(Spoken on May 26, 1973)
Last time we were discussing the nature of psychological pressure in its relevance to the practice of meditation. Many of you might have forgotten this subject after a lapse of a few days, and one of the aspirants has requested me to dilate upon it a little more, as it seems to be a little difficult to grasp.
The process of meditation has a direct connection with the content of psychological experience. All perceptions produce an impression upon the mind, something like the impression produced by objects on a photographic film. The difference, however, is that repeated perceptions create several layers of impressions upon the mind which do not get destroyed or mixed up, even if there are heaps of them. The peculiarity of the impressions of perception is that they retain their individualities in spite of thousands of impressions being grouped there in the region of our mind.
The analogy that I gave last time was the way in which water vapour can condense itself into thick clouds. Vapour is moisture, a subtle form of liquid water; it is drawn into the ether, into space, and in its earlier stages it is not physically visible. Vaporised water is so thin that it is not visible to the naked eye, but when layers and layers of these subtle particles of vaporised water rise in the atmosphere, they become slowly visible to us and are called mist, haze, and so on. This layer can thicken itself still further into a cloud, which appears to be a gross object and can be so dark that we may not even see the brightness of the sun.
Such a sort of operation takes place in our mental region as a consequence of repeated perception of objects. The perception of an object is not an idle activity of the mind. It is a very significant process that takes place within us. When we look at an object outside, it is not an activity without any meaning. It has a connection before it, and also after it. Every perception, unfortunately for us, is not merely a passive awareness of the existence of something outside us but an interaction that takes place between us and the object. This important aspect is not known to us. When we look at a person, an object, a tree or a mountain, or anything, for the matter of that, we do not merely become aware of the object. Something more than this takes place, and it is to our disadvantage.
What is this that takes place in addition to the bare perception or cognition of an object? What happens is this. A perception is a conscious operation. Our consciousness is connected with the process of perception. This consciousness, again, is something very difficult to understand, as we already know. It is inseparable from our true being. What we call consciousness is not merely an activity of our personality; it is something inseparable from our essential being. So when consciousness begins to operate in the process of perception, it is as if we, in our essential being itself, are set into motion. This is the importance and the significance of the underlying meaning of perception. Consciousness is inseparable from us. It is identical with us in its essentiality, so the operation of consciousness in perception is the operation of our being itself. We involve ourselves in the object in all processes of perception. The involvement of consciousness is another way of saying that we are involved. So we are not merely cognisant of the existence of an object outside, but are involved in the existence and the activity and the character of that object that is perceived.
It is not merely that; the character of the object enters into the structure of our mind. There and then it is that the mind gets influenced by the object. We like the object or we do not like the object. We are attracted by the object or we are repelled by the object. We pass judgment on the object, which means to say, the object has made an impression upon us in a particular manner.
This reading of meaning by our consciousness in the structure of the object outside is what is significant in perception. The reading of meaning into objects by the operational activity of our consciousness creates a set of emotions in our mind. We do not merely perceive objects like scientists observing atoms. Our emotions are stirred mostly when we look at objects. It is not that we are consciously aware of the movement of emotions in every sort of perception. We become aware of the movement of our emotions only when the stirring of the emotion is very intense. The mild activity of our emotion is not known to us. A mild perception of an object is not seen to produce an impression upon our mind. Likewise, activities which are subliminal, which have not yet actively entered the realm of the conscious mind, are not known by us.
Activities are of various kinds, as we know very well. They are not necessarily conscious activities. Our personality is not merely a conscious operation. As I have mentioned several times, we have many layers of personality. All psychologists know this very well. We have what we call the conscious personality, the activity of which we are aware. But there are other aspects of our personality, the activities and the operations of which we are not always aware because they are below the conscious level. We call them the subconscious, and so on. We are very deep, but the deeper layers of our personality are hidden and can be known only when they come to the conscious level.
Just now in this Bhajan Hall you are all seated in front of me. Evidently none of you has any desire in your mind at this moment, and you would naturally say, “I have no desire.” This is judging the conscious activity of the mind alone. Consciously you are not having any desire just now, but when you leave the hall you will see that some desires crop up. They will simply show their heads, one after the other. The reason is that the subconscious buried impressions of desire, which are now suppressed on account of a conscious activity taking place here in the Bhajan Hall, surface later on when you walk on the street or go to the bazaar, and then you begin to know those desires which could not come to the conscious level earlier. Therefore, in a process of perception the whole of a personality is working, though consciously only a part of the mind is working.
