In last podcast, I discussed importance of awakening to empowered self. Hopefully, it inspired you to take first step towards awakening to your empowered self. As you will recall that our empowered self exists in this very moment, we are just not aware of it. In this podcast, we will learn what meditation is and how meditation as a tool can help us awaken to our empowered self.
Let us once again revisit the difference between being awakened and not-awakened to our empowered self. When we are awake to our empowered self, it is comparable to a well-lit room in which we are sitting with our eyes open. Whereas when we are not awakened to our empowered self, it is comparable sitting in a dark room, with our eyes open. Open eye is symbolic of known abilities of our mind. We can see in both cases, but there is a stark difference in what we see in light versus darkness. In darkness, we stumble across hitting things in the room and probably hurting ourselves and others in the process. In darkness we are afraid of things to go wrong as we lack clarity and ability to see afar. Also, in darkness things don’t appear to be what they are. For example, one can mistake a snake for a rope and vice-versa in darkness. Fear is natural in darkness, limiting our abilities, depriving us of our true potential. Whereas, in a well-lit room we can see clearly, stay clear of things and walk around without hurting ourselves and others. As there is clarity, there is no fear. In a nutshell, abilities of our mind are enhanced many folds when we are awake and at some point on our journey of awakening to our empowered self, we realize our true potential.
The room is the personal world we exist in. Without being awake, our world gets limited due to darkness and also becomes a reason for our pain, as we lack clarity and fail to see the real picture. Thus we fail to fully understand, even our limited world in non-awakened state. When we are awake, our world we exist in, continuously expands, without any boundaries. When awakened, our understanding of our ever expanding world grows and we are able to comprehend things, making conscious choices to enhance our life and those of others around us without ever being hopeless.
By now, you should not have any reason to avoid awakening to your empowered self, unless your attention was somewhere else as you listened to me speak about importance of awakening to your empowered self. Your ability to focus your attention on object of your choice is your inherent ability to meditate. Your ability to meditate is the tool at your disposal 24//7. When you understand what meditation is and know how to use it, meditation as a tool can help you in awakening to empowered self. Your task in this moment is to simply pay attention to rest of the podcast and pause the podcast as you deem necessary.
What is meditation?
“Meditation is must for everyone” is an adage most of us are familiar with. There are definitely benefits of meditation. Yet, understanding basics of meditation is must before jumping into unknown world of meditation. Treading into unknown dimension of meditation brings into our awareness a higher dimension of our existence where suffering is optional.
Most people like to know about the unknown before choosing to take the first step by weighing in the options. I suggest meditation is one unknown that remains unknown until one does not experience it personally. Meditation is worth a shot. Many refer to comparative studies ranking meditations based on certain measurable parameters. It is silly to rank meditation as a commodity. There is no need to measure Meditation directly. Best measure of effectiveness of meditation is inner transformation. The inner transformation is reflected as our actions capable of enriching us by being eternally happy, fostering a blissful life.
Let me start by breaking the greatest myth about the need to learn meditation. Meditation cannot be learned or taught, as meditation is essence of our existence as human beings. We are born with ability to meditate. Because of our inherent ability to meditate, we can walk, talk, listen, read, eat, run and do lot of other activities. Our inherent ability to meditate (focus our attention) is means of our survival. Without our inherent ability to meditate, we become physically and mentally dysfunctional. If you are unsure about your ability to walk, talk, listen, read, eat and run, you might need to learn meditation.
All this means is, we know how to meditate. So, what is meditation all about? Let’s use example of two people who are meditating in their own ways. One person being a shooter is trying to hit bull’s eye on a target using a high caliber rifle and second person is trying to focus attention on their breathing sitting crossed leg in a quiet corner with a straight back. Both are trying to enhance their ability to focus their attention. What differentiates these two people are their intentions behind their attention. The shooter’s intention is to win a world class championship to have their name written in history books. Whereas, the person in quiet room is striving to know about self, starting with their breath.
We all are focusing our attention on an object of our choice, which differentiates us from one another. We are meditating on object of our choice guided by our intention. What we experience is manifestation of our intention. To change undesired experiences we have to change our intention. This is only possible if we know our own intention.
