5 Ways to Experience Meditation

Getting back to that serenity which is our original nature is meditation. Absolute joy and happiness is meditation. A pleasure minus excitement is meditation. A thrill without anxiety is meditation. A love without hatred or any of the opposite values is meditation! Meditation is food for the soul, and every soul yearns for meditation.

There are five ways through which one can experience meditation.

#1 Through physical manipulation

By stretching and contracting the body, the mind experiences a state of awareness that you can call meditation. Exercise can bring a certain amount of calmness in the mind. Not totally, but a certain degree of meditativeness can come through exercise and physical manipulation. Yoga and Tai-Chi are examples of ways to experience a meditative state of mind through physical manipulation.

#2 Through breathing exercises and pranayama

Through the breath, the mind becomes quiet and can easily slip into meditation. This we all know through our experience of Sudarshan Kriya. After pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya, when you sit for meditation, you slip into meditation effortlessly. So a breathing technique is another way to get into meditation.

#3 Through any of the five senses

Through any of the five senses and sensory objects, one can experience a state of no-mindedness – no thoughts, calmness, serenity, and inner beauty.

If you observe a child eating a lollypop, you can see how the child is totally engrossed in enjoying that piece of candy. At that time, if you ask the child what their name is, they won’t answer! They are fully into enjoying the lollypop. Being 100% engrossed in a particular sensory object brings you to a state of meditation.

You turn on some music and you get totally engrossed into the music, then a moment comes when you move even beyond the music. You no longer hear music, but you know you are and yet you have no boundaries. In the language of Yoga, this is called Laya Yoga, which means dissolving in it. This leads you to meditation.

Any wonderment or astonishment also leads you to a state of meditation. Whenever a “wow” arises in you, there is no mind, there are no thoughts – but you just are.

The senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound can all lead you into meditation, provided you do it in the right way. It needs a certain skill to experience that.

#4 Through emotions

Emotions can also lead you to a state of meditation – both positive and negative emotions. A state of shock can also take you into meditation. Again, it is a little risky.
You know, when you feel utterly hopeless, you say, “I give up!”It means – this is it, I can’t take it anymore. During those moments, if you don’t slip into frustration, depression, or violence, you will find that there is a moment where it snaps and there is no-mindedness. So, whether it is positive emotions or negative emotions, like fear, the mind stands still, it stops. It can lead you into that spot.

#5 Through intellectual stimulation

Intellectual stimulation, knowledge, or awareness can lead you to meditation too. This is called Jnana Yoga. If you visit a space museum, you will be in a different state of consciousness when you come out of the museum. You will experience a shift inside you because you have seen yourself in the context of the universe. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? What are you in reference to the unfathomable, infinite universe?

If you have studied Quantum Physics, you start to see that everything is just atoms, or just energy. If you delve into Quantum Physics and then you study Vedanta or the Art of Meditation or Yoga, you will find striking similarities. You will find that the same language is being spoken.

Adi Shankaracharya said, “All that you see doesn’t exist”. One of the top scientists of our times, Dr. Hans-Peter Durr said, “I studied matter for the last 35 years, only to find that it doesn’t exist! I have been studying something that doesn’t exist.”
So, through knowledge also you can experience a state of meditation.

On a free day, just lie down somewhere outdoor and keep looking at the sky. A moment will come when the mind becomes still, there are no thoughts and you don’t know where you are, but you know you are. An experience of the centre everywhere and circumference nowhere.

Limitless awareness can happen through just watching an empty space, because our mind is also space, and consciousness is also space.

Yoga - The best app for life!

Yoga is the way to realize the ultimate truth referred to in Vedanta and universal energy field in Quantum physics. The sublime and imperceptible truth of Vedanta is made more concrete through Yoga. It is the launching pad for one’s journey into inner space.

Yoga is the key that opens the floodgates of happiness ‑‑ for an individual as well as the community. It annihilates the personal and collective misery that comes through individualistic and egoistic tendencies.

Yoga not only brings mundane benefits such as health and vibrancy, but also uplifts the spirit and enhances intuitive ability which is much needed for governance. It brings skill in action, helping one manage challenging situations without getting stressed.

Every child is a born yogi. Till the age of three children all over the world naturally perform many yoga postures and mudras. The baby’s state of mind and breathing patterns are very similar to that of a yogi. Yoga brings up that child-like beauty and innocence in us.

It is a very well known fact that yoga has helped countless people recover from many illnesses. It can instantly bring about complete balance in one’s personality; it corrects extreme complexes and tendencies. In fact, yoga holds out the promise of many solutions that today’s behavior sciences are looking for.

When people have a glimpse of the meditative experience their life gets totally transformed. We have seen this in prisons also- when the inmates start with basic pranayama, they move into meditation easily and their character starts reflecting the yamas and niyamas (the social and personal codes of conduct as enunciated by Maharishi Patanjali). From militants and prisoners to monks and poets, yoga can radically transform the lives of people in ways inconceivable. It softens the heart, sharpens the intellect and clears confusion.