So, as I mentioned, our entire personality seems to be involved in the process of perception, and by a mutual interaction that takes place between us and the object a nexus of experience is created. This nexus is called the granthi in Sanskrit terms, the knot. Hirdaya-granthi, Brahma-granthi, Vishnu-granthi, Rudra-granthi are the terms we generally use in mystical language to signify the peculiar situation into which we get involved by repeated perceptions of objects, particularly when our emotions also are involved. Often our emotions are involved. They are not independent of the process of perception.
Now this nexus, the term that I used, is a peculiarity of the process of perception. It is the seed of our personality. Our personality is complicated on account of the complication of the process of perception itself. What is the stuff of our personality? What is this made of? It is made up of various involvements, to put it precisely. Our personality is nothing but a series of involvements, one after the other, so that today it is a tremendous involvement for us, the knowledge of which is not given to us.
What is this involvement? We cannot say whether we move towards the object or the object moves towards us in the process of perception. Which takes place first and which takes place afterwards is difficult to say. Perhaps there is a simultaneous action from both ends. Our mind gets attracted by the object. Now, this attraction by the presence of an object is due to a peculiar circumstance in which our mind is placed. It is not attracted by everything and anything in the world. There are many things in this world of which we are not at all even aware, and so they cannot attract us. A particular circumstance in which the mind is placed creates the situation of perception. The circumstance is this. The physical proximity of the object is one factor, no doubt, but apart from that, the more important factor is the character of the object made manifest in such a manner that it fits into the mental circumstance of our personality at any given moment of time. All things cannot attract us at all times. Our minds should be ready to receive the impressions of the object. We should be en rapport with the object; otherwise, the impression will not be formed. We will not be stirred by every presence and any kind of presence.
The nature of the object, the qualities of the object, the structural pattern of the object, and many other such factors should properly fit into the mental situation of our personality. The mood in which we are, the receptivity of the mind to objects, and the extent to which a lacuna is felt in the personality of any person, all these factors contribute to the manner in which and the extent to which a particular object can produce an impression upon our mind.
The whole universe does not make an impression upon us at one and the same moment. There are various strata of existence. The physical level is not the entire universe. There is a subtle universe and a causal universe. Scriptures talk of the various lokas – Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, Satyaloka, Antariksha, Patala and so on; fourteen worlds and many other things of this nature are mentioned. They do not seem to make any impression upon us. We are not attracted by Svarloka, Satyaloka, Bhuvarloka, etc., nor are we repelled by them because our mind is not placed in that circumstance of receptivity to the character of those worlds which are not made manifest to our physical eyes now. So we are receptive only to what we call the physical world. We are not receptive to any other aspect of the universe.
What I mean to say is, we are not attracted by all things or repelled by all things at the same time. We have a very transient structure of our mind. It is not permanently stationed in any mood for all times to come. Our moods go on changing. The needs and the desires of our mind, though fundamentally very few in number, seem to diversify themselves into various forms when they assume connections with individual characters of objects. A particular person or a particular object of the world may have many characters and many qualities. One person may have qualities that we like and other qualities that we dislike, as well as having qualities of which we may be not aware.
Now, love and hatred are so difficult to judge and understand in their essential nature that we get into their clutches very easily. When we love or hate an object we do not take into consideration all the aspects of that object. Certain characters or qualities of a particular object which are necessitated by the peculiar circumstance in which the mind is placed attracts the object, and the other characters which are not necessitated are cast into oblivion and we do not take into consideration these aspects at all. For example, when a mother loves her child, even if the child may be very naughty and stupid, yet she will not take into consideration those aspects. She takes into consideration only the aspect that the child is hers. The child may be an idiot or a thief; it does not matter. “It is my child.”
So love can take possession of our mind by casting into the winds other aspects which are not needed by the mind at that moment on account of a particular circumstance in which it is placed. Likewise, we may hate a thing by casting into the winds other good qualities of that object when the circumstance of our mind is differently placed, and we may be indifferent to the object when certain characters which are other than those attracting or repelling come to high relief. Imagine how complicated perception is. It is not simply opening the eyes and seeing an object. Many aspects are involved in perception, and every perception creates an impression in the mind. There is no perception which does not create a subtle impression in our mind, whether we know it or not.
Now, I began by saying that every perception produces an impression upon the mind. I gave the example of vaporised water forming clouds and covering the brightness of the sun. What happens to us is that these impressions of perception thicken themselves into a concrete stuff. It is this that Vedantins generally call avidya, and yogins and psychologists call chitta, antahkarana, and so on, which is only a medium for the operation of our consciousness. There is no beginning and no end for this process. It is like a vicious circle.