It is necessary to understand the process of creation of our world we dwell in. To do so, we need to look at our intention as guide of our attention that in turn creates our life. When we focus our attention on any object using one of our five senses, it triggers thoughts inside us. These thoughts provide meaning to object of our attention. In itself objects carry no meaning of their own. For example, words we hear is sound without any meaning. When the sound triggers pre-existent thoughts in part of our mind called memory, the sound becomes meaningful. The languages we understand are sounds that have associated thoughts in our memory. And the languages we do not understand are sounds that do not have associated thoughts in our memory.
If the object of our attention does not exist in our memory, we fail to identify it and call it unknown thing. To illustrate this further, think of a friend whom you met first time in school. When you met this friend for the first time, he/she came into your awareness and became existent for you. Prior to your first meeting, this friend did exist, but not for you. This means until your friend was not in your memory as collection of thoughts, he/she did not exist for you. Fast forward to now. Years after college, you can still see your friend without using any of the five senses, though your friend might be miles away from you. If your friend is miles away, how could you see your friend? You see your friend in your thoughts. When your thoughts are triggered by sound of your friend’s name, your friend comes into your awareness when you focus your attention on thoughts associated with sound of your friend’s name. This implies all that we see outside and recognize has to exist inside us first. This means our world is truly inside us in form of thoughts stored in our memory. To transform our merciless unfair outside world, we have to simply transform our inside world of thoughts.
Remember, intention drives attention to focus on object of our desire, which in turn brings things to our awareness. Our awareness is as pure as our intention. This creates Truths of varying truthfulness. Impurities in intention are like dark clouds in front of sun of our awareness. Whatever is in our awareness is our world. Thus we create our world inside us that projects itself as our outside world. Thus we see what we want to see based on our thoughts projected outwards.
Intention is not pure, when it is maligned by our desires. Desires, bound us to our lower dimension of limited existence in which we are not awake to our empowered self. In lower dimension of existence, pain and suffering are NOT optional.
“Pure intention” is absence of desires. It is a state of being alive whereby we do not live a reactionary life. When our intention is pure, our attention reveals truth. Through pure intention we become aware of what IS and what IS NOT, freeing us of all illusions. In this higher dimension of existence, when we are awakened to our empowered self, pain and suffering are optional.
We need to know consequences of meditation maligned by desire. We ought to be aware of consequences of living in lower dimension of limited existence where pain and suffering never end. In lower dimension of limited existence we presume the source of our pain and suffering to be outside world and try to change it without much success.
Only through purification of our intention of desires, we can become aware of our higher dimension of our existence in which we are awake to our empowered self. Intention can be purified by following below steps.
Step 1: Turning attention inwards.
Step 2: Facing our truth.
Step 3: Remain in present.
Step 1: Turn attention inwards. First step towards purification of intention requires us to become aware of underlying intention maligned by desire. This is possible by turning our attention inwards where none of the five senses work. It is most difficult to reverse direction of our attention and could be discomforting in beginning. This is because we are accustomed to focusing our attention outward through five senses. When our attention is focused outwards, transient and unpredictable worlds becomes our anchor. When our attention is on transience and unpredictability, it is not surprising for our mind to be constantly churning reprocessed thoughts causing discomfort. Calmness and stillness will be miles away affecting our physical well-being as we strive to keep our inside balanced struggling with constantly discomfort.
If all this sounds familiar, it is high time to begin turning attention inwards. Our attention turned outwards, triggers our inner world, creating an illusion that everything is happening outside of us. The only way to break free of illusions is by turning your attention inwards. To know the outside world, we need to start by knowing our inner world.
Step 2: Facing our truth with honesty and courage. It takes courage to face our reality by turning our attention inwards. Attention turned inwards is our greatest friend that brings to our awareness a world that projects itself outside of us. Inward focused attention reveals our sublime desires manifesting as needs and wants. One needs to be careful at this point coming face to face with deep buried thoughts of past and that of future. As our attention is accustomed to be in past or future, it is but natural that in beginning we will feel little discomfort. The discomfort is due to our attachment to our past and future. Present moment is the only moment we can live in, past and future are death. When we dig our past or future through meditation as a tool, it feels like digging mines of coal. Coal is symbolic of darkness of non-existent time. When we dig present moment, we dig gold and diamond mines, finding riches symbolic of light. Light that reveals to us the truth. The truth that can set us free to awaken to empowered self. At this point, a guru is needed to guide for three reasons:
- Only a Guru is able to guides and hold our attention in present moment.
