If you have tried to meditate and you are honest with yourself, there must have been at least one time in your life that you have thought that. I remember myself years ago, in the living room of a yoga teacher, trying to meditate, with a group. This meditation group was going every week, for some months and I have to admit that even though I felt “calmer” after each session, I was always bored to death.
In the initial sessions, I would open my eyes and check my watch. Time was not passing. I was torturing myself. I hoped that through disciplining my self and my mind that the mind would be tamed and that I could meditate. I remember the cliché example that the teacher gave, comparing the mind with a monkey in a very hot day, being bitten by mosquitoes. That didn’t help. What was also not helpful is that some of the group members were having some flashy experiences and as I would listen to them afterwards, I was getting more and more sunk into my mat.
That was it. I was never going to make it to meditation or I would need Jobian patience, to make my body comfortable, silence the mind etc. Little I knew then, that nobody in the group was truly in meditation, including the teacher. If you ‘ve ever caught yourself, instead of meditating, “meditating on your watch”, like I did, or perhaps felt like you are torturing yourself, like I did, I have good news for you. This is not meditation, nor it is a good road towards it.
I assume that you don’t live a monastic lifestyle and that you don’t have all the time in the world to sit for aeons in meditation postures. First of all, sitting for long hours, doesn’t guarantee progress towards meditation. Perhaps, this way, you can “build character”, meaning that you will strengthen your willpower, but strengthening the willpower has nothing to do with meditation. Also, controlling the mind has nothing to do with meditation either, nor will it make one meditate, because meditation is beyond the mind and untouched by it.
If you need to know the bare minimum about meditation, discarding the rest of ideas you have about it, here it is. Meditation happens and meditation happens all the time. I have to explain. Meditation happens or doesn’t happen. One cannot cause meditation to happen, because meditation happens on its own. There is a part of us that is always meditating. There is a part of us that IS meditation. Meditation happens all the time, because meditation is timeless, eternal and out of time.
Therefore, the only thing that needs to happen for meditation to take place, is getting in tune with our part that is always meditating. That’s it. No less, no more and that’s the only way. Every true path, meaning, every path that is not a dead end, leads to the subtle placement of oneself towards that. This is the only asana, the only posture, that one needs. In a humorous way, this asana, has been called brahmanasana, the asana of Brahman, the asana of God, where one places himself to God as God.
Anyway, enough with the esoteric stuff. The practical question is how can the average person get on this path? The answer is that one needs to find a proper teacher. A teacher that knows how to meditate, who knows what meditation is and who know the ways of making a student, to place themselves in the meditative position. This is rare. What is even more rare is a true teacher, a Guru, who is always experiencing meditation, who is meditation himself and who can pull others, towards this direction. This is Spiritual Transmission or Grace.
If a seeker is true and a Guru is also true, there is little room for failure. Sooner or later, one way or another, things will happen. A true Guru is very rare but true seekers are also rare. Not many are willing to truly go down the path. If one goes all the way, there is no personal, gratification or prize. There is true Peace and Happiness, even Bliss but there is no person left there to grab the prize. Hence, most people go half-way, tasting some drops of the sweet nectar, but not the ocean of it, as they try to preserve what they found. This happen in many ways, a common one being starting to teach others. If there are personal motives behind teaching there will be hindrances in the progress. Same goes for seeking. This is perhaps the most important thing that a seeker needs to have in mind. If a seeker has personal motives, from gross ones, like gaining power or gaining certain knowledge or becoming a teacher for reasons of status, to subtle ones, like helping humanity, then sooner or later bitterness and misery will knock their door.
Returning to what a sincere seeker can do, if they are lucky enough, they will find a True Guru. A True Guru, will give them proper guidance and instruction to keep them on the path. A True Guru, will also give them an Initiation. This word has many connotations, so I will be as true and realistic as I can.
Initiation is a transference of a recognition.
A transference from Guru to Seeker, from teacher to student. The Guru transfers his recognition to the student and then. It is as simple as that. The means or the setting that the teacher uses, in order for the transference of the recognition to take place, are irrelevant. Thus, any rituals, words, robes, items, places, whatever, are ONLY necessary to the point that facilitate this recognition, but the recognition itself is free from all of them.
This recognition, signifies the beginning of a different way of living and perceiving things. In Spiritual Initiation, the seeker needs to recognize Spirit. The seeker needs to recognize God. They need, initially, to start distinguishing the formless from the form. This is where meditation begins. As long as this recognition isn’t solid, forget about meditation. When this happens, meditation is not boring any more. What is boring is trying to meditate and if you feel boredom in our practice, please rest assured that you are not meditating. So, if meditation is what you seek, you have to look for another way.
When one has the recognition of Spirit, then the Guru, shall help them crystallize this recognition, so that it is continuous, regardless of what is happening in life.
One of the most elegant ways is the path of Jnana Yoga, where the seeker, alone, or with the help of the Guru, starts uprooting the false beliefs (ignorance) they have about the Truth, stabilizing themselves in the recognition of the Truth. This is the path of higher intellect, the path of Philosophy, the path of the Truth Lovers. Regardless of the path one begins with, they should also work in this way for the Realization to be complete.
Another, great path is the path of the Mother. The path of Kundalini Shakti. Please, keep in mind that this has nothing to do with the modern “kundalini yoga” movement. This is the ancient tantric path of Siddha Yoga or Kundalini Maha Yoga, which means perfect yoga, or the great kundalini yoga. For one to enter this path, one needs a Guru capable of giving what is called Shaktipat Initiation. With this Initiation the life-force of the student is awakened in a way that it never falls asleep again. The Guru can instruct the student to the practice of “natural meditation” or “surrender meditation”, where the student surrenders themselves to this spirit current and meditation just happens naturally and spontaneously. This is the path of Grace, the path of the Divine Love. As the student practices and progresses, all other yogas come into play automatically, when needed. One can start performing asanas, mudras, pranayamas, spontaneously, without even having heard of them. Also, certain phenomena can accompany this kind of practice. Believe me, if one gets initiated in this path, meditation is never boring.
I have personally played the role of the seeker, been Initiated in both paths and also played the role of the Guru, initiating people to both paths. Each one, initially, bears different fruits and, ultimately, leads to the same Realization. In the end, there is only one Path, the pathless Path.