When you are practicing a combination of relaxation and concentration techniques and your mind becomes completely still—even for a brief period of time—that is meditation.
Do not treat these moments of stillness like a distraction from the practice of focusing the mind. Enjoy those moments and they will become longer.
These moments of stillness are the meditative state.
Concentration and relaxation practices are only the tools.
The Meditative State
Once you have used the ladder (relaxation and concentration) to reach the top (meditation), then you should enjoy the scenery, instead of getting right back on the ladder.
“Deep dreamless sleep awake.”
That is the meditative state.
One more time for clarification.
The moments of peace in between the mental practices are meditation.
Other words that describe the state are…
Only Experience Will Produce Understanding
Yet, all words and descriptions fall short. The meditative experience is beyond words. That is why reading a book is not enough. Learning from a teacher is not enough. Only practice will produce experience. And experience will produce firsthand understanding.
Imagine a time before you had ever had chocolate. Going to lectures about chocolate would have been interesting. Reading about chocolate might have increased your appetite. Making batches of chocolate would have made your mouth water. But only tasting chocolate would have really made you understand how good chocolate can be. Only tasting— only experience.
There is an old saying about how we should look where the master is pointing, not at the finger of the master.
The finger is the practice, where he is pointing is the state of meditation. Don’t mistake the finger for the destination. Don’t mistake the practice for the state.
This column was curated from the book, Baby Steps to Meditation by Gudjon Bergmann.
Picture: CC0 License