Thank you for your question!
I will explain from the “dictionary” of my experience. Meditation is to heal the self by complete awareness of the being. This meditation is not just to sit down, but it can be done, “while walking and moving around.”
When we are learning the “feel” of mediation, we can perceive thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations coming in the way. Through concentration, we can be “single pointedly” in our purpose, which is to “feel” the self. Then, the rest becomes background noise as long as you can hold that concentration or when that concentration becomes “contemplation,” that is the awareness and experience of the blissful self. Those “stages,” could be just summarized on consciousness of the being, the self; that is soul consciousness. That brings healing, changes and that is self-transformation in itself.
Behind the heavy curtain of thoughts
there is a window to the soul
its brightness is clear
despite the darkness of fear
Determination brings the aim
but concentration is the cutting knife
through the heavy clouds of the mind
Going beyond thoughts
is to discover another world
fulfillment is felt like never before
stability and love are behind that door
The sunshine of the soul is revealed
when solitude has the chance to arrive
as dawn gently illuminates the night
giving daylight the chance to thrive
In my sitting meditation I focused my attention/awareness in feeling the self. Immediately, the center of the forehead and the heart become present. I realized that I was able to make this awareness last longer , if my breathing was slow, rhythmical and deep, then a pleasurable, blissful energy would arise from the heart towards the forehead.
It was a nice experience but I wanted to test my ability to concentrate, to focus deeply.
I went for a walk.
It was late afternoon. A gorgeous day to walk by the bay. Many people were passing by exercising (running, walking, rollerblading, riding the bike) In a typical “normal day,” I would be distracted by my own thoughts, reviewing the day or something from the past popping up like an unwanted mosquito. Then, I would be distracted by the people along the way, generating different silly thoughts.
This time, it was different.
My attention was focused, concentrated in the self, as I started walking, I was gazing either the water of the bay or the sidewalk, little by little the focus on the self increased (just like in sitting meditation) and my concentration on the sidewalk or the water of the bay, took care of all distractions.
The feeling of bliss arose again. While walking with that feeling, there is no sense of tiredness; walking seems very easy and comfortable and through that bliss, very enjoyable. A smile arose as I was looking at the bay.
For the first time I realized that I couldn’t “donate” (good feelings and pure wishes) anything to Nature as long as I admired it, but at the same time “denying” the self to admire Nature is not right. It is this separation (self and Nature) which does not make it natural. However, when there is the experience of bliss, admiring or not admiring Nature is no longer an issue, for the awareness of the inner self has way more pull than anything else.
I was aware that there was an “inner beauty” which is self fulfilling in itself and it does not require anything from anyone. That feeling of bliss was that completeness.
As I was looking at nature, “donation” of vibrations was easy and it made the feeling of bliss to be enhanced even a notch higher..
Even though all sorts of people were walking by at that time, I was not interested in anything other than continue to feeling that inner beauty.
This “disinterest” came naturally as what I was experiencing had my full attention and just lingering thoughts will make me aware about people around me.
To be aware of this inner energy is how we become interested in the soul. That soul energy had a blissful feeling which could overtake any physical attraction. The task is just to keep concentrated in that inner feeling.
This seemed to me, the natural way to experience “unlimited disinterest.” Being aware of the “inner light” is how we perceive everything else as just entertaining “side scenes” of the Drama.
Last night, I had “food for thought” on those writings of Eckhart Tolle. It was a rainy day and I wanted to go out for my regular walk. I ended up at the gym. 🙂
I hoped on the “treadmill,” and started to do my “fast walk,” drill:
In front of me. there was a big mirror, just to see my face and the years that have gone by ;-), then; “up above” a couple of “big TVs,” showing the “latest” violence around. Then I heard the sounds of “the Commodores,”… something like: “Lady…you bring me up when I am down..uhhh Lady… you are gonna change my life around…”
It was a tough question. Do I get involved with the song? Or the TVs? Or the exercise? Or do I keep looking at myself and the ways to improve “my looks”? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Most people are saturated with external distractions for every sense organ. In that state it is difficult to know silence of the mind.
Then, I remembered ( Thank God!) that I needed to remember the drill of the dot. I started concentrating on the self, the middle of the forehead and then all of the sudden, the mirror wasn’t that important anymore. Sort of understanding that I need to change my car pretty soon to a new one, or do some serious “body work” to it… My face wasn’t that interesting anymore. 🙂
Then, the TVs, seemed like life scenes going rapidly. Things in movement take my full attention. But the realization was that I need to be still and watch that movement, so I do not get lost into the frenzy of moving with life, but being still and observing life. That sounded like Eckhart Tolle whispering in my ears and… Baba reminding me of the “detached observer,” deal-meal.
Then, as the Commodores took me into the land of neediness: “You came to me when I was lonely and no one cared… etc…” I knew it was time to ‘tune out’ as I was getting into the rhythm of the contagious sounds. Love the 70s Hits… though.
That was it. Through concentration on that “dot” we can tune out from everything.
I found that this practice is helpful for it is like being in the ‘real world.’
You see, I can be in my room meditating under perfect circumstances and once I go outside, the meditation music will not be there, nor the picture of ShivBaba or the red lights… That is what Baba calls the “facilities.”
This experience has taught me what I need to do and what concentration is all about.
Stillness of the mind is not made by perfect outside forces. It has to be made by “me,” under any circumstances.