In this century, when depression is one of the biggest challenges the world faces, yoga is undoubtedly the best app that everyone must download in their life.

Like science, sports and culture, the philosophy & discipline of yoga also need state patronage to flourish. After so many years of being denied its true place in the guise of secularism, it is highly refreshing to see yoga receiving a big push from our Hon. Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi.

When people at the helm of affairs practise yoga, it brings greater harmony and less of one-upmanship and rhetoric. If heads of all nations start adhering to the wisdom of yoga, true world peace would soon be attainable.

The significance of Ramayana

The Ramayana is not just a story which happened long ago; it has a philosophical, spiritual significance and a deep truth in it. 
The words ‘rays’ and ‘radiance’ come from the Sanskrit root word ‘ra’. ‘Ra’ means light, ‘Ma’ means within me, in my heart. So, Rama means the light within me. That which is radiant in every particle of the being is Rama.
Rama was born to Dasharath and Kousalya. Dasharath means ‘Ten Chariots’. The ten chariots symbolize the five sense organs and five organs of action. Kousalya means ‘skill’. The skillful rider of the ten chariots can give birth to Rama. When the ten are used skillfully, radiance is born within.
Rama was born in Ayodhya. Ayodhya means ‘a place where no war can happen’. When there is no conflict in our mind, then the radiance can dawn.
The Ramayana is not just a story which happened long ago; it has a philosophical, spiritual significance and a deep truth in it. It is said that the Ramayana is happening in your own body. 
Your soul is Rama, your mind is Sita, your breath or life-force(prana) is Hanuman, your awareness is Laxmana and your ego is Ravana.  When the mind was stolen by Ravana (the ego) then the soul got restless. Now the soul cannot reach the mind on its own, it has to take the help of the breath – the prana. With the help of the prana, the mind got reunited with the soul, and the ego vanished. 

Does Karma exist?

Yes, Karma definitely exists. There are two types of Karma.
The first type of Karma is that which gives results immediately. For example, if you were to place your hand in fire, will it burn now or will it burn tomorrow? It will burn as soon as you place your hand in it! But if you were to plant a mango tree today, will you get the fruit today itself? No, you will get it after many years.
So similarly some Karmas give you the fruit immediately, while some Karmas after maybe a year or maybe a few years. If your grandfather set up a factory by working hard long ago, and you are enjoying the fruits of his hard work now, it has taken one generation for the profit to start coming.
Similarly some karma you will face the consequences of immediately and some you will face after some time has passed.

Memory makes you miserable!

Memory makes you miserable or wise. Memories of events and experiences of the changing finite world bind you but memory of your nature liberates you. Memories of the ever-changing relative – however good or bad – bring bondage. Memory of the non-changing self elevates awareness.
Memories of past events and worldly concerns constrict the vastness of the Self. It is all a matter of where you are, of what you are. If you are ignorant, it is because of your memory.
If you are enlightened, it is because of your memory. Forgetfulness of the infinite is misery. Forgetfulness of the trivial is ecstasy.
Question: “How do we let go of unpleasant memories and limitations?” Know the impermanent nature of the world and events. Know that past events do not exist in the present. Accept the past as it was. Be dispassionate and centered. Do service to the noble. Increase prana – the vital breath, the force of life. Be in the presence of Divine company. Go to the moon.

True love will not bring sadness, sorrow, misery or problems

Drop these impressions of the past experiences with different people. They may have been wonderful. They may have seemed to be your soulmate for so many lifetimes! You may never have felt like that with anybody else before. When you talk of soulmates, you talk in terms of lifetimes; not just today! The mind goes on empty talk. It’s the vasana (your impressions) that propel you. There is no weight behind them. Even when you tell somebody you love them, make sure that you are not saying it out of your vasana, your own impressions, your own cravings for some joy. You say that you love somebody. But do you really love the person? Is it coming from your space of love, or out of your craving? You will wonder. You will see that it’s all because of the vāsanā , the impressions in you.
But with vāsanā(impressions) a tail is always attached i.e. pain, problems, misery, and discomfort. When you drop the vāsanā from your mind, you become free right away.
You do not have to wait many lifetimes, but right now, at this very moment you can drop them and become free. When you feel you are stuck with relationship problems, observe nature. Wonder about the stones and the trees. When you drive, see how vast this land is.  So many people have come and gone. The same consciousness has taken form in so many bodies, and they have all died. This world is a burial ground. Everybody has died here. They have come and gone. And you are going to go. You are going to go alone. At that moment, your mind will relax and open up. All the misery will drop. Just observe Nature. Nothing is permanent here.
Somebody is very beautiful (some boy or girl) and they have been very good and loving to you. So what! They will not be here in another fifty or two hundred years. Where will they be? They are going to be ashes in fifty years or hundred years! Get free from the vasana . The Being is immortal; the consciousness is immortal; the Guru is immortal; the rishi, the maharishi is immortal. And, you are also immortal and eternal. Expand your world, and your shrunken vasana will drop away. The world is so big. Have more experiences. Be open to new experiences.

