Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Meditation & Rituals

Rituals are integral part of any culture; for that, culture is a result of human tendency to evolve. Rituals may still existing in their original form since their inception or transformed into a new form as the culture moves on or the essence of the ritual might have washed away by the flow of culture and just a representation is left behind. What is ritual? What could be the expected outcome of rituals? If we are performing any rituals, we should be asking these questions – if at all we claim ourselves as educated or knowledgeable! Unfortunately, seldom we enquire about such abstract and subtle things. Even if enquired, we create our own answers based on what we think and heard from others, and then start believing that answer; any belief is a blind belief.

The below description could be a description of rituals and its intention. Like the out come of any other enquiry, it is a deduction. It may or may not be having any relevance to truth. As long as we are clear about this, the trueness or falseness of this deduction does not matter, we will reach the real intention of rituals. But if we just believe or reject this deduction or any other description we are also rejecting the truth. This could be a complex statement!

For human being, the mind is a gift (also a curse!). Any one person, any where in the world, belongs to any culture and try to understand oneself, mind is the only vehicle available for such investigation and mind is the only additional instrument than other animals in this earth. Hence if one intend to reach or learn the extreme possibility of evolution it should be through the vehicle of mind only. This investigation has created so many religions in this world. All the religions in this world must have started from at least one such investigating mind. In other words mind must be the happening point of every thing for human being and mind is the space where all our living takes place and this living is expressed thru’ our actions.

Once we understand a little bit of our mind and it’s functioning with respect to living, looks like, the mind is capable of digging towards the ultimate knowledge, may be inch by inch or atom by atom. Hence invoking the mind towards this knowledge must be the first step towards understanding life and living. How to invoke the mind towards this understanding, which has evolved slowly to this state since the creation of world (if there was a creation) and have unlimited blocks with in it during this evolutionary journey? Rituals may be a mechanism of invoking our mind for higher knowledge. Mind can get in to higher knowledge only when meditation happens upon it. In other words rituals must be for invoking meditation.

Our mind is made up of symbols and images. These symbols and images together constitute our language and communication. For example, when we see a tree the mind records that information as an image based on the qualities the mind perceives about the tree and a word or symbol to represent that tree - the qualities perceived by the mind cannot be the complete qualities of a tree, but a few outer and perceivable qualities. Now, if we see a tree the mind associates it with the word and if we hear or see the word “tree” the mind associate it with the image we have about the tree. In other words, the symbols always invoke the image with in mind. Symbols can associate only with the images not the real – this is one of a subtle philosophical concept at higher plane.

Our sense organs are the instruments to get these images and symbols into mind. But the capabilities of our senses are very limited. We are also limiting ourselves within the reach of these sense organs in our way of living even though we have another instrument called mind. Of course, we are using our mind for entangling with these symbols and images, not for gain freedom from these symbols and images in our way of living. We know how we are joyful when we get freedom from being a salve with in social set up. If we can properly associate the word freedom to the image of freedom, we can understand the limitless joy one can have when we gain freedom from symbols and images also.

When meditation happens, the mind will be capable of perceiving nothingness which is beyond the capability of sense organs. Perceiving nothingness may be some thing like the state of perception where neither the symbols nor the images are involved. Probably one may not be able to explain such a perception directly as it does not contained within any symbols or images. Yet, there is a need to communicate it to others so that the mind of others also can be invoked for such a capability. When the perception excludes the images which are always far away from real and the symbols representing the images, such a perception must be a pure perception – the perception of nothingness.

Rituals must be devised for stimulating the mind to have such a perception. Rituals may be the external symbols which represent more subtle things happen within our life or within existence. By perceiving the symbol in action by the senses, the mind must be stimulated to perceive the unperceivable by sense organs. Unless one gets such a mental stimulation by performing a ritual, the ritual does not have any meaning. One must perform the ritual only with the understanding that the rituals are to be transcended. Once capable of reaching meditativeness, the rituals must be abandoned. If not it becomes a trap. Being in this trap neither we get the mental stimulation expected out of performing rituals.

