'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Me-No-Thinking

inidXyasn
Nididdhyaasana - profound and repeated meditation

Root verb is 'dhyaan' - to think, to contemplate. Dhyaanam is the simple act of sitting and doing the thinking and more correctly translated as 'contemplation'. Nididdhyaasanam is doing this in a single-pointed and sustained way. It is almost exclusively used in conjunction with the intellectual steps which precede it and prepare the meditator.
  • Shravanam, which is to listen attentively, not merely hearing but receiving, acknowledging and processing.  One whose skill of shravanam is firm will be able to inculcate as the knowledge enters them and to begin already the second process.
  • Mananam is what follows. Having received a chunk of information, it is necessary to ponder upon it. Hold it up to the light of existing knowledge, assess it for what is new, and seek to integrate it. This may result in doubts and questions arising. These must be aired with the teacher and discussion is to be had so that the knowledge can adequately settle. (Vedanta doesn't want blind belief, or sheep wishing all the time to be herded - no, it demands robust assessment and debate so that each student can 'own' the knowledge.)

Having resolved the learning, nididdhyaasanam will start to become a habit. There will be plenty sitting and attempting to focus the mind, but only once all doubts are quashed, once commitment becomes firm, once the desire to move beyond gross knowledge into the realm of direct experience is his or hers, can the contemplator genuinely become the meditator.

Where two or more thoughts rub together, thinking is taking place. This is contemplation. Only when the flow of thoughts is suspended can one be said to be meditating. This is the 'transcendence' of which much is spoken.

It is not 'airy-fairy'.

It is not psychedelic.

It is not an altered perception.

It is not achieved by any means other than to work through one's thoughts to the point where they can be left alone… the thinking will not be about the ironing in the other room, the meal that is to be cooked, the problem at work, this that or the other desire which arises. The thinking will be about the teachings of the Upanishads and about four key statements.

  • Consciousness Alone Is (प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म / prajnaanam Brahma)
  • That (Consciousness) You Are (tÅv< Ais / tattvam asi)
  • Consciousness and (my)Self Are One and the Same (अयं आत्मा ब्रह्म / ayam aatmaa Brahma)
  • I Am Brahman (अहं  ब्रह्मास्मि / aham Brahmaasmi)

High-falutin stuff, you're thinking? Yes, it has to be admitted that it is. However, no series of articles on Vedanta and its application in life would be complete without pointing to its higher levels.

When you are at school you are made aware, are you not, of the possibilities of where studies can take you? The chance of going to university might have seemed remote at one point, but then you might find that there is a real passion for one subject or other and you begin to pay more attention, more dedication. Gaining entry to the course of your choice, you discover that as much as you thought you knew, you actually know very little. Learning takes a different turn and more than ever you have to stay focused. What keeps you going is the knowledge that others have achieved the thing you are trying for and that you can too. Sometimes though, you need reminding when the going gets tough. You need to be shown the goal again so you can refocus.

Of course, not everyone wants a specialised, high-level standing. They just want to get on with life. That's fine, but there is still a need to understand life to get the most out of it. There is a need to obtain a skill-set to support yourself.

We are talking about meditation in this post so, if you find the idea of transcending your mind just too far beyond, do at least consider contemplative activity which keeps you relaxed and focused. Not to escape the turmoil of life, but to help you deal with it better.

That's a whole other counselling session peeps... 


19 comments:

  1. What a pretty lavender menorise.
    At night when I get in bed is when my mind's eye is most active. I 'try' to do my form of mediation that I saw in a health magazine. It is touching the fingers to the thumb while repeat a phrase. One has to really concentrate on the phrase.
    Hugs HiC

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    1. Hari OM
      That is what is called 'jaapa', and it is a powerful methodology! Yxx

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  2. I ponder sometimes to the point of fretting everything i do. I drive myself crazy looking at pros and cons, whether it be thinking of something i want to do or buy or change. i look at ifs, ands, what. i can't even buy a computer without contemplating which and why to the point of anxiety. i know that is not what this means. but just sitting and thinking drives me nuts. i am action to the bone, and a take charge, go forward bull my way through things. i hated every minute and day of school and did not go to college. i like on the job training. not group training, but one on one.. i am rambling now so will stop

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    1. Hari Om
      ...&*>... perhaps that 'other' counselling session is in order! It is true though, and not to be laughed at, that our minds can play severe tricks and play havoc with our internal balance. Action is, quite often, a good solution to such things. Yxx

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  3. I have been meditating daily since Jan 1. I spend a lot of time trying to let thoughts go, some days with more success than others. I do find it makes me clearer and calmer, even though I am thinking in it a lot!

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    1. Hari OM
      That is most rewarding to hear... it is important to understand that we are not going to reach dizzying meditative heights in a hurry - it takes time and occasionally feel like it's going backwards, but it's a joyous path to traipse! Yxx

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  4. I amble through life not thinking to much I don't think I have wasted my life but maybe if I had made other choices things would have been different maybe not better.
    Merle........

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  5. thought is neither pro or con. It usual serve a reason in our life, yet not to be judge
    Coffee is on

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  6. Far from easy - probably hearing what I want rather than what is being said. Oh, well...'They also serve who only stand and wait.'

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  7. The goals that you speak of require such dedication and perseverance. However, they are worth it. One tiny step at a time...

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  8. Although Bertie would promote dog-walking as the best aid to dealing with life's turmoils, I have to confess (and don't tell Bertie) I find riding my bicycle even better. Something about the regular rhythm of pedalling I think. I retain meditation as an option to try out some time in the future!
    Cheers, Gail.

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    1. Hari OM
      Ah, but Gail my dear, I put it to you that the very activity you describe offers itself as contemplative a method if it helps to still your being. The sadhus of the Himalayas often go on treks to even higher ground - physically and mentally! Yxx

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  9. Good grief there were so many d's and a's in that word, it did my head in a bit! Interesting to think about how deeply you can ponder something - now I have to ponder upon what I care enough about to invest further ponderation!

    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    N for Never lie

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  10. I meditate often to calm my mind. This post was informative and motivating to practice meditation on a daily basis :)

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  11. I do TM. Definitely calming! It calms everything. Liz http://www.poetryroundabout.com

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    1. Hari OM
      Important to understand that one does not 'do TM'... one undertakes meditative process and if one is fortunate, one experiences, one attains, the transcendental state. It is not a doing. It is a becoming. Whichever stage one is at in practice, there should definitely be some tranquility. Thanks for the drop-by. Yxx

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  12. You are making my brain hurt from thinking. namaste, janice xx

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  13. Ooh, that's it.
    "Not to escape the turmoil of life, but to help you deal with it better."
    Wonderful post. I really need to read them in a quiet moment, which is healing in and of itself! xx

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