The Role Of Meditation In Spiritual Enlightenment

Meditation is an important spiritual practice and a technique for inner growth

Meditation is needed so that we can evolve on our spiritual journey to Enlightenment. Meditation helps us transcend the cravings of the body, the mind and ego. It not only helps us to be calm and peaceful but it also leads us to the state of Consciousness, the state of thoughtlessness, the state where there is no mind, the state where the intellect is activated. It is in this state that we can be enlightened. Meditation helps us to connect to our true self, which inevitably connects us to the universal consciousness, the Supreme Immortal Power we call God. It leads us to true bliss, peace and joy, the state of Satchitananda — living in consciousness of the truth which is bliss.

To meditate effectively, we must first understand what meditation is. Meditation is about making the mind still, making it silent. Our focus should be on disciplining the mind. Let us also not be misguided by what we hear or see. People think that in order to meditate, we must sit cross-legged on the floor, motionless, with the spine absolutely straight. Meditation is not about how we sit, where we sit, or about posture. We can comfortably sit on a chair and meditate. Meditation is about silencing the mind, eliminating the clutter, eliminating all noise so that we can hear the Divine voice. The mind is like a monkey that jumps from thought to thought. The mind jumps into regrets of yesterday, then to the worries of tomorrow. It makes us miserable by creating thoughts of fear and anxiety. The mind can produce a thought practically every second. This can become an overwhelming 50,000 thoughts per day. This is what creates anxiety and stress. We have to bring down the MTR, the Mental Thought Rate from 50 thoughts a minute to one thought a minute. How do we do this? By observing the mind. We have to watch the mind, catch it and latch it. Just like we watch a fish swim in the ocean, we have to watch the mind so that we become the observer, the witness. As we become conscious of our mind and we watch it jumping here and there, the monkey mind stops it monkey business. It begins to settle down, it quietens. By cutting the tail of the MONKEY, the EY which is ever yelling and ever yearning, we can tame the monkey and make it a monk. Once the mind is disciplined, the intellect takes over. The intellect helps us to discriminate between right and wrong, the truth and the myth. It is in this state of thoughtlessness or Consciousness that we can be enlightened with the truth. We realize who we are — not the body, mind and ego. We are the Divine Soul. We realize that God is not a person or a saint but a power, the Supreme Immortal Power and we are a part of that power, just like a wave is a part of the ocean. We realize that everybody is a Soul. In fact, God is everywhere, in everything. Everything is a manifestation of the Divine.

Thus, meditation is key to spiritual Enlightenment. If we seek Enlightenment, we must start meditating everyday. We can start by meditating for 10 minutes each day and we can gradually increase it over a period of time. There will come a time when we will be meditative all day, we will be in the state of Consciousness all day, in a state of true peace and happiness. It is in this state that we connect to our true self, to the Divine consciousness. Of course, there are different techniques people advocate for meditation. We can follow any technique but the ultimate goal of meditation is stilling the mind.

In addition to meditation, other practices for spiritual growth and evolution include living with discipline, detachment or dispassion, discrimination by activating the intellect and of course, the desire for the Divine — we must seek Enlightenment. Yoga as a practice is integral to spiritual Enlightenment. However, Yoga is not about doing physical exercises or asanas or practising breathing techniques or Pranayama. Yoga means to be in union with God and one can be in union with God through any of these states of Yoga — Dhyana Yoga (silence or meditation), Bhakti Yoga (devotion), Karma Yoga (action), Gyana Yoga ( education) or Prema Yoga or the Yoga of Divine Love. We must remember that to be enlightened, we must go beyond religion and turn to spirituality. While religion may begin our journey to Enlightenment, to God-realization by creating the foundation of faith, making us believe in God, it is spirituality that will help us finish this journey.

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