Meditation teaches us to live intensely, while the mind’s inherent nature is to train us to worry and plan for the future, writes Pratiksha Apurv. Published in Speaking Tree on March 31, 2019.
Why is anything which we call ‘ultimate’ in our lives, always have to be somewhere in the future? Why are all our thoughts burdened with logic and move always in the tomorrow? Even to do our sadhana, meditation, why do we look forward to the next day? These are essential and existential questions to understand as to how our lives have been shaped by philosophy rather than meditation. Philosophy, or the study of knowledge and its systems, involves a lot of thinking processes, use of logic, and the study of systems for deductions, while meditation deals directly with perception and experience.
Philosophy intrinsically lacks a simple yet essential sutra of life – the requirement of ‘light’ to see the presence of the Divine that is available to us all the time. When we go into meditation, there is a constant tussle with philosophy. Meditation tells us that there is no need to go anywhere to find the Divine, but philosophy seduces us to think otherwise.
Philosophy tells us to postpone it for now, and to seek Truth, perhaps some other time or the next day. It inculcates in us a certain logic to study further, to do research and maybe refer to other books to see if we are walking on the right path. Philosophy wants us to postpone, while meditation wants us to live in the present here and now.
The Moment, oil on canvas, 48″x25″, 2006
Philosophy looks for permanency, while meditation wants to blossom in uncertainty. Meditation is joyous with today’s beautiful morning, the drizzling rain and the chirping of birds. It doesn’t want us to think what tomorrow will bring. Philosophy wants consistency, and its systems keep telling us to plan for tomorrow and forget about the dew-filled mornings and all its glories. Philosophy is an activity of the mind, while meditation relates to our being. And so the conflict goes on.
This is precisely the reason why we are facing this tussle between mind and life that wants us to be as spontaneous as the morning sun or the shrill call of a cuckoo. But, alas! We only listen to the mind because we feel that it is the only mechanism to deal with our worldly affairs, and so we continue to postpone life, which otherwise wants to dance and sing in the rain and be open to accept each and every moment as it comes. We forget that philosophy, or the logic of mind has no resonance with life itself.
Osho says that the present moment is the golden gate to enter into the Divine, and we can be in the present, only if we are not thinking. “You have simply to see that the past is not there. You have simply to understand that the future has not come yet. And between these two is the small golden gate. You cannot force yourself to be in the present; it comes out of understanding, not out of force. You have simply to see that the past is not there. You have simply to understand that the future has not come yet. And between these two is the small golden gate. Enter into it without thinking, without desiring, without having an achieving mind – just to explore, just to see what is hidden in the present. Innocently, just like a child, enter into it.”
Every moment and every hour of our lives is covered with either fear or hope of tomorrow, and yet we are neither able to live in tomorrow nor able to see it.
Once we enter into a state of meditation, consciousness leads us into this ever-present moment. It prevents the present from slipping by. In that state, thinking is gone, the thought process is gone, philosophy suddenly vanishes, and the whole of existence is available to us. We just need to remove the cloud of thoughts hovering over our very existence, for this life to be revealed. There is a famous saying that one cannot step into the same river twice. It is my experience that one cannot step into the same river even once, because the moment one reaches the bottom, water has already flowed.
When one meditates, the realisation that we all have been given only one moment at a time also dawns slowly within. We start seeing things more clearly as if the river has suddenly turned vibrant blue; we become aware of other beautiful things; we are living it totally and joyously with all its intensity
Meditation teaches us to live intensely, while mind’s inherent nature is to train us to worry for tomorrow, and to plan for the future that has not yet arrived. Isha Upanishad beautifully says: Hiranmayen patren satyasyapihitam mukham, tat twam pushannpavrunu satyadharmay drishtaye – ‘Covered by gold is the face of truth, that if you uncover, the truth shall be revealed for you to see.’
Arjuna, the great warrior, had faced similar obstacles regarding the clearing of the clouds of thought and controlling the mind when he told Krishna: Chanchalam hi manah krishna pramathi balavad dridham, tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva su-dushkaram – ‘Turbulent is the mind, Oh Krishna, strong and fixed it seems, controlling the mind is more difficult than stopping the winds.’
Understanding his plight, Krishna replies: Asanshayam maha-baho mano durnigraham chalam – ‘Arjuna, I agree with you. What you are saying is correct, our mind is indeed very difficult to control.’ He then adds: vashyatmana tu yatata shakyo vaptum upayatah – ‘the one who can control the thoughts, will enter into yog-samadhi.’
The mind, with thoughts sprouting in its fertile ground, is making all of us worry about the future and to plan for tomorrow. It is a fact that no one has succeeded in living in the tomorrow, and yet we try to avoid the present, we make every possible effort to skip living in this very moment.
Tomorrow is not beautiful, this moment is. So, whatever philosophy says and whatever the mind does to plan, conceive and convince us for a joyful tomorrow, we must dance, sing and be in the ever-present now.
We must not postpone the joy and serenity of the present. Don’t look back at the past, or try to leap into the tomorrow. Let meditation and the song of birds touch our inner core this very moment, and allow the resultant symphony reverberate forever.
Quote by Osho from The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Ch 37
Pratiksha Apurv – www.pratikshaart.com
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