When complicated impressions of this nature are formed on the layer of our personality, consciousness gets distracted, as the light of the sun gets distracted due to the peculiar disbursement of clouds. Sometimes during the rainy season we can see one ray of light coming from that side and another ray of light coming from this side. It looks very beautiful. There is a dissipation of the rays of the sun on account of the higgledy-piggledy formation of clouds. Likewise, consciousness gets dissipated when it passes through this confused structure of the mind which is formed on account of and by the various perceptions of objects which we experience every day. Like a servant controlling the master under certain conditions, which is not something impossible, the impressions begin to control us. We become slaves of these impressions. They become so many in number, and so thick and so hard to penetrate, so difficult and so complicated to understand, that we get into their clutches.
It is like the groove of a gramophone plate. When we sing before a microphone for the sake of manufacturing a gramophone record, for example, the grooves are formed on the plate. We sing only once, and then the grooves can be used to play the song a hundred times and it will sound as if we are singing. The mind is like a gramophone plate. An impression formed by a single perception creates such a groove in the mind, and the groove is left there like a copper plate of the gramophone record which is kept in custody for future manufacture of many other plates. Similarly, the impression is pushed into the subconscious level, and for a long time it will appear as if it is not there at all. It is like a black marketeer pushing goods into a godown. Nobody will know that it is there.
One perception is the cause of another impression. We know how many perceptions we have every day, how many things we have seen from morning till evening, and every seeing will produce an impression. Sometimes they are intense, sometimes they are mild. Mild perceptions produce mild impressions, and intense ones produce intense impressions. Every impression produces a groove, and when the proper conditions are given, the groove comes up and then begins to sing the same song which we sang originally. Then it is that we get into its clutches. We have to sing as it compels us to sing.
Thus, impressions of perceptions become active agents of another perception of a similar kind sometime later. This is why desires cannot get satisfied by enjoyment. When we enjoy a particular desire, an object, it produces a groove, an impression, and when the groove comes up to the conscious level, it compels us to enjoy the very same object once again, so we are never satiated. The more we enjoy an object, the more is the desire for the very same object. We cannot say we have enjoyed the object and, therefore, the desire is extinguished. It will not be extinguished. It will produce such an impression that after some time it will compel us to repeat that experience.
When these impressions become too strong for us, too unwieldy and impetuous in their demands, they become causes of our rebirth. Rebirth, transmigration, entering another body is nothing but the impetuous compulsion of these latent impressions for expressing themselves in a particular manner because they want to repeat the old enjoyments once again, and so we take another birth. What do we do in the next birth? We do the very same thing that we did in the previous birth – again perceptions, again activity of the same kind, again emotional reactions and formation of similar impressions. We go on piling up impressions after impressions, and they become so hard, so thick, so cloudy that we call them the unconscious level. They become what Vedanta calls the anandamaya kosha.
The psychologists’ unconscious mind is the deepest layer of thickened forms of impressions, and the subconscious level is only the slightly thick formations of the very same impressions tending to come to the conscious level. When they actually become operative, we call them conscious. The consciousness in us, the Atman within us, is unique, and is behind these three layers of personality – conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It struggles to manifest itself, but it cannot inasmuch as the cloud is there in front of it. Whenever we try to manifest our Atman in our daily life, we do it only in terms of these impressions and through these impressions. The Atman reveals itself every day, but unfortunately it does so through the impressions. It is like the police making friends with a thief. The Atman gets unified, as it were, with the impressions, the samskaras, and once again it plays second fiddle to the demands and the requisitions of these latent impressions. So the more we are born, the more we die, and the more we desire more enjoyment. The same vicious circle continues.
In the practice of meditation, in the process of meditation, we undo what the impressions have done. The Atman regains its power when it engages itself in what we call spiritual meditation. The police realise that they are the police, and then they stop pardoning the thief. It is like Hanuman regaining his consciousness: “Oh, I am Hanuman. I am not an ordinary monkey.” Consciousness awakens to the serious responsibility that is before it. That is viveka. And when viveka dawns, the consciousness gathers itself into a power, into a force, and begins a counter-activity in respect of these layers of impressions formed by previous perceptions through desire for objects.
