Some common errors in meditation
Shri Ram Chandraji of Shahjahanpur(Letters of the Master, Vol. III, pp. 365-367)
[Editor's Note: Rev. Babuji Maharaj dictated the following article and sent a copy to Rev. Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari. The date is unknown.]
The regular process followed under the system (Sahaj Marg) is meditation on heart, thinking of the presence of Divine light there. It is a simple process, but sometimes, due to complexities of thought in individual cases, complications arise which deprive an abhyasi of the full advantage thereof. For this particular purpose an endeavour is made to clear some of the technical points of the process which are commonly misunderstood.
We start with dhyan, meditation, and when we get absorbed in it we reach the preliminary state of samadhi or concentration. This concentration should not be confused with the concentration defined above, which requires the exertion of will power. For such a concentration an abhyasi need not struggle within himself. It is the natural outcome of meditation when one's being merges into one thought or feeling. So an abhyasi must practice meditation in a simple and natural way, keeping away from the idea of concentration. Meditation implies a sense of thinking over and over again. At the initial steps it may be with breaks and interruptions but after some time it forms a connected link of unconscious thought in the subconscious mind. That is the true form of meditation. With this view we must only take up meditation without the least effort to concentrate and go on with it in the simplest way avoiding all physical and mental strain.
The next mistake which sometimes baffles an abhyasi is, as he often complains of, that he is not able to see the light or to grasp the exact location of the heart. This is but an error of understanding. It is not actual visualization of the light that is necessary for the purpose but only a faint idea of it in the form of mere supposition. Those who hanker after visualization of light mean to put it under a material cloak which must necessarily be the outcome of their own imagination. Thus the thing coming to view, if at all, would be artificial and not the real one. Moreover, the light is not our goal. We take it up only as a base for the thought to rest upon, in order to proceed by it to the Possessor of the Real Light or glory. In this way we mean to proceed from the quality to substance, from the apparent to the Real. So it is quite immaterial whether we see the light at all or not. The proper course would, therefore, be to turn one's attention gently towards the heart and suppose the presence of the Divine Light there. All efforts to localize the position of the heart or to visualize the light must be avoided. The awareness during meditation remains only so long as our thought remains in touch with the physical mind. But when it goes deeper into the finer layers of consciousness, the physical awareness is lost although silent meditation goes on unconsciously in the subconscious mind. The only thing to be done under the circumstances is to revert gently to the object whenever one feels himself lost and he should go into meditation again without the least worry for the previous unawareness.
Letters of the Master, Vol. III, pp. 365-367
The other error, perhaps the most serious one, relates to the abnormal rush of thoughts during meditation. This is generally most annoying to an abhyasi, though in fact, it is not so if properly dealt with. The ceaseless flow of thoughts is not confined only to the meditation hours but it continues every moment. But it is more acutely felt during meditation because at that time we try to make ourselves empty of all thoughts and ideas. There is a huge store of thoughts lying buried in the deeper layers of consciousness. When by the effect of meditation, a void is created in the conscious mind, the buried thoughts rise up and force their passage into the void affecting our grosser consciousness to some extent. The mind being unregulated begins to move in conjunction with them creating all sorts of troubles and disturbances. It is in fact not the rising of thoughts that is annoying to an abhyasi but his own over attention to them which brings him into direct conflict. The reaction thus caused makes thoughts all the more powerful and the trouble is aggravated. It is in fact not the controlling of mind that is suited to our purpose but its right moulding and the proper regulation of its activities. This can be effected not by the use of whip but only by purging out the evil through the process of internal cleaning. This is the only effective way for the transformation of the real being of man. For our spiritual purpose it is essential to make ourselves free from thoughts as far as possible, but it can never be effected by means of suppression, but only by throwing out the poison from the mind, which could stop the creation of thoughts. The rising of buried thoughts helps to exhaust the store by effecting their bhoga. Thus in due course the abhyasi becomes free from them and attains a harmonious state. His mind lake is thus free from the ripples and perfect calmness begins to prevail within him.