Every mind cannot be stimulated by rituals. The minds with certain composition can only be stimulated by rituals. For such minds which cannot be stimulated by rituals, there is no meaning for rituals. Such minds must avoid performing any rituals if have the desire to perceive nothingness or meditation to happen within that mind.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meditation & Body

Meditation is a process. Possibly, it may be a process of rearranging the content of our own brain so that the brain functions altogether in a different manner and the new way of functioning of brain itself may be meditation.

Due to the factors like fear, anger, stress, etc our body has lost its natural way of being, as we grow from child to adult. The body lose its flexibility and become stiff. Depend on the environment we live, we reach the peak of body stiffness some where between teen age and middle age. The worst part is that we also lost our sensitivity to feel this stiffness. Hence it appears that the way we are now is the natural way of being. Those who are practicing some relaxation techniques may be able to understand this fact. If we can observe any part of our body, we can feel that part of body is getting relaxed and along with that relaxation, the mind is also relaxing. But if we are not used to such observations, the mind may drag away from such observation as the mind may not be capable of withstanding such sensitivity due to prolonged ignorance of our own body and mind by us.

Any activity of mind is a material process within our body - meaning the activity of brain, a matter, is expressed as mind. On the other hand mind is an integral part of our body. When the mind relaxes the body also get relaxed. Similarly, if the body is relaxed we can very well feel the relaxation of mind also. Probably the ‘Kriya Yogis’ uses this relation to prepare the mind by means of preparing body through ‘Kriyas’ or breathing techniques/Aasanas so that the right condition for meditation to happen is set with in the ‘Kriya Yogi’.

When meditation happens, the body also adapts its natural state as the mind frees itself from fear, anger, stress, belief etc and hence the stiffness of body due to these factors are also freed up. That is the body may gains freedom from the unnecessary burden of brain. In other words, when meditation happens, the mind may be approaching its highest capability and so is the body. Any ailment of body due to the unnatural stiffness of body also may be cured and hence a healthy body is also an effect of meditation.

If the body is not in right condition, again the possibility of meditation to happen may be very remote. In such cases, any attempt to get into meditative state by mental stimulation may spoil the healthiness of mind and in turn impact the body also. This could be the reason for many of the spiritual techniques at higher level are closely guarded secrets – To avoid damaging mind and body of the unprepared. But if one avoids such violent stimulation of mind with awareness, as one progress in reaching meditativeness, the body also prepares itself to complement the process of meditation.

When the body is not in peace, mind cannot be in peace and hence meditation cannot happen. The reverse must also be true – When the mind is not in peace, body cannot be in peace and hence meditation cannot happen. This implies that any method which tortures the mind and body may drag us away from meditation and illusion may be dominant in such cases. But we must note that certain method may be bliss to one person, but can be a torture to another person. Hence no method is a generic method for inviting meditation. It entirely depends on the composition of individual who is waiting for meditation to happen.

For meditation to happen, the body and mind may have to move towards meditation with synch. A mind moving faster than body may create mental imbalance or get into some illusion to escape from this mental imbalance. Similarly the body moving faster than mind may lead to physical disorders. Here is the actual purpose of a spiritual guru, if at all we seek one. The Spiritual guru is to see that our mind and body moves with synch towards meditation and correct the imbalance if occurs.

With all this dangers why should we seek meditation? The answer depends on how we like to live our life. For worldly life, we have to walk on the streets many times a day where unlimited dangers are possible. But to live a worldly life we have to face all these dangers as and when occur. Same is the case for inner journey! There are enough dangers in the inner path. Our alertness can guard against all these dangers and can lead us to the destination. But, we have to be alert to take such journey.

Let us leave alone the freedom of body required for meditation to happen. But we are spoiling our body and mind by the name of lifestyle. It does not mean simply ignore all worldly changes and live the life inside a cave or hut. But understand our need and adapt a lifestyle suited for the need. If we can live such a life, no other effort may be required for meditation to happen. In such cases, the mind and body may be ready for welcoming meditation. But the trouble is that we are not prepared for a real necessity based life. Our necessities are driven by our ego!