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Tag: meditation

Meditative living

Benefits of meditation for 15-20 minutes a day:

  1. More energy during the day
  2. Better mental health
  3. Better physical health
  4. Improved creativity
  5. Anger control
  6. and many others

Imagine life without any meditation – would we get these benefits?

Seen differently, once the meditation is over, we are back again into the same big bad world, and chasing after the same big bad things. Meditation calms us down, and then the world rakes us up all over again. That is the power of maya. It is a cycle. Meditation also doesn’t help beyond a point does it?

Only way is to break the cycle. To mentally give up attachments and desires, irrespective of how one lives physically. That is meditating 100% of the time, i.e. meditative living.

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Blindspots

Just because something is invisible to the eye, or appears beyond our comprehension and perception, does not make it non-existent or fraudulent. Take the example of gravity. Despite all the advancements in science and technology, we still do not understand the process behind why people drinking tea simultaneously at the North and South poles have no problem keeping the liquids in their cups. Take also the human body – with a plethora activities going on inside at any moment – digestion, cognition, respiration etc. all of which we tend to be blissfully unaware of.

The same is said to be true of Consciousness. It is very much there – the fabric underlying all Creation. There for everyone to experience, if scrutinized closely, yet immediately unavailable to any. This is not a paradox, as author Sam Harris of the outstanding book Waking Up (which delves deep into the topic of human consciousness) puts it. He goes on to describe an optic blindspot that each one of us has, and something I never knew of. Apparently the optic nerve passes through the retina of each eye, creating a small region in each visual field where we are effectively blind. He further adds that most people in human history have been totally unaware of the optic blind spot. Even those of us who know about it go for decades without noticing it. And yet, it is always there, right on the surface of experience. Here’s a simple experiment you can try yourself!

So, can we experience this Atman / Brahman / Consciousness within us? Yes, with some training / effort / meditation. As Harris puts it, “The self that I am discussing throughout this book—the illusory, albeit reliable, source of so much suffering and confusion—is the feeling that there is an inner subject, behind our eyes, thinking our thoughts and experiencing our experience. We must distinguish between the self and the myriad mental states—self-recognition, volition, memory, bodily awareness—with which it can be associated.

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Meditation and thoughts – 3

We looked at meditation and thoughts over the last couple of days. Much is written and said about supernatural experiences, lights, out of body experiences and other fantastical stuff. Here’s a gist of how my Guru looks at this subject.

His questions are: Can you be calm when your peer makes 5x your salary and drives a Ferrari? Can you stay placid when your boss throws a fit, and expects you to clean up? Can you be equanimous in the face of nonsense peddled by many many unavoidable people around you? What is the use of meditation and magical experiences, if these leave you completely untransformed? Still the same jealousy, anger, pride, hatred et al.

Hence, my Guru’s focus has always been not on meditation, but on living a meditative life. It is not about sitting and closing one’s eyes for 60 minutes, especially not if the remaining 23 hours are spent on ungodly pursuits. His goal is to infuse godliness into every waking moment. Transform from a material person living a spiritual life, to a spiritual person also happening to live a material life. And hence a spiritual person asking for a promotion and a raise is alright because his nobility will ensure he uses his wealth primarily to give back to society.

How can one spiritualize themselves? By doing the true tapas. By holding God steady in their minds. For the atheistic and agnostic, by not holding themselves only in their minds, but holding the service of others steady in their minds. Unflinchingly. The beauty is that this can be equally hard or easy for both a commoner and a king.

Swami Chinmayananda was once asked how many hours in a day one should practise meditation. His answer? 24 hours.

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When time saved != time earned

We procrastinate on several things. Especially good things.

We don’t find 5 minutes to plan our days. But astute planning can reduce much daily stress.
We don’t find 10 minutes for meditation. But meditating regularly can add great clarity to our thoughts.
We don’t find 20 minutes for exercise / yoga. But exercising regularly can add many years to our lives.
We don’t find 30 minutes for cooking. But making our own meals can keep all ailments away.
We don’t find 60 minutes to complete our sleep quota. But sleeping well adds many hours to our productivity.
We don’t find any time to spend with our loved ones. But our family is what will be there when no one else will.

Each of these activities takes time. But the benefits far outweigh the time spent on the activities themselves.

Let us invest our time wisely.

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