Over twenty weeks ago, we started our journey on understanding the Yoga of Self Transformation. I wrote that self transformation comprises of transforming oneself at four levels, namely, mental, emotional, moral, and physical. Without purification, understanding and transformation at all four levels, it is simply just not possible to attain the exalted state. I started with my writings on Mental Transformation. We went through various exercises to strengthen your concentration, resolve and knowledge. Of the four primary hurdles, we have already covered three. Today, as I finish my exposition on mental transformation, I bring to you the fourth common defect in meditation.
The usual scenario
Let us say you sit down to meditate with resolve and attentiveness. After a while you start to feel restless, you feel the urge to move or to end your session. A little while after you check restlessness by calming your mind, a sort of lethargy, dullness blankets you. Many people erroneously term it relaxation or a good meditative experience; a grave error. Good meditators, however, staying alert, apply mental exertion with attentiveness to overcome this hurdle. As you progress with a mind that is neither dull nor restless, the natural tendency to engage in thoughts spring up. Soon, you find yourself either pursuing a thought or actively engaging in it.
For example, you may recall a conversation, an unpleasant one. Forgetting that you are doing meditation, you start to mentally pursue that conversation, you start to think you should have said this or said that, or, you should have responded in such and such manner, how the person was ungrateful, shallow, rude, wrong and so on. Great meditators do not lose sight of their thought of meditation. They are able to simply drop the thought immediately putting a plug to the conversation. Now, they are not restless, or dull, or pursuing thoughts but this does not mean they are meditating flawlessly. There is one more distraction you have to watch out for.
A subtle but strong defect
In a way, this is the greatest hurdle. It is innate, a natural fabric of conditioned mind. It does not leave you even when you are sleeping, causing dreams. As you cross the three hurdles and try to meditate, you will experience various images flashing in front of you from your past. They may seem unrelated. As you try to focus on your object of meditation, you find yourself battling with appearances, images stored in your memory. During your meditation you may have pictures of gadgets, cars, houses, buildings, ice-creams, food, people, creatures, anything for that matter, flashing in your mind. You are not engaging in any thought, you are not pursuing any mental conversation but you keep getting hit with these. They severely impede your ability to meditate correctly.
Images: The flowing wind
In any place, even if empty of all existence, there always exists air. Further, there is always movement in the air, however inert that may be. So, in a way, wind is omnipresent. Only a vacuum maybe devoid of such phenomenon. A vacuum though is an artificial construct, it is not a natural state. Similarly, even when a mind is empty of all thoughts, restlessness and sluggishness, there still exists memory. In fact, it is the basis of your analytical skills and your intelligence. You may be a Nobel laureate in physics, or a genius in calculus, in an unconscious state, in the absence of memory, however, you are unable to count even up to three. Does it not seem natural then, with intense meditation, as you gain new mental territory and cleanse your psychic imprints, you gain superknowledge and superconsciousness?
Your memory is the source of all imagery. Anything you see or hear even once, always stays in your memory. Whether it is a giant ship or a needle sinking in the sea, it retains both. Always and forever. Just like creating a vacuum artificially, you can use methods to suppress such imagery, but they remain temporary measures. How can attainment of your natural and permanent state be dependent on anything artificial and temporary! In my opinion, it is not possible to erase your memory. It is possible to cleanse it though; to the degree that the image flashing in front of you fails to trigger any thought or emotion. Such cleansing is possible with emotional and moral transformation; I will cover them in due course. Only when you allow your inner wounds to heal can you remain unaffected at the appearance of any image in front of you.
So, what do you do when you are in a windy area? You cannot battle or win against the wind. All you can do is to cover yourself, to not face the wind, to accept it. In much the same manner, there is no need to react to the images. You simply cover yourself with a balance of alertness and relaxation, exertion and pacification. Soon, images start disappearing. As you continue to meditate, intentionally recalling only the object of visualization each time, other images start to fade away automatically. Further, as you cleanse your psychic imprints, you recall less and less of disturbing, enticing or exciting images. Their impact becomes negligible and their recollection, faint. You are well on your way to experience lucid meditation thereafter.
This finishes my treatise on Mental Transformation. Coming up next, a brand new world for you, an original piece of work — Emotional Transformation.
My obeisance and gratitude to my Ishta, my foremost Guru, for allowing this transmission.