Secrets of Meditation : Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Day 1

Secrets of Meditation : Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in California

In the next three days we will explore all about meditation.
Are you ready for the journey? Then buckle up! Fasten your seat belt!
Do you know what the real seat belt for meditation is? Feeling at home, being natural! If you feel very formal, you can’t meditate. Meditation requires being informal and feeling at home.

I suppose you all feel at home, right? Of course, it is California, everyone always feels at home. We are very casual, isn’t it? That’s the great thing about California, very at home, easy!

So, we will explore the need of meditation. Why do we need to meditate and what are the ways to meditate. I won’t go into the benefits; I assume you all know the benefits of meditation. But the need and the methods, and how we can have a successful meditation, we will explore all these avenues; the different types of meditations.

Now, what is the need for meditation, why should you meditate?
The need is there in every human being because it is a natural tendency of human life to look for a joy that doesn’t diminish, a love that doesn’t distort or turn into negative emotions. This is very natural, isn’t it?

Is meditation foreign to us? Absolutely not! This is because you have been in meditation for a couple of months before your birth. You were in your mother’s womb doing nothing. You didn’t even have to chew your food, it was fed directly into your belly and you were there happily floating in the fluid, turning and kicking, sometimes here and something there, but most of the time happily floating there. That is meditation. You did nothing, everything was done for you. So there is a natural tendency in every human being, in every soul to crave for that state when you are in absolute comfort.

You know why you want comfort? It is because you were comfortable at one point. So that wanting comfort is again natural because you have experienced a state of comfort that is called meditation. Meditation is absolute comfort. So getting back to that state which you have had a taste of just before coming into the hustle, bustle of this universe, of this world, is very natural because in this universe everything is cyclic, everything wants to go back to its source, and that is the nature of the world. Everything goes back and everything is cyclic; except plastic if you don’t use it properly.

See, when the autumn season comes, the leaves fall and go back to the soil and nature has its own way to re-cycle them. The natural tendency to re-cycle all that we have collected in day to day life as impressions, getting rid of them and getting back to the original state that we were when we dawned on this planet is what meditation is. Becoming fresh again, alive again is what mediation is. Getting back to that serenity which is your original nature is meditation. Absolute joy and happiness is meditation.

A pleasure minus excitement is meditation. A thrill without anxiety is meditation. A love without hatred or any of the opposite values is meditation. Meditation is food for the soul, so there is a natural craving for food, isn’t it? When you are hungry, spontaneously you go to eat something. If you are thirsty you want to drink some water. In the same way, the soul yearns for meditation and this tendency is in everyone. That is why I say, there is not a single individual on this planet who is not a seeker. Just that they don’t know it. They don’t recognize it. We try to look for that food where it is not available, that is the problem.

It is like you going to a grocery shop when you want to fill gas in your car. It won’t work. You keep going round and round the grocery store saying, ‘I want gas for my car.’ It won’t work because you need to go to the petrol station. So that right direction needs to be found and that is what we are going to explore. What are the ways and how we can meditate, how we can experience that absolute comfort within our self.

Secrets of Meditation : Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Day 2

Secrets of Meditation : Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in California

Meditation is the journey from sound to silence, from movement to stillness, from a limited identity to unlimited space.

Last night, I said that there are five ways through which meditation happens. Let us recapitulate.
The first is by physical manipulation. Yoga, Tai-Chi, all these come under that. By stretching and contracting the body, the mind experiences a state of awareness that you can call meditation.

The second is through breathing exercises and pranayama, the mind becomes quiet and still.

Secrets of meditation
The third is through any of the five senses and sensory objects; one can experience a state of no-mindedness, no thoughts, calmness, serenity and inner beauty.

If you observe a child, a baby enjoying a lollypop or a toffee, you can see how the child is engrossed totally in enjoying that piece of candy. You ask the baby, ‘What is your name?’ It won’t answer. They are fully into it. Being 100% engrossed in a particular sensory object brings you to a state of meditation.

On a free day, just lie down and keep looking at the sky, a moment comes when the mind becomes still, there are no thoughts and you don’t know where you are, but you know you are. An experience of the center everywhere and circumference nowhere. Limitless awareness can happen through just watching an empty space, because our mind is also space; consciousness is a space.
You listen to music and then a moment comes when you are completely engrossed in the music and you snap out of it. You no longer hear the music, but you know you are and yet you have no boundaries. In the language of Yoga, it is called Laya Yoga, which means dissolving in it. That leads you to meditation.

Any wonderment or astonishment also leads you to that state. Whenever a ‘Wow!’ arises in you, there is no mind, there are no thoughts, but you just are.
Sense of touch, smell, taste, sight and sound can all lead you into meditation, provided you do it in the right way. It needs a certain skill to experience that.

Emotions can lead you to a state of meditation; both positive and negative emotions, not only positive. A state of shock can also take you into meditation. Again, it is a little risky.
You know, when you feel utterly hopeless, you say, ‘I give up!’ When you are very angry, what do you say? ‘I give up!’ It means, ‘This is it. I can’t take it anymore.’
During those moments, if you don’t slip into frustration or depression or violence, you will find that there is a moment where it snaps and there is no mindedness. So, whether it is positive emotions or negative emotions, like fear, the mind stands still, it stops. It can lead you into that spot.

The next is intellectual stimulation, through knowledge, through awareness you can go into meditation. This is called Jnana Yoga.
If you have been into a space museum, you are in a different state of consciousness when you come out of the museum. There is a different context, because you have seen yourself in the context of the universe. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? How are you in reference to the unfathomable, infinite universe?

If you have studied Quantum physics, you start to see that everything is just atoms, just a wave function, just energy. If you really listen to Quantum physics and then you study Vedanta or the Art of Meditation or Yoga, you will find striking similarities. You will find that the same language is being spoken.
Adi Shankara said, ‘All that you see doesn’t exist’.

One of the top scientists of our times, Dr. Hans-Peter Durr said, ‘I studied matter for the last 35 years, only to find out that it does not exist! I have been studying something that does not exist’. So, through knowledge also you can experience a state of meditation.

I won’t go into the benefits of meditation. You can go to google and find out. There are greater minds that have done a lot of research on meditation and have put it there – what are all the benefits of meditation. Any meditation has some benefits. But the secrets of meditation, that is what we are interested in. We are inquisitive about this – what are the secrets?!

To Read more on Secrets of Meditation