While we seem to be helpless when we are the in the hands of these samskaras or impressions, we assume a sort of independence and confidence when we take to the practice of meditation. There is a tremendous power in consciousness. All power is identical with consciousness. Chit and shakti are inseparable. The power of consciousness is chit-shakti. We cannot imagine what power consciousness has. We know the power of Hanuman. It looked as if he could do nothing in his earlier days with the Sugriva. He was sitting idle, as if he could do nothing until Jambavan told him who he was: “My dear friend, you are not an ape. You are not merely a minister to Sugriva, you are not a servant of this king. You are the son of the wind god, and have received the blessing of Brahma and all the gods. You are invincible.”
“Ah, I see,” said Hanuman. “I am such a person.” And we know what he did afterwards. He rose to his stature, became like a mountain in strength and size, and then nobody could face him because his consciousness was roused through its essentiality.
This process of rousing consciousness to its essential capacity is called viveka, discrimination, and it is this discriminative consciousness that engages itself in what we call spiritual meditation. What do we do in meditation? What is the activity that takes place? As I stated, consciousness gathers itself. It does not identify itself with the samskaras. It withdraws itself; pratyahara is the process that takes place there. Instead of the identification of consciousness with the minute impressions or samskaras, the consciousness withdraws itself into itself and tries to stand by itself.
We appear to be weak physically and mentally, and sometimes even morally, on account of having identified ourselves with external circumstances and conditions. The identification is manifold. First of all, there is the identification of the consciousness with the deepest layer of the impressions, called the unconscious, the anandamaya kosha. Then there is the identification of consciousness with the subconscious, which is part of the subtle body, or the sukshma sharira. Then there is the identification of consciousness with the stula sharira, the conscious level of activity. It does not end there. We are not simply aware of our body. The consciousness goes further outside the body into social relations, and then the involvement becomes complete. We become totally helpless.
The universalised consciousness, which is the essential nature of our being, objectifies itself by a tendency to identification through these three bodies, and further ramifies itself into various branches of activity and desire in the social field. Then we completely get lost in the world. We become helpless due to this kind of activity. Where is our consciousness? It is dead, almost. It has been adulterated so much by connection with these externals that it is almost not there. Today it appears as if we have no wisdom, no consciousness, no power, no capacity whatsoever, so we complain, “What can I do? I can do nothing. I am helpless. I am poor. I am moody. I am distressed.” This is the complaint of every person. The complaint arises on account of this unfortunate dissipation of consciousness through identification with various externalised conditions.
In meditation the reverse process takes place. We withdraw the consciousness from the immediate identification of it. We have to work like a good physician, a doctor. If we have got three or four diseases, we cannot treat all the diseases at the same time. We may have purging, a headache, a fever, and eczema. Now, which disease is to be treated first? The doctor knows which is more acute, more annoying and more serious. The immediate involvement is treated first, then the subtler involvements, until we go to the deepest involvements, which is mula-vidya.
In meditation, therefore, a sudden activity does not take place. It is gradual. First of all, analyse the situation in which you are. Action is not the first thing. Understanding is the first thing. Understand first, and then act afterwards. And what is the understanding? It is nothing but a proper assessment of the situation. When a certain event or a series of events takes place, stop for a moment and try to understand what is happening. Why is there so much noise? Why is this stampede? Why so much of running about? Try to analyse and to find out the immediate as well as the antecedent causes of the event. Sometimes it would be profitable to go to the original causes rather than concentrate your attention on the immediate ones, but at other times it would be profitable to consider the immediate causes rather than the deeper ones. It depends upon the nature of the case in respect of each individual person.
It does not mean that everyone can meditate in the same manner. As individual difficulties and circumstances vary from person to person psychologically, the details of the analysis needed in meditation also vary from person to person. So what are you supposed to do? Either you intelligently analyse your own situation as a wise philosopher and find out what is proper to do under the circumstances, or you go to a spiritual guide and place before that guide all your psychological situations. “I am in this predicament.” Then, if you are unable to judge it for your own self, the spiritual guide or teacher will be able to tell you what steps you have to take, and whether to start with the immediate or ultimate causes.
One by one you must reduce the causes of this distraction, and as complicated was the process of perception, so complicated also is the process of meditation. It is not an easy process. You have to untie the knot very gradually. There are a hundred knots formed by various perceptions of objects, and each knot has to be untied gradually, one after the other. For this, the techniques or methods of meditation are prescribed.
Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj’s book Concentration and Meditation gives some of these methods or techniques to be adopted in meditation. There are many other scriptures also, such as the Bhagavadgita or the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which tell us how we can conduct the process of meditation effectively. But with all the study, you will find that when you sit for meditation, the samskaras will gain an upper hand. They will distract your attention, and so you must determine to what to do at that particular instance. Sometimes the details of the technique may have to be altered after a few days to suit the particular condition of your mind on that particular day.
