What is it and why must we do it? This question would often fill me with wonderment and awe. What’s so important about it? Our scriptures speak of it. Our elders did it and kept encouraging us, but somehow we kept missing the point. Perhaps I should speak of myself. It wasn’t until I experienced it for myself that I realized the profundity of how beautiful it is to Listen to the Silence within.
Easier said than done, for sure – for, creating that silent space within is the whole point. I have often been a part of conversations where we casually remarked, “Oh, meditation is not my cup of tea. I’ve tried it two three times, but I find it hard to concentrate. My mind keeps wandering”. Precisely! The very nature of the mind, they say, is capricious. So, would a mere two to three times be enough?
We are bombarded with information to the tune of 11 million bits per second from our environment. Each of our five sense organs is funneling this information into our system from all directions, and into our brain. Huge onslaught, this, isn’t it?! Sometimes we control it, but oftentimes we let it control us. So what, right? “Once more”, we tell ourselves. And with that ‘once more’, we continue to engage them into what gives them pleasure until what we have within the space that separated the two ears, nothing but noise – an incoherent cacophonous buzz that makes no sense. Everything has a limit. Our focus begins to wander we feel restlessness. What we had once called the fun of the adrenaline rush is now a chronic fatigue, an eventual burnout and an indescribable pain.
But then it isn’t our fault, I think, because all our senses are outwardly directed. Thus, while we are able to bring the experience in, we are unable to see/ hear/ feel what chaos is getting created in our inner space. We are unable to appreciate that our insides are calling for attention, until they scream. And that is when we stop. Stop when a hole, this void, is created. And a sigh of help escapes our lips. A sigh that also sounds like a prayer. Rumi said, “A hole is where Light enters”. And then it begins.
Lord Krishna, in the sixth chapter of the Bhagwad Gita tells Arjun of the yogis who attempt to conquer their minds saying that while a trained mind is one’s greatest friend, an untrained of the unrestrained senses can be one’s biggest enemy.
Buddha, who always encouraged people to meditate, had realized this only after being agonized for years. With the senses that are outwardly directed, he looked all over for answers but found them only when he shifted his gaze within.
Within. That’s where meditation takes us. A place where OUR answers reside. And we need to practice – again, and again, and…