Meditation is not as simple as it seems, and it’s easier to tell what is not. Krishnamurti, a philosopher, speaker and writer born in British India, and one of the best humanists of his time, defines meditation as followed:
“A meditative mind is silent. It is not the silence which thought can conceive of; it is not the silence of a still evening; it is the silence when thought—with all its images, its words and perceptions—has entirely ceased. This meditative mind is the religious mind—the religion that is not touched by the church, the temples or by chants.
The religious mind is the explosion of love. It is this love that knows no separation. To it, far is near. It is not the one or the many, but rather that state of love in which all division ceases. Like beauty, it is not of the measure of words. From this silence alone the meditative mind acts.
Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life—perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody. That is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority. When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy—if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.
So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a bus or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing of birds or looking at the face of your wife or child.”
Meditation is mostly seen as a means of transforming the mind. Buddhist meditation practices, for example, are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. By engaging with a particular meditation practice you learn the patterns and habits of your mind, and the practice offers a means to cultivate new, more positive ways of being. With regular work and patience these nourishing, focused states of mind can deepen into profoundly peaceful and energised states of mind. Such experiences can have a transformative effect and can lead to a new understanding of life.
Authentic meditation enables one to focus on the present moment rather than dwell on the unchangeable past or undetermined future. Indeed, Mindfulness is about to be present, in the moment, here and now. It’s about learning to feel, deeply, going back to the sensations through the body perceptions and experiences. We start from the foundation (the physical body), to go up toward spiritual self awareness. We learn from the physical experience(s) and transcend it to a mental, then spiritual level.
Now, it’s easy to understand why nobody can really teach meditation. However, we can train, practice and apply different techniques to focus the mind, to deepen an effortless concentration, reach a contemplative state of mind, which, with time and dedication, can ultimately lead us to real meditation.
“Silence and spaciousness go together.
The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a centre does not exist. […]
Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.” – Krishnamurti