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.

4 comments:

100890916650861553499 said...

Rituals also serve another purpose - to bring benefits of a spiritual process to a large group of people without initiating them into any practice.

The risk is that the ritual can be misused - so the people performing them must have a high level of integrity.

Change said...

100890916650861553499,

Thanks for the comments.

//Rituals also serve another purpose - to bring benefits of a spiritual process to a large group of people without initiating them into any practice//

This may be true! But, for me, I am not able to understand or perceive it. Hence for me, it is a possibility told by somebody else which I cannot perceive or explain with my current level of perception or understanding. My way of approaching spirituality is never take any thing as myth or belief if not able to understand, even it is told by my God if I have one or by my Guru if I have or any other respectable person. Because, if it enters into me as a belief, it immediately breeds fear and all associated activities of mind. But it can be taken as a possibility and hence for further enquiry to understand or perceive, if it does come from one who really understand these terms.

Thanks!

100890916650861553499 said...

"Change",

Neither am I able to! :)
But if we go by your assumption the path will be very long. Additionally, it needs a very very sharp intelligence. It is good if you have it - but not many are blessed with that!

Also, not necessarily anything you don't understand needs to go as a belief. What about trust? Trust is an important aspect of the Spiritual path. However, today it is a sorry state - it is difficult to decipher who is trustworthy and who is not.

Change said...

100890916650861553499,

Thanks again for the comments. I have some thing to write here based on your comment. Please note that the purpose of writing this is not for counter argument. It is learning for me if I miss some threads, even in case it appears as argument, and may be learning for you too!

//But if we go by your assumption the path will be very long.//

According to me, if we go by assumption, it is a never ending path. Spirituality is nothing but perception of truth and possibly expression of truth. Where there is assumption, there is no truth. By truth, I am not talking about some thing very big or unreachable. But what we perceive is our truth, at our level. If we can pursue this truth at our level, possibly the higher dimensions of truth may unveil to us. But at this level if we veil our truth with assumptions and beliefs, we are blocking our spiritual energy.

For me, trust also appears same meaning as that of belief – probably little more subtle than belief. As spiritual seeker, it does not have any meaning for me. “Aloneness” is the quality of meditation. There is no trust within “Aloneness”, I think.

The above statement does not mean, do not follow any body for spiritual advancement. But follow, if required, anybody with maximum (possible) awareness. Learn from them and apply that learning with awareness. Again spirituality is a state of mind (as far as my understanding) where the mind can get into traps very easily. If we happen to follow a Guru, (not an exclusive guru, which may be very rare), the Guru has to address many, each are with different quality. Hence if we take all the words of such Guru, most of them may be unusable for us as an individual. This is where we may need awareness! In this case, neither we have attachment with Guru himself.

Hope I am not diverting away from the context of your comment!

Thanks!