
We know how one has to work in order to reconcile people. There are variegated types of personalities in this world. How will one reconcile them? One person does not agree with the other, but if one has to live a peaceful existence in this world of human societies, some sort of agreement for reconciliation of the opposites has to be made. This has to be done en in an intelligent manner for the good of all.
This technique of reconciliation of differences among the aspects of a thing has to be adopted. Even if doing so takes time, there is no harm. It does not mean that, today itself, everything has to be done. We may take one month to come to a conclusion as to what that suitable object is. But, once the object is chosen properly, the mind will certainly rush towards it, because it is the thing it needs. Someyimes it may be difficult to find one single object which can satisfy every part of our nature, even as we cannot have only one article of diet, which can satisfy hunger , thirst and every other requirement of the body.
In the earlier stages, it may be necessary to resort to different kinds of concentration with the intention of reconciling them and bringing them together. The program of our daily Sadhna may have to be spread out to some extent in some manner which fulfils the various needs of the self.
One may have many other requirements of this nature, such as a desire for study and learning, a desire to go on pilgrimage to holy places or to see a great saint or sage. Now, all these urges have to be fulfilled in an organised manner. They become essentials on account of their pressing nature. They have to be paid their dues. Thus, in the beginning, it need not necessarily be a single onject, literally, there can be a group of various aspects .
We need not call them various objects which are really aspects of a single intention that is behind the mind. All of which may comingle later on into a single object. It is necessary, in the earlier stages, to go slow, an dhave three, four, five items for the purpose of practice. Examples can be Japa, or chanting of a mantra, formula which has been given by a Guru, or which occurs in a scripture.
Japa can be of a single word, a group of words or letters known as mantra or a formula. This practice is necessary because it is difficult to keep the mind elevated always in a high vision of thought. It often comes down to lower levels. To stir it up to a consciousness of higher levels of being, one requires constant instruction and habituation to one thought.
If one does not have a personal Guru to instruct constantly, one has to resort to the secondary method of studying. One takes to a concentrated study of scriptures which will inspire the mind at once. This will prepare the attenton for Japa, or recitaton of the sacred formula or mantra.
Svadhyaya – Self Study
Svadhyaya means sacred study. This does not mean study of books from libraries. One generally sees the catalogue and whatever appeals the sentiments is picked up and one starts reading a novel or any encyclopaedia. But, Svadhyaya is a religious, dedicated study. It is not just gathering of information from several sources. It is not a historical survey that we are making of doctrines, religions, and philosophies.
It is rather a meditation by itself. Only it is a little spread out meditation, not so much concentrated as the purely technical absorption. These spread out tupes are more diversified forms of meditatin, and they are the studies that we make. Ina book that we so study there are various ideas which entertain the mind and do not bore it with one thought or monotony.
the vastly spread ideas which are expressed in the scriptures are meant to end towards one point, in the end. Though scriptures tell us many things, they all aim at a single purpose. The mind gradually converses upon a single point of attention. When we read the Bhagavadgita, for instance, with all the details throughout the chapters, we will find there one ringing note into which we are introduced finally, at the end.
But the crucial point cannot be revealed immediately, because we want variety. So, people take to bhajans, kirtans, singing, etc. in the methods of Bhakti Yoga especially. While these provide us with an entertainment by way of a diversity, they have a very pious and spiritual motive behind of allowing the mind to concentrate on a single object.
The Japa of the formula or mantra, the study of scriptures, sequestration and holy company, attending satsang of great souls where ever it is possible, are all to be regarded as parts of our meditation, bacause they are needed by certain aspects of our personality.
Our personality is very complex. It is constituted of different items of creation and they all ask for satisfaction of one type or the other. We have to move gradually, stage by stage, to transcend ourselves. The practice should not be any sudden assertive renunciation in the form of rejection of values, but it should be a growth of the personality into a wholeness which has over come the lower, not rejected the lower. This is important to remember. We do not reject things but overcome by understanding, by fulfilment and an increase of comprehension.
Spiritual life is not a rejection of values, but a fulfilment of values, a fulfilment for the purpose of transcendence of values. This is a healthy method, and most positive to which we have to resort as an aid to, object of mediation.