The first thing generally which a spiritual aspirant would be asked to do in spiritual pursuit is to disentangle oneself from emotional contacts. This is perhaps the first thing that you have to do in meditation. Other things may come afterwards. Have you emotional involvement with any object? Do you hate something from the bottom of your heart or love it so deeply that you cannot forget it and have to be thinking of it always? These are emotional involvements. They have to be removed first because they are like boiling water, which will keep you disturbed always. But these are the most difficult things to do. The emotional disentanglement is perhaps the most difficult of operations. We are always obsessed with something, and this obsession is the action of the emotion. The obsession is irrational. There is no reason behind it. If you explain that you must wean yourself from contact with this particular thing, that person will not understand. Nor will you be listened to. That is the nature of the obsession.
When the objects stir the emotions of a person, they become indispensable. It looks as if you cannot live without them. By japa, by svadhyaya, by vichara, by physical detachment from the object, emotions can be slowly snapped. You should not approach an object which stirs your emotions. You should keep away from that object.
After the emotional involvement is slowly removed, you will realise that you are in another kind of obsession: the belief that the object of your perception is a concrete reality. Love and hate for the object is one thing; belief in its reality is another thing, which engenders emotional activity. Naturally, you will not love or hate a thing which is not real. The reality of the object, the belief in the actual physical validity of the particular object, is the layer that is behind the layer of emotion. That is invisible, though the emotions are active. You do not always go on thinking that an object is real. It is taken for granted. On this presupposition, loves and hatreds manifest themselves.
So while the first operation would be emotional disentanglement, the second step would be to disentangle yourself from the notion that there is any such thing as the isolated physical reality of any object. There is no such thing as an isolated physical object, ultimately speaking. In our previous discussions, we have come to the conclusion that isolatedness of an object is an illusion. It is not true. There is a subterranean interconnection of things. Just as we have layers of our personality, just as there are levels of our mind beneath the conscious level, there are realities behind and beneath the physicality of objects. It is this invisible aspect of the object that gets connected with the existence of other things in the world.
To repeat once again, we disentangle ourselves from emotional contact with an object. This is a difficult thing to achieve, and it may take years and years. We can never forget that a child is ours. It is ours for always. That is emotional entanglement. Later on when the emotions are taken away, we begin to perceive the object in a dispassionate manner without any kind of personal connections with it. This is objectivity in perception – an objective study of a subject – which means to say, a dispassionate study without any personal involvement in it.
The third stage is to realise the interconnectedness of things. This is a far deeper stage in meditation. I do not think that any of us has reached this stage where we are able to contemplate the interconnectedness of things. At best we can dispassionately look upon an object as a reality by itself. Most of us are not even in that stage. We are still in the emotional stage only.
When the interconnectedness of things becomes the object of contemplation by our consciousness, we may have genuinely reached a very concrete stage of experience. Once this attitude of the mind becomes amenable to meditation, it should be made a regular routine in our daily processes of thinking. That means to say, once we are able to bring ourselves to the fact of the interconnectedness of things in meditation, this should not leave us even in our conscious level of ordinary day-to-day activity. Even when we are working in our office, we should not forget this interconnectedness of things. Only then will we be a successful worker. Otherwise, we will fly into a rage at any moment because of the belief in isolated existence. Anger and passion are due to the belief in the isolated existence of things, and so whenever such a characteristic manifests itself in a person he is very far from meditation.
If this attitude can be maintained at least for a few hours of the day, that will charge other activities of our day in such a way that not only would we be successful in our work, not only will we be able to execute our work with greater efficiency, but also the work that we do will give us satisfaction. Generally, work does not bring satisfaction. We do it like a drudgery. It is like a curse that has come upon us. We feel this because we are unable to enjoy the work. We cannot enjoy it because it always remains outside our consciousness. Anything that is outside our consciousness cannot be enjoyed. In all sorts of pleasure and satisfaction there is an identification of the consciousness with the object. When the duty that we perform becomes identical with the nature of our consciousness, that is karma yoga. Karma yoga is action which has been identified with the universalised form of consciousness. It is as if consciousness itself works. It is not our hands and feet that work. We do not work as a person; our consciousness works.
