Our minds have a hard time understanding that we are free, enlightened and an integral part of That that can’t be spoken of. Our mind brings up obstacles, doubts and questions.
There are all kinds of things that we can do to ease our minds. There are all kinds of yoga studies, books that we can read, and practices that we can follow in order to make our minds peaceful and to make our minds give up all these different trains of thoughts for a while.
There are many things people do which I like to call concentration exercises as opposed to meditation.
Concentration exercises are things
that make us temporarily peaceful.
They are types of things like repeating mantras or songs, looking at candles or flames, following our breathall kinds of things we have done for various reasons at different times in our lives. They are very beautiful things. They help us while we are doing them. But they are temporary aids.
Concentration exercises are temporary things. We’re in this concentration. We step out of the concentration. We step back into it. We step out of it. We’re always stepping in and out. And we’re always saying, “I was so peaceful yesterday when I was sitting for a half hour quietly by myself. I was peaceful two weeks ago when I was doing this. I was peaceful then, but I am not peaceful now, and I wish I were as peaceful as I was before.”
We keep going from one state to another state, back and forth. That is why all these things are really concentration exercises no matter how beautiful they are, no matter how fancy they may be, no matter how they have been portrayed as doing all kinds of things for us. And the more complicated they are, the more appealing they seem to be because more effort is required. Therefore we think that, if we put more effort into it, we will become skillful at it and we will receive the benefits from doing it. But there are no long-term benefits because these are just concentrations. They are not meditation.
On the other hand, meditation-as-enlightenment is not so much about having a peaceful mind all the time. Meditation is knowing what we are continually24 hours a day.
Meditation as enlightenment
is being in touch with who we truly are
even while we are distracted by the fretful things of life.
Once we know who we are, once we are in touch with what this entity we call “I” is, there is no need for any concentrations to put us into a state of any further knowing of this. We are always aware of what we are and there is an abiding sense of security that comes with this.
When we know who we are, we can then do concentration exercises, if we want to, because we enjoy them or because we may need our minds to be at peace for a few moments amid the things that are happening in our lives. But underlying all these things, we are always in the position of knowing what we are. That’s the essence of the teaching of Poonja-ji: stopping, resting, asking ourselves, “Who am I?”.
Who am I? What is this thing that I keep referring to on a daily basis as I? We use this word thousands of times every day. But who is this I? We never are really able to define that. In fact, no one ever has been able to define it!
And then we remember
we are something beyond words,