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Home » Spiritual Practices

Meditation – The Journey (Part 1)

Submitted by on July 25, 2010 – One Comment

‘The Hero’s Journey’ is a common narrative found in most of the myths and stories across the world. An ordinary man is forced to go on a journey, either out of choice or because of some circumstances. He embarks on the journey, enters an unknown world, faces many hardships and difficulties, makes friends and allies and finally reaches his goal to find new knowledge, wisdom and power. A transformed man, he returns home to become a mentor to others, with the capacity to change their lives with his newfound knowledge.

A Meditator is also an ordinary person until he answers the call of the spirit and sets out on the inner journey. He is initiated into a new world by a Master, a world filled with wonders, challenges and mystery. As he battles his demons, finds his strengths and moves ahead, the journey itself transforms him. He stumbles upon new worlds and unknown realities and, on reaching the destination, discovers his purpose. The inner transformation manifests in his outer life and he becomes a role-model and inspiration to others by his perfect living.

The journey begins with a call and for a Meditator, this call comes in the form of various life-situations which motivate him to pick up the practice.

Call to adventure

We come to meditations through various means, with different purposes. It could be to solve a problem, for health issues, for stress-relief. Or it could be to find answers when life appears devoid of any meaning. It soon becomes apparent that the journey doesn’t end once the initial goals which prompted us to pickup meditations are reached. As we allow these practices to impact our lives in positive ways, our goals also get shifted further and further. We also realise that the journey is best undertaken under the guidance of a Mentor or a Guru

The Guru

A Guru by definition is someone who takes us from darkness to Light. He can be a mentor who has travelled the path earlier and who knows the pitfalls and shortcuts. God is the real Guru. Having a Guru at the physical level is not an absolute must to start the journey. Though one can pick up a technique from a book and begin, like any other discipline, a student requires the help of a seasoned practitioner to understand the path, avoid mistakes and make faster progress.

A human Guru often works as a representative of the Rishis, the real guides of humanity, who live in the higher planes of existence. Many of these Rishis and Lightworkers often live in their physical bodies and can guide us directly. These guides have a direct contact with the Supreme Intelligence – God and work for Him selflessly, helping others on their inner journeys.

Step into the new world

The Initiation

The Guru sets the student on the path by instructing him a technique and by giving him a spiritual charge, a push in his spiritual pursuit (sadhana). Subtler energies are passed on to the student and certain processes are activated in him. His entire system is tuned up so that the efforts he puts in the meditational practice yield maximum results. This process, also called as Initiation or ‘Deeksha’ (in Sanskrit) is an act of grace from the Rishis and God. This is not a one-time activity; the Master gives periodic initiations to the student whenever he crosses certain stages and has to pick up a technique and energies for the next higher level.

Most of these are done at a subtler level and the student may not be aware of these processes in the beginning. To make us aware of the importance of this occasion, in earlier times, we were asked to make a donation, offer fruits and flowers and even keep a fast.

Spiritual Progress

The Spiritual progress of a student is monitored by the Guru at this level and by the Rishis and higher beings at a different level of existence. They asses the ‘Sadhana’ of the student and periodically decide whether to allow more time for the inner processes to mature or to shift him to the next stage. While some individuals progress faster, some travel leisurely—the pace of progress depends on various factors like intensity of the practice, regularity, the sadhana done in previous life-times etc.

The sign-posts on the journey

As the student continues on his spiritual journey, he comes across various sign-posts that assure him that the path he’s treading leads to the desired goal. Some of these are:

a) Silence and initial benefits

Meditations, we have seen, is a systematic process of silencing our body, mind and intellect. Our system gradually enters the zones of silence with time, depending on the intensity and effort one puts into the practice. We’ll be able to recognise the initial benefits like calmness, ability to deal with stress, improvement in the general health and well-being, clarity in thought etc. Apart from these, many processes are also initiated within us. One such process is the cleansing of our system and the clearing of our karmas.

b) Clearing of Karmas

Modern science considers Life as a freak accident; it defines a human being as a physical entity, with a pulsating life-force which keeps him alive between birth and death. On the other hand, the Spiritual science, or Yoga-shastra defines Life as a play of the Universal consciousness. It considers human beings as sparks of light, or ‘Souls’, residing in five bodies. This Soul which is a part of the Universal Consciousness( or God), incarnates into Life to experience creation. The five bodies which house the Soul are the ‘Spiritual body’, the ‘Intellect’, the ‘Mind’, the ‘Pranic body’ and the ‘Physical body’.

As souls, we experience Life through our Mind, which has a limited capacity to hold these experiences. When the experiences are in excess, they become a residue on the mental body, blocking many of the capabilities of the mind and shutting down the communication channels. This excessive residue is defined as Karmas.

With the cleansing process, these karmas are removed slowly, allowing the communication channels to get cleared and the blocked faculties to operate. Sometimes we can sense this purification process occurring deep within as a kind of freshness that can be experienced after the meditation session. And as we advance in our practice, we may be able to see colourful lights, hear sounds and even have visions. This is the stage when our natural faculties which were hidden until now begin to get activated.

c) Awakening of Inner Faculties

The inner faculties can be understood as the organs of our Soul, and hence not detectable by our physical instruments because they are not present in our physical bodies. These faculties are dormant in most individuals because of the times we’ve been living in until now and also because of the layers of karmas that cover the mind. In earlier times when we were spiritually evolved, these faculties were fully active, but as earth moved into the dark ages and as humans, on their spiritual degeneration began to misuse these faculties, they were shut-down.

Some of these faculties are:
Third eye: it is the capacity of the Soul to look into the past or future, and to have visions of the astral worlds, other dimensions of existence and realities.

Intuition: this is the voice of the Soul, our own inner self which guides us.

Astral travel: This is the capacity of our astral body (the mind, intellect and spiritual bodies together with the Soul) to travel in the astral plane.

Telepathy: This is the faculty by which we can mind-link with another person and transfer/receive thoughts.

Teleportation: This is the faculty through which we dematerialize in one place and materialize again at another place.

Contact with Rishis and higher beings: Rishis are the Spiritually advanced masters, many of whom live in the higher planes. We can contact these benign Masters for guidance in our spiritual and material lives.

There are specific techniques to awaken and activate these faculties, which have to be practiced under the careful supervision of an experienced Master. Also, the individual should be pure and should have a higher purpose of service to others in order to activate some of these higher faculties. The practice of meditations initiates a cleansing process which purifies a person and brings an expansion in his emotions, thoughts and awareness, thus naturally awakening all these faculties.

Before the destination

Spiritual Sadhana is not just about reaching the destination – Samadhi, Enlightenment or Mukthi – but also about the transformation that occurs within the individual in the course of this journey. The process is as important as the outcome, because, the journey itself changes a person even before he scales the highest peaks.

And reaching the highest levels takes effort, dedication and perseverance, as in any other field. It requires the individual to overcome a host of obstacles and difficulties–most of them from within himself. The most important requirement is the faith he has–in himself, the path and the Guru. It’s like taking the next step even when the entire staircase is not visible.

When the student steps out with true faith, he moves in the right direction even if the path is wrong or even when the Guru fails him. The Universe is the true Guru and it always protects and rewards any great effort that is undertaken with immense faith.

Additional Reading –

Meditation – The Journey (Part 2)
Meditation – A beginning

Copyright © 2010 VishwaAmara.
Permission is given to copy and redistribute these articles, on condition that the content remains complete, all credit is given to the author and is distributed free.

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