Each morning my alarm clock wakes me up at 6 am. I make my lunch (cheese sandwiches what else would you expect from a Dutchman), I shower, I dress and I meditate.
That in itself is strange because I thought for 53 years people who meditate walk with their heads in a cloud and it would not work for a down to earth man like me. And after my friend said: give it a try with an open mind, I did try and changed my mind. Alone in a spot in my living room I am with myself and I would miss it if I stopped. I try to meditate every day, but not always succeed in doing so. But 5,6 times a week on average, I meditate.
A lot of people think strange things about meditation, and I understand them well. In this post I quote a website that says what meditation is not. In another post I will tell what it means to me.
1. Meditation is NOT Concentration
A big Misconception: Meditation is just one form of concentration. When you concentrate, you constantly project your attention towards a particular task or activity whereas in Meditation you do not project your attention towards a particular task or activities. You just remain aware of the moment without choosing anything to concentrate upon. Concentration is important for learning meditation. It will greatly help you (particularly in the initial phase) in learning mediation. However, it is not Meditation.
2. Meditation is NOT Relaxation.
3. Meditation is NOT a serious religious practice
Meditation is not a specific ritual demanding sitting in a particular posture, chanting some specific Mantras (powerful words having phonetic significance) or burning incense. Neither it means doing a particular exercise in a particular pose. Meditation is a quality of our existence. When you are aware of your true ‘self’ and perform anything (yes I mean anything ) with awareness, it becomes meditation.
It is true that it takes some time to learn Meditation and it requires some genuine effort on the part of seeker to learn meditation, but it does not mean that Meditation is connected with any specific religion or ritual. Anybody, irrespective of his background, religion, caste, creed or nationality can do it. Meditation is not even a serious thing. One you understand it, it will be a pure fun to meditate.
4. Meditation is NOT a state of mind.
Rather – It is a state of no mind. Many gadgets are available in the market that promise to take us into a meditative state (often known as the alpha state of mind). Scientists have observed that there are basically 4 states of mind depending upon the frequency of mind waves. These states are alpha, beta, gamma and theta. Beta is the state in which we live and perform all our day-to-day activities. Alpha is the state just below Beta. This (alpha) state is often known as the state of Meditation. Gamma and Theta are the other states of mind in further depth.
Now what all these scientific Gadgets can do is to take us into the state of alpha. In the alpha state one become still, tranquil and calm. There is no tension, no stress. Your whole inner being becomes peaceful.
But please note that alpha state itself is not meditation. Alpha is the state of mind in meditation. Meditation is the awareness of our true self in alpha.
You will be in meditation if you remain awaken and aware of the present moment in the alpha state of mind i.e. in the state of absolute calm. No Gadget or mechanical device can create ‘awareness’. They can only create right condition for us to realize what is ‘true awareness’.
5. Meditation is NOT self-hypnosis
In both Self-hypnosis and (in many techniques of) meditation at least an initial period of concentration on an object is required. However in meditation, the meditator maintains an awareness of here-and-now and stay conscious of the meditative process which is not exactly the case in hypnosis. In hypnosis the person enters into a state of semi-conscious trance and become unaware of the moment which is not the case in meditation.
6. Meditation is NOT thinking
Rather it is the process of transcending the thought process. Our mind is a non-stop chatterbox that continues to create all sorts of good/ bad, relevant /irrelevant thoughts incessantly. In meditation we realize that we are not just our body and mind. There exists in us an awareness independent of all kinds of thoughts. Knowing this awareness is what meditation is all about.
I quoted this site because if I told it in my own words I would have needed seven times the words, and there are so many misconceptions about mediation, it is difficult to explain what is it not. Next post about mediation I’m explaining what it means to me.