That is the signature of a “master of the self.”
Thank you for your questions.
Meditation is simply awareness. That awareness could be brought inwardly, then we experience the self, the soul. The experience of the soul is to experience profound inner peace.
When we are aware, we are meditating, so meditation is not just a 30 minutes sitting in some quiet place with feely music in the background. Meditation is living in awareness. (while walking and moving around.)
There is a big hype about someone to teach us to meditate. A Guru from across the street. However, meditation is as natural as breathing, all we have to do is to start by sitting in some place and observe the self. Observe the thoughts, perceive how the mind runs from place to place and how the body itches to move. That is training our awareness. This is walking before running. Practice without a goal is necessary. The “effort making” phrase ” I must feel the self,” is totally out of context. You will feel it at the right time… Enjoy the experience.
You can sit and concentrate, sit and watch, sit and do nothing, whatever you do, be cognizant of that, watch, observe, be in tune with it and give your whole attention to it. This is what takes time.
Many times our sensitivity to spiritual things have been terminated thanks to our noisy society, for that it is important to purify the self. How? through a vegetarian diet, through being in tune and spending time with Nature, even through the practice of celibacy. All of that will help to gain “sensibility.” That will allow you to enjoy the experience of meditation.
Your last question, how long before you get “good” at it?
That question is out of context. This is not a race to win a prize or a context on how to get a job and beat the competition… This is spirituality, the whole goal is to enjoy yourself. Meditation is enjoyable, it is uplifting, It shows you a side unknown to you, which paradoxically, you have been looking for outside you.
When meditating with God, there is no talking nor listening. There is communion. That is what brings inner transformation, the easy way.
One of the biggest “test” at this time is our production of negative thoughts. What is known as “Waste thoughts.”
Let us be clear that many times it has nothing to do with our own state of being. We could be “enjoying the confluence age” and singing songs in happiness, when all of the sudden; our moods will start changing. A little thought filtered about something which upsets us. That little thought will become alive as soon as we “add” more stuff to it. All of the sudden, our “easy yogi” state has changed into a “grouchy smurf.” 🙂
It is the atmosphere. Many things could be happening there. If we are not aware of that, those vibrations have the power to change us, because we will be just like the environment surrounding us by osmosis.
Awareness of this environment will allow us to concentrate our minds in a single thought or in sending vibrations of pure feelings and good wishes. This is not just a matter of “practicing.” It has to come naturally, ideally from the core of your heart. Gyan allows us to see that we cannot fight with “negativity” in the environment. We must transform what it is out there and send it back transformed.
When we do this , we do not negate anything coming in our way, we do not hold that either with us. We recycle it. Everything is a cycle. We cannot hold onto any actor or anything in that cycle. If we do, we will suffer when the time to leave for that energy or person has arrived. We can only observe and as actors, “act” by transforming negativity into positivity. Darkness into light.
This is the meaning of being a worker of “light.”
Concentration in our breathing, feelings and checking on our thoughts at the same time, will give us the awareness to know when something has changed. Without this “weapon” of concentration or of “monitoring” the self, anything from the outside will affect us. We will “take” even without being conscious of it.
To transform the atmosphere is one of the tasks to protect the self and to understand that we are related with everything, not only people; but the environment as well.
Concentrate to protect. Protect to transform.
Traffic Control: little effort with great dividends.
The mind is meant to be engaged in the world. It does that through thinking or feeling. The problem is when our thinking and feeling comes from outside sources. At that point, our emotional wellbeing depends on our surroundings.
A master does not depend on that. Baba is teaching us to consciously create our own “environment” so nothing from the outside including vibrations, attractions, feelings or thoughts could take us away from the experience of the self.
Baba’s drill of the 5 stages will use the ability of the mind to jump from place to another into visualizing and experiencing our own stages through the cycle of time. This is a good method to maintain the mind engaged in something which has benefit for us: remembrance.
However, to make the mind still for however amount of time we desire is a different task. Why is this important? Because when it is time to leave the body, we will need to concentrate in just a second and stay there without any distraction or interruption. This ability to concentrate will allow us to experience the avyakt stage even for brief moments of time. As we increase this practice, our concentration will increase and we will be able to observe when a “thought” or feelings filter in our system, thoughts or feelings which we have not created.
Traffic control is the method to obtain concentration and experience of going beyond into a “bodiless” experience. To be able to stop everything at one time requires determination and awareness. It is a natural process when the mind is not full with worries and unnecessary thinking.
I use a watch which beeps every hour on the hour. This has helped me to gain greater concentration for a short period of time.
This practice is being increased with 30 minutes walks by the bay. I just “zone out.” Many individuals will be walking on the opposite way or nearby and I can observe how much concentration I have by seeing if thoughts appear or feelings of any kind start bothering me.
When I have that awareness, all I have to do is to be aware that it is happening and automatically I will go back to a concentrated stage. The challenge is to maintain that for the whole 30 minutes’ walk without being distracted.
I have discovered that bothersome thoughts could be easily dispelled as long as I am aware of the moment that they appear. If I give a thought some “life” through engagement (further thoughts and feelings) a “story” is created which will be more difficult to disengage.
The key is to be aware of the self, to watch the self, to see everything outside in reference to the self.
Attractions do not have power unless our minds are engaged into them, think about them and add feelings to it. See the process on how we make our own “hell.”
It is mental “hell” which exists only in our own minds.