What is meditation?
Meditation comes in many forms, but no matter which approach you adopt, you will soon realise that they all are trying to explain the same thing just in different ways.
Think of a problem that you are currently dealing with in your life today. Now think of the problem as a creation that has its own life separate from you. Now assess how the problem came into existence. How did your problem come to life? How was it created? This is the first basic principle I understood about meditation: to assess all experiences in life from the perspective of a creator so you can discover that experience’s true origin.
Essentially, sitting in meditation is to study the origin of an experience of life—whether that experience is a sensation in your present, a memory from your past, or a state of mind that is directing your future. You can even study the origin of life itself and raise consciousness into realms beyond the experience of life altogether, and all this can be achieved by simply creating a moment for yourself and sitting in contemplation. Also known as meditation.
Sitting in meditation is to study experience, a creation, from the perspective of a creator. You are a creator, and if you struggle to meditate, it only means that you struggle to see yourself as one. Perhaps something else or someone else has taken charge of your life. Seeing yourself as a creator is how you are going to combat your mental ailments and effectively meditate. For instance, if a problem has been created in your life, then a solution can be created too.
When you learn how to observe everything that your mind presents as creation and learn to see everything in life as a creation, you will begin to effectively meditate and arrive at conclusions that can help you create a solution and evolve. For example, if anxiety is an experience that has been created in your life, then calmness is an experience that can be created too. If trauma has been created in your life, then healing can be created too. If addiction has been created in your life, then sovereignty can be created too.
You first need to learn how to detach from whatever experience you are consumed by so you can attain conscious control and reassert your presence. (You will learn how to do this in Section 2, Beginning to Meditate.) Solving your life’s problems and creating solutions is just the beginning of what meditation can help you achieve. Meditation can help you raise awareness beyond the experience of life itself, which can make whatever you are dealing with in life a minor inconvenience. (This will be explored in Section 3, Deepening Your Meditation.) Meditation also encourages you to pay attention to the innate intelligence within. Listening to your body and how it responds to and functions in life can really help you turn your life around. (This will be explored in the final sections of this book, Integrative Development.)
The Origins of Meditation
The origins of meditation are as complex as the practice of meditation itself. The earliest mentions of meditation are found in the ancient Indian scriptures known as the Vedas. The Vedic scriptures date back to 1500 BCE, though their true origin date is unknown as the scriptures were traditionally passed down through generations orally, in the form of chants and hymns. What is fascinating about these scriptures is that the knowledge contained within these sacred texts are discoveries derived from meditations, conducted by ancient Indian sages known as the rishis.
The ancient rishis had deduced that everything in life must have derived from one singular source, such as how all the different species of plants in a forest can sprout from the same earth, and how the moon, stars, and all the planets floating in space can exist in the same universe. No matter how far you build something up or how small you break it down, everything comes together to form one construct or starts as one construct.
Where did all this creation begin and where does it end? To understand a rishi is to understand a spiritual scientist: How does one find the source of creation without tearing the creations of the world into pieces to look for the creator inside? Furthermore, even if such an approach were to be adopted, each tangible piece of creation that could be observed through the physical senses would only lead them back to the same conundrum: What is the source of this creation?
The rishis were smart enough to realise that there was nothing that they could experience through their physical senses, which would enable them to conclusively locate that source of creation, so they had to look beyond anything in life. The next logical place to look was inside the mind.
Your dreams are not physically experienced in life. Your memories are also experiences that no longer exist in life. Your thoughts and ideas too, though they can be brought into life, still very much start in your mind and not in your physical life. The rishis figured out that creation starts from within, quite literally too, when you think of a seed sprouting life and a mother giving birth. Life experienced with the body is a distinctly separate experience from life within your mind. In fact, the rishis understood that life is much more expansive within.
Exercise: Look at your hand and notice how it exists in life. Now close your eyes and visualise your hand. Notice how what you are seeing is not your physical hand; instead, you are looking at a memory of it. While in your mind, move your hand side to side. Now open your eyes and look at your hand again and move it side to side exactly as you did in your mind. Notice how you just had three very different experiences?
1. You saw your hand in life: your physical hand that is attached to your body in the present.
2. You saw your hand in a state after life: the memory of your hand was revived from the past, an experience you had in life.
