One of my life’s eye-opening experiences was to see several 4 year old children meditate with eyes firmly closed on stage, during the annual function of their pre- school. Many a gyratory and gymnastic performance followed the opening meditative session, and the unfettered creative energies of the tiny ones were on display in no uncertain terms. But the fact that these tiny tots could sit for ten minutes, eyes shut, in the meditation posture, made me realize what I had missed growing up.
Meditation has often been looked upon by the modern human being as
something that should only be indulged in after retirement. Some of us have even scoffed at those who meditate for long hours. What is the right age to begin meditation? Let’s try and discover what enlightened people already know. The answer probably is that the right time to begin meditating is NOW. There is no point waiting for the day after tomorrow.
Thich Nhat Hanh says ‘Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.’ Those who think that meditation simply helps us to combat the trials and tribulations of the world, better think deeper. Yes, meditation is the most potent antidote to the caustic influences that this world of delusion has to offer, but it is verily also the route towards finding one’s true self within.
The Bible tellingly states ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Stillness of the mind, achieved by cessation of unbridled thoughts, thwarts the dissipative and restlessness-creating forces of this material world. Meditation is the only way to achieve such stillness. There is no other. A musician like A.R Rahman, when in full flow might also feel that he has achieved a state of meditation through total abandonment of thought and mindful focus only on the music. A batsman who spends long hours at the crease, with powers
of concentration as unflinching as Rahul Dravid, might also be said to have
attained the meditative state. But the rest of us must take the easier option of actually sitting down with our spines straight, closing our eyes, and trying to still our thoughts.
Some people who try meditation tend to give up because controlling the thoughts is such a futile exercise. The good news for them is that even veteran saints have been troubled by unending thoughts. Thoughts will never cease, as long as we live. But that does not mean that we cannot benefit from meditation. There are several well known techniques that help us to meditate relatively deeply. Many young people have realised the need for meditation, morning and evening, every day, and are none the worse for it. A worldwide study shows that CEOs who meditate actually perform much better as heads of their organisations than others. Working professionals who have been trying to control the frequency of their angry moments will find greater success if they develop the habit of meditation. Even government officers (whose careers are no less stressful these days) will find meditation embalming to their inner selves.
I myself discovered this golden truth about a decade ago, and wish I had done so much earlier. The calmness of the mind which comes from daily practice of meditation is matchless. Many a potential worry ceases to seem threatening, and one’s mind listens much more to the voice of reason. The body too shows signs of better health when meditation begins to have a calming effect on its cells. Kriya Yoga is the technique of meditation that I personally follow and it has changed me for the better in many ways. Life seems more fulfilling! In fact, millions of busy people all over the world have found that such paths do help them immensely.
The term ‘Yoga’ is often misunderstood to mean only the asanas or postures
which are well known. But the Hindu scriptures say that ‘Yoga’ means union with the Higher Self which primarily comes through meditation.
Guru Nanak Dev said, “He who meditates in solitude attains supreme bliss.” And Paramahansa Yogananda said, “Practice meditation. You will find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise!”
Need I say more?