Meditation expands awareness, but this does not mean that awareness should be external. It is a natural tendency of the mind to roam toward the objects of the world. This also can be considered awareness, but such awareness is completely dissipated and gross. The schools of meditation use awareness in a different way. Meditation teaches the student to make the mind one pointed and inward. To some degree all human beings are aware of their environment and the things related to them. This is the dimmest and most superficial state of human consciousness, and we are not discussing that sort of awareness here. Human consciousness flows through various degrees and grades from the center of consciousness, and systematically going back to the source of consciousness within is the purpose of meditation.

The mind is in the habit of identifying itself with the objects of the world, and it does not become aware of internal states as long as it remains in its dissipated condition. But with meditative discipline, the mind starts traveling inward toward the subtler, finer levels. When one attains a state of perfect stillness and tranquility, that which is beyond the mind reveals itself. Actually, nothing is attained in meditation-a meditator simply allows the Reality to be revealed through a calm and tranquil mind. Tranquility of the mind is an important factor, but more important is breath awareness. The first step in the practice of meditation is a steady, comfortable, and easy posture. The second step is calm, serene, and even breathing. The third is a calm and steady mind; this is the only means for experiencing the deeper levels of being. The fourth step is control of the conscious mind used during the waking state; this control can make one dynamic and creative. In the fifth step, the involuntary system as well as a vast part of the unconscious mind, including the memory, is brought under conscious control. In the sixth step, the mind becomes aware that it is conditioned by time, space, and causation. Through prolonged, unbroken concentration and the regular practice of meditation, the mind can be trained to remain aware of the now, which is an essential part of eternity. This is the seventh step, in which a superconscious state full of bliss, peace, happiness, and wisdom is attained.

After serious observation and analysis of the working of the mind, we find that the mind forms a habit of being conditioned either by remembering past experiences or being conditioned either by remembering past experiences or by imagining future experiences. There is no technique that helps the mind become aware of the now except that of meditation. Meditation is not a method of allowing the mind to roam aimlessly. It is also not something that dawns all of a sudden; it is not an instant method, as some lazy and confused people think. It is a conscious effort of training the body, the breath, and the mind. Meditation should be practiced systematically. No doubt a few visions and unusual experiences are possible by practicing meditation haphazardly, but it is not possible to attain the fruits expected by such methods. But it is not possible to attain the fruits expected by such methods. If a student practices systematically, it will not take much time for him or her to realize the highest state of bliss.

Editor’s Note:

This article is an excerpt from the book titled “Inspired Thoughts of Swami Rama”.