Hello everybody, welcome to Atma's blog. Today we are going to talk about meditation and the mind.
As we saw in the previous post, meditation is a technique used to increase our awareness of any given object; it is a practice to understand the true nature of things. It is important to understand that meditation is not something that we can actually do, it is something that spontaneously occurs when we carry out certain actions.
The first thing to consider in meditation is the mind. The mind is the greatest barrier but at the same time it is the greatest tool for meditation. In Buddhism the mind is known as the monkey mind, because the mind when not in control behaves like a wild monkey.
Let me tell you a story:
There was a man who went to India to learn the secrets about meditation.
When he arrived to Rishikesh, he asked around to see if there was a guru who
could teach him everything there is about the practice of meditation.
When he found the guru, he asked if he could be taught the secrets of meditation.
The guru happily accepted and gave the man a secret mantra he could use while meditating to get instant enlightenment. Before the man started his meditation practice the guru said:
“Beware of the monkey mind it is your biggest enemy”
The man ignored the guru and was only focusing on the fact he had been given the most powerful mantra that exists.
When the man started his meditation practice and before he could even think about the mantra a monkey came into his mind. The monkey jumped around and was going crazy.
The man tried to suppress the monkey to forget about it, but the harder he tried the more monkeys came into his mind. Before he could even realize it, his mind was in complete chaos and full of monkeys. he had to give up his meditation practice.
The moral of the story is don’t try to control your mind, instead use the mind’s qualities to reach your destination.
The mind is like a wild horse, if you try to ride it before it’s been trained it can throw you out and leave you in a complete mess. On the contrary with proper training the horse can be ridden and can take you anywhere you want. The same idea applies to the mind and meditation.
You need to slowly train the mind before you can even get into meditation. because as i said before meditation is not something that you can practice but something that happens spontaneously when the mind obeys your commands.
Meditation can be broken down into four stages:
The first stage occurs before meditation and it is concentration. Concentration on an object is required to silence the mind. this stage is known as Dharana in Yoga and Samatha in Buddhism.
The second stage is meditation itself, which only happens spontaneously when unbroken concentration is firmly established.
The third stage is Samadhi or union which happens when meditation is prolonged for a long time and the practitioner and object of meditation become one. This is the end goal of yoga.
The fourth stage which is practiced in Buddhism is Vipassana which means to see the true nature of things. Only through Samadhi or becoming one with the object of meditation you can know the true nature of things.