- Only a Guru is able to keep us aware without being attached to our past and future.
- Only a Guru is able to help us accept our truth without judgement.
We are convinced to seek supreme wisdom as a Guru, once we recognize all our efforts to focus our attention in present moment fail. In other words, we seek Guru, when our pain and suffering grows unbearable. Our own supreme wisdom that is not invoked yet, as we are not awakened to our empowered self is out True Guru. The question is, in meantime, what can we do? Until, supreme wisdom is not invoked inside us, we can focus our attention outwards through five senses on words of wisdom of those who are awake to their empowered self.
Step 3: Remain in present. When we focus our attention on words of wisdom through five senses, it takes away our attention from external stimuli, automatically ceasing triggering of past and future thoughts. Our constant attention on words of wisdom as Guru, when churned in our mind, triggers part of our mind that starts awakening us to our own supreme wisdom. Supreme wisdom as Guru guides our attention to present moment to shed layers of past and anticipation of future like old skin. A Guru as supreme wisdom is alive as present moment. Present moment is a bottomless empty bowl and always new, thus unknown. Past and future are known as both are manifestation from known part of our mind, called memory. Our memory is finite, not matter how much we know. As our attention has remained in the known, we are not accustomed to focus our attention on unknown.
A Guru as supreme wisdom anchors our attention to present moment freeing us of our past and anticipation of future, ultimately revealing our inner supreme wisdom. Until our inner supreme wisdom as Guru is not revealed, we need to use our five senses to focus attention on wisdom as spoken or written word of someone, who’s inner Guru is already invoked. When we focus our attention on “Words of supreme wisdom”, it guides our inward turned attention from our Truth to the Truth, causing awakening to empowered self.
It is necessary to understand words of wisdom through comprehension in a group or individual basis and apply in our personal life. Memorizing words of wisdom, without understanding them, does not bring about awakening to empowered self. Memorizing words of wisdom is like dipping tea bag in warm water for a split second and taking it out. Water remains water in this case. Whereas comprehension of words of wisdom and applying this wisdom through our actions is like keeping a tea bag in warm water, until water transforms into tea. Transformation of water into tea requires each molecule of water to become imbued in essence of tea. This transformation requires the tea bag to remain soaked for long enough, so that each water molecule fully absorbs qualities of tea leaves.
Comprehension of words of wisdom brings about an inner transformation when applied in personal life through direct experience. Results of action guided by Guru as words of wisdom are always sweet. This builds trust in our Guru when we compare these results to result of actions based on our past and future. When our attention remains on words of wisdom, our past and future becomes non-existent. This vanishes all desires, thus purifying our intention.
When we comprehend words of wisdom and apply them in our personal life on regular basis, our thoughts remain imbued in words of wisdom bringing about a transformation in our essence. This transformation is due to change of origin of our thoughts. Without words of wisdom, origin of our thoughts lies in non-existent past or future. Whereas through comprehension and application of words of wisdom, present moment becomes origin of our thoughts. Present moment in which supreme wisdom resides as a Guru also reveals to us origin of the whole creation, making us seek oneness with the creator. When present moment is origin of our thoughts, we become free of all sufferings. We become still, calm and unperturbed.
Comprehension of words of wisdom and application in our personal life is a tool available to all of us, all the times, under all situations. No altar, candle, incense, idol is required. Supreme wisdom as Guru also guides us towards awakening to our empowered self.
To wrap up this podcast, let me summarize main points.
- Our inherent ability to focus attention on object of our choice, guided by our intention is Meditation.
- Purification of intention leads focused attention on object of our choice, offering possibility of suffering to be optional
- Supreme wisdom as Guru is required as guide and anchor our attention to present moment in order to ultimately invoke our inner supreme wisdom
- Through purification of our attention we are healed, awakening to our empowered self.
Note: This Blogpost is also available as podcast at below link