Victory to the Big Mind

The fight is always between the small little mind and the big universal mind. That’s why we say, ‘Jai Gurudev’ ie., victory to the big mind. It happens so many times that the small mind wins. Whenever the small mind wins, the result is misery.
Inside you have both the big and small mind. It is like a mother going with a child to a store. The child goes on wanting this and that. Sometimes the mother agrees and allows the child to have one or two more chocolates. After eating more chocolates, the child gets toothache, a cough or a cold. Why did the mother allow the child to eat more in the first place and get sick? But a child was so adamant sometimes that the mother had to agree. And when the child is sick the mother also cares for it. It is part of the game.
In the same way, the big mind allows the small mind to play for a little while, and win for a change. But when it wins, it is miserable and comes back to the big mind. That is why we say, ‘Jai Gurudev ’. It means victory to the Guru, to the big mind; victory to the infinity. This is because when the big mind wins over the small mind, even the failure of the smaller mind is a joy. It has always happened that way. Turn back and see – some of your failures have been very good. They made you progress somewhere and made you stronger.

How does one handle office politics?

Remember these two points:

1. Wherever there are people, politics is bound to be there. Don't shy away from it and don't worry about it. You be rock solid. What appears to be politics will find its own way out. Have faith that only the best will happen to you and you will be able to do only the best. Keep these aphorisms with you like a treasure.

2. When you resist politics, then you get deeper into politics. Your perception becomes political and you will get paranoid about it. All those who are paranoid about politics get deeper into it. You should not mind it and then it will never bother you.

Different people have different mindsets, and they air their opinions. For a while, these opinions remain and then it all changes. Some people praise you and the same people will make nasty remarks about you – all this is very common. You should take this for granted or you will become uptight. And when you are uptight, you are not aware of how you behave.

It is better to keep oneself on a higher pedestal – smiling, laughing, accommodating, and accepting that there is politics. Let politics be there, so what? You have to create this confidence that you will move through it.

Our trouble is that we expect everyone to be Mr. or Ms. Perfect! We expect everyone’s behaviour and dealings to be perfect. We expect everyone to be saints, but they are not. This expectation is the trouble. And when anybody does anything different, we say, "Oh, there is politics!" People’s actions are nothing but politics – it doesn’t have to be dirty all the time, though sometimes it is. So let it be! It takes quite a bit to rise above all this and keep your mind on the infinite, and that is enlightenment! You rise above it all.

Water is never scared of mud. So, if something is muddy, assume you are water – and you can wash it all off! Just remember this, politics is mud and I am water, I will run over it.

There is a beautiful poem in Kannada, “If someone builds a home in the forest and is afraid of animals, what can I tell them? If someone has built a home on the sea shore and is scared of the waves, what can I tell them? And if someone has built a home in the middle of a market place and is complaining about the noise, what can I tell them?”

Similarly, when you live on this planet, people will give you compliments and people will give you derogatory remarks – they will create politics. How can you be afraid of politics when you are on this planet? Never complain about people playing politics – that is what they have been doing and will continue to do.

Lord Krishna never complained to anyone about the politics played by the families. He didn’t say, “Don’t play politics, I will not come to you.” No! He was right there! Even during the time of Jesus and Buddha, there was politics.

Prevent the effect of planets and stars on our lives

Every particle in this Creation is related to us and our life. 
It is said that the whole Creation, right from the smallest atom to the subtlest Mahat Tattva (a fundamental principle of existence said to be far subtler than the Ego) are all connected and strung together by a single thread. Scientists today say, that when a butterfly in South America flutters its wings, it affects the clouds hovering over China (implying a deep level of inter-connectedness). So, in this way, the whole world is one. 
Our ancestors and Rishis (wise sages) also used to say that when you perform a Yagna (sacred fire ritual) here, the vibrations and effects will reach everywhere. When you pray, your prayers have the power to move the whole world.
This is true. But do not misunderstand this and take a fatalist view of everything around you, thinking that everything is already pre-destined and you have no choice but to endure your fate. Do not think that you have no freedomLife is a combination of destiny and free will. There are some things we can change through our actions, and there are some things that we just cannot change and we have to accept them the way they are.
For example, after the age of 17-20 years, your height cannot increase any further. If you are five feet tall at that age, then that is what your height is going to be. But your weight can increase or decrease. So if you have gained 100 kilos in weight, you cannot say, “Oh, this is my destiny. What can I do?” Of course you can reduce your weight. But you cannot change your height. The same with life also. 
There are many things we can change, and many things that we cannot change. The planets and stars definitely do have their effects on our life, but we can stop or even prevent that. This is why the unique number of 108 has been prescribed when it comes to chanting.
There are nine planets and twelve zodiac constellations. When these nine planets move through the twelve zodiac signs, they can create 108 different kinds of effects in our lives. In order to save ourselves from any ill effects of those vibrations, we chant Om Namaha Shivaya.
When we chant Om Namaha Shivaya, a protective shield is formed around us which saves us from these effects.