Meditation for self realization


Many are very happy in this world or too busy in it to think beyond the physical existence. But even in the midst of happiness and the busy life, there lurks an apprehension. At times of great happiness they sometimes pause to think, how long will this last? What will follow?

Meditation can help.

It is not possible for all to sit quietly without thinking. For many getting a quiet place to sit is a problem. There is also the problem of the mind itself that does not want to detach itself from the external world.

For such souls meditation has to be a thinking exercise that ultimately results in no thinking. Meditation is not always just sitting without thoughts. It is also about deep thinking.

While travelling, waiting, or even while doing routine work one can start thinking thus;

  • What is life all about?
  • Why should I have to struggle so much?
  • Have I come to this world to go through the inevitable schooling, getting a job, marrying, having children, educating and marrying them off, being happy, getting hurt, retiring, aging, and ultimately dying? What do I really get out of this?
  • Am I real?
  • What about me is real?
  • Am I the body?
  • But the body is meant to die!
  • Will my mind survive death? But I don't know!
  • The body requires food. What happens when I don't take food? The body starts withering. The mind too gets affected and I lose consciousness. So what I am is dependent on food!
  • What about me is real?

Start contemplating. Think seriously. These are very uncomfortable and unnerving questions for those not accustomed. But they are needed.

  • I appear so very real. I cannot even think I will die one day. I feel I have always existed.
  • Why do I feel so?
  • What within me is real?
  • What within me has always existed?
  • What is that permanence that I do not know about?
  • Why does it elude me?

Contemplate again. If you have never thought like this, at this point you are really troubled.

  • If I am not real. If I have to die, then what about my attachment towards my family and friends?
  • Am I putting all my eggs in a basket that does not keep the eggs safe?
  • What about my fears, phobias, and pet peeves? What do I get from laying so much importance on them?
  • Life is obviously temporary. Why should I give my all to it?
  • Even if I get everything I want, how long will it last? I don't know! Obviously I have to think beyond
  • Should I not search for what is permanent?
  • How do I search?

Brood over this. Take your time. You will start feeling something within you. You will start feeling that something within you is trying to get in touch with you.

This meditation exercise is meant to awaken the search that is always with you but you never paid any attention.

Think deeply and the futility of a "normal life" evaporates. You often have a feeling that you are looking for something and must get it. If you start doing this exercise that feeling will become very prominent.

The benefits;

  • Your continuous thoughts will start slowing down
  • Your continuous efforts to remain busy will ebb
  • You will seek time for yourself
  • You will feel that your intense attachment to the world is decreasing
  • Time will slow down as if it wants you to have more time for the search
  • You will feel less stressed and peaceful
  • You will start living at a deeper level
  • You will start questioning
  • You will start looking for answers
  • The answers will come from within
  • You will start observing yourself

Continue with the question;

  • What in me is real?
  • (Continue repeating) What in me is real?

Be sincere in your search. The universe exists to guide you. Your Guru is within. He will whisper sage advice in your ears.

What happens after self questioning?

When you question your existence you open yourself up for a reflective phase. It may not be constant but there will be pauses in your life when the questions crop up again. You may also have a sense of deja vu, certain incidents will seem as if you have experienced them before.

This has a cause. Before coming to the world your whole life has been shown to you. You are simply reliving some of those moments. It means you are connecting to the inner you that remains with you as a witness.

If this happens this is quite an achievement. The pace of life makes one forget. Life speeds on and there is rarely time for any kind of deep contemplation. Pleasant events keep us occupied with the world and you roll on expecting more.

It is always better to consciously think deeply along the lines as suggested in the first part. Otherwise you may face suffering that forces you to contemplate.

You exist. What tells you that you exist? The feeling "I am". This is a primal mantra that connects you directly to the reality. Try to stay with that "I am" with no other thought.

Just doing this much for a period of three years led to self realization for Nisargadatta Maharaj. He did as was told by his Guru. He did it sincerely because he had full faith on him.

You may also question "Who am I?". While the I Am belongs to the Supreme Self, the "Who am I" targets the ego. The ego feels extremely uncomfortable because it is questioned. Very rarely does anyone question it. People take it as the reality and blindly enjoy its domain.

So the I Am prepares you for the reality and the Who Am I eats away the ego. The ego is non existent. It is a projection of ignorance. Questioning it ultimately leads to its disappearance.

You can also just go on chanting I I I I.... mentally. This too is instructed by Ramana Maharshi.

If you think you can meditate, then just sit and mentally chant Who Am I. You may be distracted by thoughts. At such time think, "Who is it to whom the thought appears?" And then go back to the question Who Am I?

Sri Ramana Maharshi did not object to any path. But he asked everyone to go to the source, the one who is doing it. He is the king of the spiritual world and has made things extremely easy. This age is troublesome, but it is in this age that Bhagavan Ramana has appeared to teach the simplest path to self realization. Utilize this.

The way to tackle thoughts is to watch them float by. Then you watch the one who is watching. Always remember that you are not your thoughts. Therefore the quality of your thoughts does not determine who you really are. Just coming to know that you are not your thoughts is a great achievement.

As you become accustomed to a bit of contemplation you may start thinking of your karma. Reading about the types of karma may frighten you as you realize how your actions are preparing the net that traps you and keeps you trapped.

How to escape karma? Stop thinking that you are the doer. Surprised? But that is true. This world is manifesting on its own. It is taking everything with it. The ego makes us feel we are the doer and then we aspire for and acquire the fruits of action.

If we can convince ourselves that we are not the doer, do not crave for recognition and reward, and perform with detachment then we go out of the ambit of karma. Karma no longer binds us and sanchita (pending) karma evaporates.

In meditation reach the thoughtless state and stay there. That is the reality. Even if you have thoughts do not struggle but watch them as they come and ago. The space between two thoughts is the reality.

Think of your childhood and youth. Maybe they have passed. Think of how they have passed without your involvement. You have to accept the changes and can do nothing about it. All you can do is to recall how the I Am remains unchanged through it all.

See the objective world but do not engage with the shape and forms. They are not real. They float in the Self that alone is. The Self is the light that illuminates everything. As it alone exists there is nothing apart from it. Be that by forgetting that you are a body operating in a world of shapes and forms.

The steps you need to take are;

  • Being a witness to all that happens
  • Becoming aware of the one that is witnessing
  • Staying with the I Am
  • Questioning "Who am I?"
  • Mentally repeating I I I I...
  • Staying thoughtless
  • Watching your thoughts
  • Knowing you are not your thoughts
  • Ignoring objects
  • Identifying with the substratum that is Brahman

The above may seem a lot but they are just corollary. They are parts of the same wheel. One follows the other.

With these you can become the undivided one. Your perception will change. That is the goal. You are always searching for peace and stability. You are that peace and stability, the SatChidAnanda. Ignorance of this knowledge is the source of your suffering.