3. You saw your hand in creation, a pre-life state: you predetermined an experience and created it in life. You essentially saw your hand in the future and brought the future to your present.
Your mental health works in a very similar way but, of course, with more attachment to the experience in mind. Reimagining your hand and moving it side to side is not as traumatic as, say, someone reimagining a car crash when they almost died and believing it is going to happen again. This is why you practise detachment in meditation first: you detach, witness the process of creation, and consciously change it and the response. Remember, you are the creator of your own experience of life.
The next job for the rishis was to understand what or who is having this experience in the mind, because the body is evidently on the outside and isn’t existing within. What is this entity that is living in your body and having experiences in the present, travelling into the past to revive the experiences it once had and no longer exist in the present, and creating a future ahead of the present, bringing it to life?
This entity is what we would call consciousness, and the term carrying consciousness or raising consciousness is referring to its ability to travel or exist beyond the experience of present life. Evidently, consciousness can move through time but your body cannot; the body can only ever exist in the present moment. Therefore, the world within is already more expansive than the world that surrounds the body.
Already, just by using their minds, the rishis discovered that they could travel throughout time and beyond life. We exist as so much more than our bodies, so where else could consciousness go? How far can it travel? Also, what is the source of all these inner creations? The rishis set to work and began unlocking the secrets of the universe, and the Vedic hymns were born out of their meditations.
You can carry consciousness into realms of existence that the body simply cannot access, and this is the true power of meditation. Also, you could potentially carry consciousness down into other parts of your body. Imagine carrying consciousness into your blood cells and, perhaps, even into subatomic levels of existence to explore creation from the perspective of an atom. Imagine if you could consciously change how your cells behaved and alter your biological makeup. It may sound out of this world because technically, and theoretically, it is.
However, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility, especially when you start thinking about programming and brainwashing: how advertisements have the power to change how you think about yourself, how music can move you and your ability to love and empathise with others, and how energy and conscious signals can be exchanged. Consciousness can travel extensively, but you must open your mind and your heart in order to allow it, and meditating can help and teach you how.
Think about where you could carry consciousness if you were able to detach from all the experiences of your life and venture beyond all realms of time and space itself. Life is a mystery, but I am certain that the mystery is not going to be solved by stressing, creating conflict, and engaging in self-destructive behaviours. Just like our ancient ancestors seemed to have done, we will have a much greater chance of seeking answers from within by raising awareness above our inner dilemmas and seeking knowledge beyond life. Healing yourself is just the beginning.
From conscious awareness to conscious recovery to conscious travel, meditation can provide you with so much more than being able to clear away stress and restore your mental health. The intelligence you have access to is why meditation is so effective at reducing stress and combating mental illnesses. When you understand meditation well and what you can achieve by practising it, clearing the troubles within your mind can become quite a simple process.
You can potentially raise consciousness into such high states of awareness that your life’s troubles and its difficulties can feel like mere inconveniences that you can choose to let go of. You may not be able to change your past experiences, but you can certainly let go of them and stop them from contaminating your present. Detachment (letting go) is what you will learn to exercise in the next section, where you will learn to take basic command of your life.
Types of Meditation
You can meditate in several different ways; each way has a unique experience to offer. Perhaps you have heard of mindfulness, vipassana, or the transcendental styles of meditation popularised by western practices. Mindfulness meditation offers a state of mind and is excellent for recovery and stress reduction. Vipassana offers a state of being which enables you to accept things as they are.
Transcendental meditation offers inner peace and wellness, though traditionally speaking a meditation that has a transcendental effect technically provides a state of trance, sort of like deep states of REM sleep except you are conscious during the experience. One that I am looking forward to learning is the whirling meditation, the state of surrender and submission to a higher power—a technique derived from the Middle East and made famous by the Sufi poet, Rumi. Tantric meditation is a fan favourite which evokes the state of ecstasy and the union to a higher power through sexual exploration and sacred play.
There are as many ways to meditate as there are ways to exist and it’s not always necessary to practise with any specific goal in mind. Every single person on this planet has something unique to provide. Every being contains a nugget of truth within them that they can bring into creation and enlighten the world with. The willingness to source your truth is how you raise consciousness and effectively meditate.