To meditate is to immerse yourself in whatever you do

The true meaning of meditation is to immerse yourself totally in whatever you are doing. To just be.
Meditation therefore is immersion. Contrary to popular notion, to meditate you don’t need a room, a pre-arranged environment or music or solitude or even quiet. You can immerse yourself in whatever you are doing __ cooking, reading, singing, cleaning, playing golf, gardening, carving fruit, walking….whatever, and you will find yourself meditating. As the Buddha discovered and taught, meditation is not an activity in itself but it is concerned with our alertness while doing any action. Meditation means to add awareness and alertness in our actions. Which is why immersion is a better word to describe the meditative state. For instance, when you are immersed in reading an unputdownable book, you may miss hearing the telephone ring or someone at the door. Surely, this has happened to you more than once in your Life. It would be fair to conclude that at such times you are meditating on or are immersed in something. Now, therefore, a pre-condition for immersion is always joy.
Only when you enjoy something, do you immerse yourself in it. For instance, if you ask a teenager to clean up her room or do the dishes, she’s going to be grumpy. But let her read her favorite piece of fiction or listen to her favorite music or allow her uninterrupted access to facebook and you are unlikely to find her unhappy even momentarily. What gives you joy could be anything __ a poem, a dance, music or a painting. It could even be just watching the traffic crawl from your window or feeling the waves crash into you on the beach. Wherever there is joy, chances are you will feel timelessness, a certain oneness with whatever you are experiencing. That oneness state is meditation.
Joseph Campbell (1904~1987), American author and mythologist, famous for his ‘Follow Your Bliss’ philosophy, says he was inspired greatly by the Hindu Upanishads. His rationale is powerful in the context of our learning today. He declared: “Now, I came to this idea of bliss, because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat-Chit-Ananda. The word “Sat” means being. “Chit” means consciousness. “Ananda” means bliss or rapture. I thought, “I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.” I think it worked.”
So, immerse yourself in what you love, be in a rapturous state always, just being; your eternal meditative threshold will be eventually attained!

Advertisements

If you can’t avoid the rat race, at least enjoy the scenery!


We don’t have to wait for the big, dramatic, Life-changing moments alone to learn our lessons. Life offers a teachable point of view in each moment – all the time!

Yesterday I was in a long queue to clear security at the airport. The gentleman behind me, it appeared, was in a tearing hurry. He elbowed past me and even nudged his way ahead of the person in front of me. He did not stop at the yellow line and landed himself in front of the security officer even as the officer was frisking another passenger. The officer was, naturally, irritated and told Mr.Hurry to back off and return to the yellow line. But our man was not inclined to comply. He argued that he was tired of waiting in the queue. An altercation followed. The security supervisor arrived and demanded that the man step back. He physically escorted the man to the end of the mile-long queue! While many passengers smirked, giggled or shrugged their shoulders, the man’s sullen, grumpy look got me thinking.

Why do we hate queues? Aren’t we all in a perpetual queue__waiting to depart, ever since we arrived on the planet?

To be honest, I used to hate queues too. In the years I was a journalist, I would flaunt my “PRESS” identity card and get ahead of others in public places. I have argued with many a cop or officer, like Mr.Hurry, too. When I look back at those times, I do feel ashamed of my conduct. I have learned that getting ahead in Life does not mean elbowing people and being impatient. In fact, many a time, I have wondered what’s the big hurry, the rush? Think about it. Everybody around us is running faster and faster, edging past others, wanting to be the first one to complete the rat race. And then do what? Many people still don’t understand that at the end of the rat race we will still be rats! In wanting to get ahead, beat the queue, be the first to arrive, we are missing the scenery! Life’s beauty, its magic, is not simply in arriving at any point__it really is in enjoying the scenery too. I have, over the years, found that queues are a great place to meditate, to drop anchor, to go within and connect with the source. It’s the time to revisit and relearn patience. It’s when you can reflect on the inscrutable nature of Life!

Jetsun Milarepa, the 12th Century, Tibetan Buddhist monk has said it so beautifully – “Hasten slowly and ye shall arrive!”. It means keep walking, keep running the rat race if you must, but enjoy the scenery too. Stop and smell the roses. And don’t worry about finishing. For we all must finish our pre-ordained tenure on the planet, every which way, and finally depart. So, next time you are in queue, and are beginning to lose your cool, breathe easy. Think of Mr.Hurry. Think of Milarepa! Enjoy the scenery!