Those familiar with me are aware of my deep connection to meditation. It has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of my life, a natural inclination instilled within me during my upbringing. My childhood was steeped in a meditative ambience which was cultivated as a result of the collective practice of meditation among my family members.
Even when I was devoid of a comprehensive understanding of meditation, I would imitate my grandparents and parents. With a childlike innocence, I would sit cross-legged, intertwine my palms, and gently close my eyes. Although, I would not sit for more than 2 minutes in this calm demeanour, seeing someone meditate was never out of the ordinary for me.
A very young me trying to imitate a meditation posture!
Today, reading one of Daaji’s (Heartfulness meditation’s Global Guide) true gems, ‘The Heartfulness Way’, I understood that each and every one of us, knowingly or unknowingly, meditates.
To put things into perspective, I have inserted a hand-drawn diagram by Daaji himself, which explains the concept of meditation, and in turn, demystifies it.
To quote The Heartfulness Way, “The vertical axis represents a spectrum between the focused mind and the unfocused mind,” he said. “A focused mind settles on one thought and remains there. It is single pointed. Conversely, the unfocused mind wanders from topic to topic. It thinks many thoughts, and its attention jumps here and there. Between these two extremes, there is a middle ground. Most of the mind’s activity occurs there, in that middle ground.
Diagram taken from the book ‘The Heartfulness Way’
Here is another polarity: effort and effortlessness. That’s the horizontal axis. The effortless mind is relaxed and at ease. On the other side is the effortful mind, which cannot be at ease. It struggles to think, to comprehend, and to concentrate.“Different combinations of these two spectrums result in certain states of mind. Here, we have daydreaming, frustration, concentration, and meditation. Let’s understand the meditative mind. As you can see, it is a mixture of focus and effortlessness. It is to be immersed in one thought, but effortlessly so.”
Thus, if meditation is to be immersed in one thought effortlessly, then don’t we all meditate?
Consider, for instance, my anticipation of a mouth-watering chocolate pastry after lunch. The thought occupies my mind quite seamlessly without any effort. In this moment, I am, in essence, meditating on that chocolate pastry.
Likewise, when a mother constantly thinks and worries about her daughter’s first day at playschool, all her mental energy is channelled towards her child. She is not being able to divert her attention to any other thought. In this situation, she too, effortlessly meditates, her attention unwaveringly fixed on her daughter.
If everyone is frequently engaged in meditation-like states, then one might ask, “What is so great and transformative about meditation?”. The object of our meditation makes all the difference. In the examples above, the objects of meditation are the chocolate pastry and the daughter.
Quoting Daaji from The Heartfulness Way, “A profound object gives us a profound consciousness. A mundane object gives us a mundane consciousness. A temporary object makes our meditative state of mind temporary. A profound, changeless object makes our meditation permanent. Different objects create different effects, you see.”
Thus, Heartfulness meditation, according to the simple explanation provided by Daaji would be, ‘Effortless focus on a profound object’.
The ‘profound object’ is Divinity, which is unlimited in nature. Divinity cannot be known, it can only be felt and since the heart is an organ of feeling, Heartfulness meditation prescribes meditating upon the Source of Divinity which is already present in our hearts.