Question: In Vicharasetu, you have advised a seeker to focus attention on the ‘thinker’. How to accomplish this? I have been doing mantra meditation, and after initial progress, the method seems to have no effect on me. Kindly advise me.
Swamiji: Meditation is a very subtle psycho-intellectual process. Unfortunately people dabble with the mind and intelligence, and also meditation without trying to know what exactly the whole process is, and how to pursue it and where to reach.
Mind is actually a name indicating the function called mentation; intelligence is another word indicating the function called intellection. It is something like our legs doing different functions like walking, running, standing, sitting, lying, jumping, etc. But all these functions imply a functioner – a functioning ‘substance’, namely legs.
By ‘mind’, we only refer to the function called mentation, but the substance which does the mentation, intellection and assertion is one and the same, namely Consciousness. Consciousness is actually the spiritual presence, by virtue of which you become conscious of other things as well as yourself. The ideas “I, you, he, she, it and they” are all ideas formed by Consciousness.
When we submit the process of thinking to close analysis, it implies three factors or constituents. If thinking is an act, it must have a source, the thinker. It should also be directed towards something, the object. When you want to think about a particular item, that becomes the object. The process is thinking. When the process starts, the thinker also rises. In every thinking, these three are there. What is called knowledge, or even the thought, is an outcome of thinking process. Before these three distinctions came up, was there not a substance called the ‘thinking-substance’?
Purpose of meditation should be to get at the thinker, as different from the thinking process and thought. How?
Take an optional thought, the so called mantra, which should denote the ultimate goal of your life. Try to preserve this optional thought. When you do so, to that extent extraneous thoughts will keep away.
Chanting a mantra or doing mantra-japa is primarily to avoid unnecessary thoughts and make the mind free. If you can exercise the influence of the optional thought in the mind, it (the mind) becomes purer and purer.
In reality, repetition of letters of the mantra will not mean mantra-japa. For mantra-japa to become really true you have to contemplate upon the meaning of the mantra. That will be different from simple japa or meditation.
When you start doing it, there comes a stage when you get into the mind process and see what is happening there. With the help of mantra, if you can dissolve the very thinking process, then you reach the source. When the functioning of the mind itself ceases, you reach the functioning substance, where you remain as you are. Only when some disturbance or distraction intercepts, you come out. If you can reach and understand the source, it will mean a total revolution in your life. For the time being, this is what I can tell you.
Take up this simple exercise. Close the door, sit on a specific aasana meant only for the purpose. Sit cross-legged, interlock your fingers, place them on your lap, try to be comfortable, keep your body erect, and then using one portion of the mind go on observing rest of the mind processes. Don’t interfere with the process, don’t follow the process.
Simply allow whatever comes by itself, but make sure that you observe it. If you go on observing in this manner for about 20 to 25 minutes, you will feel a sense of sufficiency. If you feel like observing for some more time, it is OK. Do it regularly every day. There will be no monotony, because your role will be to observe the mind process. Nothing should transpire in the mind without your being aware of it right then and there. Never be concerned about anything you observe. Do not follow the thought or be affected by it. Simply observe.
Suppose you are standing in front of me, and we are talking to each other. I will observe you – you may nod your head, blink your eyes, move other parts – all these I observe, but I don’t interfere. In the same manner, observe your mind without interfering. Do it and let me know.
Hearing this is rather simple, but doing it is really great and magnificent.