Now, this practice can make even the daily routine of work a meditation, so if we want to be happy, we can be happy the whole day. How can we be happy the whole day? By transferring the attitude of meditation to the daily mood of work. For consciousness, there is no such thing as meditation. It exists everywhere at all times, and if it could be adjusted in such a way that it can feel at home with every event and every work of our daily life, then we will naturally be free in the performance of any work, any duty spontaneously. We will not be bound by work.
Action binds only when it comes as a compulsion upon us, when it is done under the pressure of an impression or an impulse from within, but not when it is done voluntarily with a proper understanding of the nature of the work in its relation with the other circumstances of the world. This is a very important thing to remember. Karma yoga is not any kind of work that we do. It is the work that is done with the proper understanding of the interconnection of things. It is not merely going headlong like a fool and falling into the pit. That is not karma yoga.
When we do good to a person, sometimes we may do harm to another person. In our enthusiasm to do service to someone, we may do some disservice to another. That is not karma yoga. We think, “Oh, I have done so much service to that man,” but we have harmed another man without knowing what we have done. Robbing Peter and paying Paul is not karma yoga. We may pay Paul, but we have robbed Peter, and we forget that. So interconnection of things is forgotten in ordinary action. We take things independently, isolatedly, by themselves, which the Bhagavadgita vehemently condemns in the Eighteenth Chapter. Yat tu kṛtsnavad ekasmin kārye saktam ahaitukam, atattvārthavad alpaṁ ca tat tāmasam udāhṛtam (Gita 18.22): To take a thing isolatedly and then work upon it is called tamasic action, according to the Bhagavadgita. It is the lowest kind of action, the worst kind of action. It will bind us, and hurl us into repeated transmigratory processes. If we take any object or any person as an independent whole by himself or itself, and then on that misapprehension we start working, we will get into troubles of various kinds.
The Bhagavadgita also says the higher kind of action is that wherein the relation of one thing with another is properly borne in mind. When the relationship between persons and things is forgotten, and each person and each thing is taken independently by itself and then action is taken, that is tamasic action. When the interconnection of things and their proper relationship mutually is known correctly and then action is taken, it is rajasic action, which is higher than tamasic action. But sattvic action, the best of all actions, is that which realises the unity of being. It does not see the diversity at all. It is as if God Himself is acting, Ishvara is working, the universe in totality is acting in respect of its own self. This is something unthinkable for us at present. That is sattvic action; action done on the basis of the consciousness of the unity of all things is sattvic. Action performed on the basis of the consciousness of the interconnection of things is rajasic action. Action performed with the notion that everything is independent, isolated by itself, is tamasic action. We have to keep these ideas in our mind during our meditations – whether we are in a tamasic mood, a rajasic mood or a sattvic mood. From tamas we have to rise to rajas, and from rajas we have to rise to sattva. These are the stages of our rise.
Any object can be taken as a medium for study in meditation. We do not suddenly rise to the sattvic state. We are in the lowest of stages in the beginning. The object that is chosen for the purpose of meditation remains an isolated something in the beginning stages, no doubt, but by a deepening of the process when the mind goes into the internal structure of the object in meditation, it will realise that the object is wider than what it appears to be on the surface. Its base is very wide, though its apex is very small and single and isolated like the peaks of mountains. Every peak seems to be different from every other peak, but they are all connected at the bottom. There is only one mountain finally, though there appears to be many mountains when we count only the crests of the mountains. Likewise, though there are many objects in the world and we can take any object as our theme for meditation, when we go deep into it, when we penetrate through the crest and the waves, we will realise the connection of these things with others. Then it is that the unity of things becomes consciously revealed to us. Yadā bhūtapṛthagbhāvam ekastham anupaśyati, tata eva ca vistāraṁ brahma sampadyate tadā (Gita 13.30) says the Bhagavadgita in the Thirteenth Chapter: When the variety of things, the multitude of objects, is gradually realised as rooted in the single supremacy of the Absolute, and that consciousness dawns in us, we have attained to Brahman, brahma-sakshatkara. That is reached.
The Kathopanishad also corroborates. Atra brahma samaśnute (Katha 2.3.14): The realisation comes at once when the conditions are provided. The conditions should be provided, and then the existence of the sun shining in the sky can be seen. You must open your eyes, and then only can you see that the sun is there. If you close your eyes, how can you know the sun is there even at midday?
The conditions necessary are, therefore, gradual freedom from emotions, freedom from the prejudice of the mind in respect of independence of the physical existence of objects, later on the realisation that they are at the bottom connected to one another, and finally, fixing the attention of consciousness on the unity of existence. This is how meditational process has to be conducted.