Meditation: A Journey from Sound to Silence
Q – What is Meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Many believe that meditation is concentration or that it takes a lot of effort. Meditation is not concentration. It is the opposite of concentration. If you have to drive anywhere, you need concentration. If you simply have to relax at home, there need not be any effort. You don’t need concentration.
Meditation is deep relaxation and no concentration. So, if thoughts come during meditation, we do not try to chase them. The more we chase them, the more they come. If you want to get rid of a thought, it will not be easy. It will come back in a stronger way.
So, we have another strategy. If bad thoughts come to us, we hug them, we shake hands with them. Then, they disappear. If good thoughts come, we give them a hug, then they become quiet. We do not try to stop any thoughts, it’s an effortless practice.
Q – What are some guidelines that you can give for effective meditation?
Sri Sri – There are three golden rules for meditation. The first is, ‘I want nothing’. If you say, “I need to drink water or change my position,” then there can be no meditation. When you want nothing, you also do nothing.
The second golden rule is, ‘I do nothing’. You only breathe. Do not make an effort to think, “I want nothing and I do nothing” – just an effortless attention.
Then the last one is even more important – ‘I am nothing’.
If you think you are very wise, there is no way you can meditate. If u think you are very stupid, then also you cannot meditate. If you think you are rich or very poor, no way you will be able to meditate. So, what are you? Nothing – I am nothing, I want nothing, I do nothing.
After meditation, you can again be something. It is your choice. But during meditation, if you think you are somebody great or somebody hopeless, there is no way you can settle down to the deepest core of the being. To settle into the consciousness, of which all of us are made up, this must be our initial step. It is the journey from sound to silence.
Q – I can’t meditate. Please advice.
Sri Sri – When you watch TV, you get into meditation. It is not possible that the mind cannot meditate. Meditation occurs wherever your mind goes and whatever it likes, and settles on it. You need to move from the word (shabda) meditation to the word-less (meditation). We separate life and knowledge, but walk in life knowing that knowledge is life and life is knowledge. Just as our relationships are man-made, make that relationship/connection with knowledge.
First published in the book, ‘Question Basket’ by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar | The Art of Living Foundation