The practice of meditation can mean a number of different things to different people, and it can also be thought of as being a variety of different practices. The true understanding of meditation and its recommended practices for this time and age are clearly delineated in the authoritative Vedic Yoga scriptures (sastras) .
In the age of technology , social media and the continual struggle for existence , never before have we needed to take more care of our minds and mental well being. But our minds seem to be store houses of negativity, continually running us around in circles, with seemingly no respite. Due to all the negativity of the mind , our initial idea is to escape from it; to want to empty it and be totally free from it.
Ours minds are totally undermining our experience of life, due to its restless , turbulent , obstinate and strong nature. Our mind is such a tight wrapping around us ( the self- jiva atma) , even as we try to sleep it hassles’ us endlessly through subtle and fickle activities.
The question should then be posed – can the mind actually be emptied and stilled. The analogy given in this lecture is that the mind is like a bucket of water, and we are trying to empty it out, while we are totally submerged in water. From this analogy given we can understand that it is impossible , and great Sages instruct us we shouldn’t even attempt it.
We have all seen a child in a supermarket with its eyes fixed on an object not on its parents shopping list, like chocolate or a toy, then going into a frenzy and throwing a wobbly, when the desire isn’t met. As a mere onlooker it looks a bit unnecessary, but our mind behaves like this repeatedly and continues to have a large influence on us in many ways ; ways that we would be embarrassed to share publicly.
Mindfulness means to observe all the content and rubbish in our mind, take a step back and to watch it from a distance. Most of us identify the content in our mind as being the self , and every time the mind comes up with a plan, idea or negative thought towards someone else we immediately succumb and follow it. This ensures that we suffer and continually feel frustrated and unfulfilled.
Mindfulness is extremely beneficial for us to understand we are not the mind, and to be able to step back from it when our emotions are overwhelming us, but its the not the entire solution. It’s the first step on the journey, and we don’t need to stay there.
The solution to all the problems and anxieties stemming from the mind, is to clean it . Like a dog that has been rolling around in the dirt for hours, it takes time to eradicate all the filth that has accumulated. Instead of filling up the mind with more rubbish, we fill it up with something transcendentally positive.
Most people begin meditation to give the mind a distraction ; but meditation upon transcendental sound is far more potent , as it cleanses away all the accumulated contamination from being in contact with the material world. Focussing the mind one pointedly on these sacred mantras, has been recommended by bona-fide spiritual teachers, for the current age we live in. These mantras descend from the non-material realm, as The Absolute Reality descends in the form of Spiritual sound.
The Bhagavad Gita states ; 6.19. “As a lamp in a windless place does not waver, so the transcendentalist, whose mind is controlled, remains always steady in his meditation on the transcendent Self.”