Chapter 64: Three Kinds of Meditation
Spanish Visitor: How can I practise meditation on Cosmic Consciousness?
Swamiji: What are you conscious of, at that time? That thing is the object of your meditation. You have no particular object. You are conscious of this earth, the sky, time-space, and stars, etc.; you are conscious of the entire atmosphere. Can you adjust your mind in such a way that you are conscious of all these things at the same time – not one after the other, but simultaneously? Cosmic consciousness initially begins with simultaneous concentration on all things.
Again, I come to the analogy of the limbs of the body. You have many limbs of the body, and you are conscious of them, simultaneously. You do not think, "Today I have a nose, tomorrow I have an ear"; you do not think like that. At once, you are conscious of all the limbs of the body. That is called total consciousness. In a similar manner, if you can be conscious of all things conceivable – the entire world, space-time and objects, not one after the other, but simultaneously – if you can do this exercise, that would be an attempt on your part to become transcendentally conscious. This is one kind of meditation.
I am not saying that everybody should do only this. This is one way. But in the beginning, this kind of abstract concentration may be found a little difficult. That is why they suggest concentration on a deity, and I wanted to know what your deity is. You seem to suggest that you repeat the mantra of Om Namah Sivaya. The meaning of the mantra is prostration to the great deity Siva. Can you think of Lord Siva, his features, his characteristics, his knowledge, his power?
Spanish Visitor: Yes, Swamiji.
Swamiji: Can you concentrate on that figure?
Spanish Visitor: The mind comes and goes. I cannot keep it in focus.
Swamiji: The mind comes and goes because it wants something other than what you are thinking of in meditation. It says, "I want another thing." Now, you put a question to yourself. You tell the mind: "When you have decided that a deity like Lord Siva is final, and whatever you want, you can have from that deity, why are you going elsewhere? Do you believe that Lord Siva cannot give you all things? If you do not believe that this is capable of blessing you with everything, then why do you concentrate on that?"
The mind is playing a dual trick. On the one hand, it says this is the object, and if I meditate on that, I will get everything; but subtly it says, "No, it will not give me everything; I want to go to the marketplace." So, it is playing a game with you by telling you two things at the same time. If you are sure that this will not bring any blessing to you, why should you meditate on that? But you are feeling it is not like that: "It will certainly bless me." You will perhaps get everything that you want through meditation on this deity. But another subconscious voice says, "No, no. You should not concentrate like that. You go to the shop and eat some delicacies." It will say like that.
You have to act like a teacher. You are a schoolmaster. You know how to handle students, and the mind is a student; you tell it, "You are a stupid thing. Why are you running about here and there when you can get all things in the supermarket here? Lord Siva is a supermarket; everything is there. Why do you go to some little shop? What is the purpose?"
Tell the mind again and again, "You are stupid! Why are you running here and there? Don't you know that everything you want can be had with Him? Not only that, everything that you cannot even imagine in your mind, all things you can get here. An ocean of blessings will come. Don't go!" Even verbally, you can tell like that. Not merely thinking, even by words, tell the mind, "Don't go anywhere! You are getting everything here!" Don't you speak like that to your students in a school? "This is good for you. Don't be like that. Study!"
Like a father talking to a little baby, you talk to your mind: "Don't be foolish; don't go here and there. You will get nothing by going here and there. You are only losing your energy and wasting time. All that you want you can have in one place. Therefore, identify yourself with and meditate on that, and receive blessings from that." If you think it is Lord Siva, all right, go on with it.
For the time being, I suggest that you can adopt this method, and a higher thing also I mentioned to you – Cosmic Consciousness. And, in that little book that I gave you in the morning, these small suggestions are mentioned: meditation on the external, meditation on the internal, and meditation on the Universal. There are three stages of meditation.
Now, what I have mentioned to you on Lord Siva is a kind of externalised meditation – conceiving God as something placed before you as a cosmic externalised presentation. That is one kind of meditation in the path of devotion, or bhakti, as they call it.
The other thing is internal, the purely psychological contemplation, as we have it in the Buddhist methods, for instance. The meditations in Buddhism are purely psychological. They do not suggest any god, deity, or any such thing. Perhaps you are aware of some techniques in Buddhism; and in Hinduism also, there are techniques of this type. Observing the breath, observing the mind, observing the thoughts, and conducting the thought in different parts of the body, etc., are internal meditations. And the highest is Universal meditation.
In the beginning, you must start with external meditation only. You need not go into internal meditation suddenly. The meditation on Lord Siva is all right for you. You carry on with that method. Slowly, you can rise higher.
Spanish Visitor: Swamiji, the other type of meditation is watching the thoughts or observing the thoughts without identifying with them?
Swamiji: That is one method. You can choose whichever method you like. Sometimes, you can adopt all the three methods, alternately: sometimes praying to Lord Siva, sometimes analysing the mind inside, sometimes thinking cosmically. All the three methods are good; you can combine them, if you can do it.
When you do office work or any other kind of work, this should be the background of your thought throughout the day. Then only it will get settled. Actually, you have no other occupation. This is the main occupation; all occupations get merged into this. All that you want through any other work, occupation, etc., will be given to you through this. It is the main object, the main purpose of life. Unity with Reality is the main objective. The very purpose of life is this. Because we are unable to achieve it, we are going here and there in search of jobs and all that. We do not require jobs afterwards; Nature itself will give you whatever you want. But we are unable to do that in the beginning, so we have to do some work, also, some service, together with the attempt at meditation. When meditation deepens, you can lessen your activities, and take to meditation more and more.