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The role of meditation: How does regular meditation practice impact our spiritual journey?

Meditation has become a fancy word in today’s world. Why has it become so popular? People these days have become conscious of mental well-being and mental health. That is why, they jump from one practice to another, from meditation to chanting and then to mindfulness, when all they have to do is to go within and discover what they so much seek.

What is meditation?

AiR Atman in Ravi, Spiritual Leader and Founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiR Center of Enlightenment says, “Meditation is an important Spiritual practice. It is needed so that we can evolve on our Spiritual journey and attain Enlightenment. Meditation is basically, silence. It means to still the mind. It helps us transcend the cravings of the body, the mind and ego. It not only helps us to become calm and peaceful but also leads us to a state of consciousness or mindfulness.”

“Consciousness is a state where there is no mind - the bundle of thoughts, only a state in which our intellect is activated and we are enlightened with the truth – the truth about our real self and the truth about God. Meditation helps us connect with our true self which inevitably connects us to the Universal Consciousness, the Supreme Immortal Power, SIP, whom we call God. Meditation leads us to true bliss, peace and joy. It leads us to attain the state of Satchitananda, that is, living in Consciousness of the Truth which is eternal bliss,” he adds.

Eliminating the clutter within yourself

When we hear the word, ‘meditation’, we immediately form a picture in our mind. A picture of a saint or a monk. We often associate meditation with sainthood but that is not true. Meditation can be practiced by anyone, wearing anything and having any kind of look. People also think that in order to meditate, we must sit cross-legged on the floor, motionless, with the spine absolutely straight. These are all basic misconceptions.
According to Ravi, “Meditation is not about how we sit, where we sit or what our posture is. One can comfortably sit on a chair and meditate too. Meditation is about making the mind still, making it silent. Our focus should be on disciplining the mind. Meditation is about silencing the mind, eliminating the clutter, and eliminating all noise so that we can hear the divine voice.”

Keeping the mind still is a challenge

Our mind is like a monkey. Just as a monkey jumps from branch to branch in a tree, our mind too jumps from thought to thought – thoughts of sorrows and regrets of yesterday to the worries of tomorrow. It makes us miserable by creating negative thoughts of fear, anxiety, stress, envy, jealousy and even depression. Our mind is a thought factory, where thoughts pop out practically, every second. It can produce up to 50 thoughts in a minute and that can become an overwhelming 50,000 thoughts, per day. These constant negative thoughts create anxiety and stress in us. We have to bring down the MTR or the Mental Thought Rate from 50 thoughts a minute to one thought a minute.

How can we reduce the Mental Thought Rate?

MTR can be reduced with meditation. Meditation observes the mind and helps us reduce the mental thought rate. We have to watch the mind, catch it and latch it. When we do that, we become an observer, a witness because we become conscious of our mind. Once the mind is disciplined, our intellect is awakened. The intellect helps us to discriminate between right and wrong thoughts, the truth and the myth. It is in this state of thoughtlessness or consciousness that we can be enlightened with the truth. We realize who we are — we are not this body, mind and ego.

“We are the divine soul, a spark of unique life. We realize that God is not a person or a saint but a power, the Supreme Immortal Power, SIP and we are a part of that Power. Just like a wave emerges from the ocean and merges into it, the Soul also emerges from SIP and merges back into it. We also realize that everybody is a soul. God is everywhere and in everything. Everything is a manifestation of the divine,” says Ravi.

Seeking enlightenment

Meditation is the key to spiritual enlightenment. If we seek enlightenment, we must start meditating every day. We can start by meditating for 10 minutes each day and gradually increase it over a period of time. Then, there will come a time when we will be meditating all day, we will be in a state of consciousness, experiencing true peace and happiness. It is in this state that we can connect to our true self, to the divine consciousness. When the mind becomes still, we experience peace. Peace is the foundation of happiness.

The takeaway

According to Ravi, “Meditation greatly helps in improving focus and concentration. It is also known to help people fight depression. It creates positivity. Negative thoughts are replaced by positive ones.”
Regular meditation leads to a state of thoughtlessness or consciousness, where the intellect is activated and with the discrimination power of the intellect, we can make right decisions. Meditation is thus, one of the paths on which man can have the ultimate Spiritual experience – enlightenment!