Meditation is one of the most talked about subjects on the planet today! I mean, literally everyone either wants to know about it or is exploring it for personal benefits. Especially, among the urban class, this practice has gained absolute momentum! To the extent that it’s almost a fad! That’s why you see an ever-increasing number of meditation learning centers, in more and more cities! And there are various types of techniques of meditation being taught; various types of practices being done!

Though I wonder, how many benefit from these and how many don’t? But most definitely, the stress and anxiety of urban life is making many people, seek peace and calm in this activity.

However, even though Meditation is the most beautiful way to live your life and to increase your well being…did you know that the activity or practice that you do in the name of meditation; is actually not meditation?

Yes, understand here, when you sit down in a certain posture, in silence, doing some Kriya (breathing technique or mental exercise) or sit with a piece of guided meditation commentary or some soothing music or even going into a state of trance… you actually are not practicing meditation!

What you’re doing is, simply sitting and concentrating along with some more!

And going by whatever your technique, you could be concentrating on the self, your inner mind, your breath, or on the music that you listen to, or perhaps on the act that the guided meditation piece is trying to make you follow or even on the divine, in whatever form you perceive Him! But definitely, when you are sitting down in that posture of calm and concentration… you aren’t meditating!

The great sages or Rishis of India taught the world this wonderful practice of self-realization and divine connection! However, at no point did they ever say, this was meditation! The words used in our scriptures have always been… Dhyana and Yog!

Dhyana means – concentration. Concentration on something deeper or higher… the deeper mind or the higher self or even the highest – God! While Yog refers to a union! It could be the union of your material consciousness with the spiritual or the union of your ordinary consciousness with divine consciousness…depends on what you, as the seeker intends to connect with. But if you look at the original texts from where the concept of meditation found its inspiration… you will find a mention to only these two concepts – concentration and connection!

So this brings us to the question… what really is meditation?

Now, without going into the history and the time this word may have become a technique, here’s looking at what the great sages of India, may have attained through dhyana or yoga (concentration and connection).

For this, let’s understand the stages of the technique that was originally practiced, in order to attain self-realization or enlightenment or perhaps strength and direction from the source energy; which truly, have always been the ultimate goals of dhyana & yoga. You need to figure out here that the technique & its stages, aims at meditation but is actually not meditation.

This because, meditation is not a practice, it’s a state of being that you achieve when you have passed through all the other stages such as concentration and connection! Now, let’s look at these stages that you go through during what you may think is meditation but is actually a process to self-realization!

Stage 1: Concentration – You sit down in silence, in a certain posture and remain immobile. You concentrate on your breath and then gradually, shifting your attention inwards, you withdraw from the consciousness of the body. You concentrate on your mind and it diverts you to a deeper consciousness or the subconscious, which some, even call the soul.

Stage 2: Contemplation – It’s not possible to stay thoughtless for the mind. So you either pay attention to your guided commentary or music and go into deep reflection or you simply concentrate on the subconscious or the soul and contemplate about your true self. Of course, the key here is to remain thoughtless about the world outside or to remain completely detached from the consciousness of the body or your worldly identity, for then only will you be able to contemplate the real stuff. You’ll be able to go deeper into your subconscious mind this way, which obviously carries recording of precious information, through lifetimes. And should you able to access at least some clues from this information… you’d become self-aware!

Stage 3: Internalization – Once the process of contemplation takes off and you withdraw from the consciousness of the body, it’s natural for the mind to take you deep inside, to your subconscious. It’s natural that you go, where you actually want to! For without distractions, the focus is always within. And so, now you internalize. You silence the conscious and activate the subconscious mind as you seek to find out more about the self! Who are you really? What do you seek to change in you? What’s been bothering you? What’s hindering you from staying positive and peaceful? How can you overcome the problems, hurdles or worries? You ask yourself and seek answers from the now active subconscious mind. Here, you may also, shift focus on the source energy or the divine and wait for the supreme to respond through your subconscious mind. This is the stage of internalization!

Stage 4: Realization – Sitting in complete silence, once you are able to internalize and understand yourself better (takes some time), from there emerges a certain precious insight or the voice of the subconscious that provides a deep realization. A realization that’s valuable to your growth as a soul, a realization that energizes you with a positive current or a realization that makes you deeply self-aware!

Stage 5: Connection – Once you realize the truth, once you get a sense of the right and wrong… you now connect with the divine! You align your energy or the mind with the energy of the supreme or what is also the source energy; and you sit in submission. You sit in complete surrender and remain entirely in tune! This stage is called – connection, where you energize your mind or soul whatever you call it, with the most pure and powerful thought, which is of the source! You visualize its presence in whichever form you relate and your thought single-mindedly focused on the source, charges you with a positive current. This is essential as it helps you implement what you realized or the precious insight that you received.

Stage 6: Correction – Here’s now, when you understand everything better and clearly see the essentials that need to become a part of you as well as the unnecessary that you must discard. So what you do is, you immediately make the correction at the subconscious level! And what happens is, when you come back to your normal consciousness, the subconscious always reminds you… what you need to do and what you don’t. Therefore, in your daily life, you tend you correct yourself this way and become the person that you wish to! Especially someone…more balanced, wise, happy and peaceful!

Stage 7: Meditation – Finally, comes this stage and you’d be surprised how late! A stage that makes you implement a way of life that’s peaceful, calm, balanced, harmonious and happy… at all times, under all circumstances and in any given situation! For meditation is a way of living… what you gathered from all the other stages. The fruit of concentration, contemplation, internalization, realization, connection and correction is Meditation. For you live meditatively, you don’t do meditation! And by living meditatively I mean, not living ignorantly or compulsively…. rather… living attentively, consciously, wisely, blissfully, naturally and positively! So meditation is not in the doing, it’s in the being! But most definitely, unless you go through the first six stages, you cannot reach meditation.

The technique is in… the other six stages and when you regularly practice them, Meditation flows.