1. What Is Meditation?
TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT MEDITATION IS a contradiction in terms. It is something which you can have, which you can be, but by its very nature you cannot say what it is. Still, efforts have been made to convey it in some way.
Hearing is mechanical. You have ears, you can hear.
but listening is a far higher stage.
Listening means: When you are hearing, you are only hearing and not doing anything else—no other thoughts in your mind.
There is no interference from your mind; it is not interpreted by you, by your prejudices; not clouded by anything that, right now, is passing within you—because all these are distortions.
In Sanskrit we have a special word for meditation, the word is dhyana.
It has been recognized for two thousand years that this word is untranslatable for the simple reason that in no other language have people tried it or experienced the state that it denotes; so those languages don’t have the word.
A word is needed only when there is something to say, something to designate. In English there are three words: the first is concentration. I have seen many books written by very well-meaning people, but not people who have experienced meditation. They go on using the word “concentration” for dhyana—dhyana is not concentration. Concentration simply means your mind focused on one point; it is a state of mind. Ordinarily the mind is continuously moving, but if it continuously moves you cannot work with the mind on a certain subject.
Concentration means rays coming together, meeting on one point; and when so many rays meet on one point they have enough energy to create fire.
Consciousness has the same quality: Concentrate it, and you can penetrate deeper into the mysteries of objects.
Concentration is always the narrowing of your consciousness. The narrower it becomes, the more powerful it is. It is like a sword that cuts into any secret of nature: You have to become oblivious of everything. But this is not meditation. Many people have misunderstood—not only in the West, but in the East, too. They think that concentration is meditation. It gives you tremendous powers, but those powers are of the mind.
just to read for five minutes, then he was on the track. He knew the Gita verbally, he could repeat it without the book. Once he started going into the Gita then he was really in the Gita, his mind was there—it left his body totally.
Every newspaper had it that the king of Varanasi was a man of great meditation. He was a man of great concentration, not of meditation.
It is just that when your mind is so focused on one thing, everything else falls out of its focus and you are unaware of it. It is not a state of awareness, it is a state of narrowed consciousness—so narrowed that it becomes one-pointed and the rest of existence falls out of it.
First: it is not concentration.
Second: it is not contemplation.
Concentration is one-pointed; contemplation has a wider field. You are contemplating beauty.… There are thousands of things that are beautiful; you can go on moving from one beautiful thing to another. You have many experiences of beauty; you can go on from one experience to another. You remained confined to the subject matter. Contemplation is a wider concentration—not one-pointed, but confined to one subject. You will be moving, your mind will be moving, but it will remain within the subject matter.
Science uses concentration as its method; philosophy uses contemplation as its method. In contemplation also you are forgetting everything else other than your subject matter. The subject matter is bigger and you have more space to move; in concentration there is no space to move. You can go deeper and deeper, narrower and narrower, you can become more pointed and more pointed, but you don’t have space to move around. Hence, scientists are very narrow-minded people. You will be surprised when I say this.
Contemplation is a kind of logical dreaming. It is a very rare thing. But philosophy depends on contemplation.
You cannot divide yourself into two parts so that you put one part in front of your mind, and the other part starts contemplating. There is no possibility of dividing your consciousness into two parts. And even if there were any possibility—there is none, but just for argument’s sake I am saying if there were any possibility to divide your consciousness in two—then the one that contemplates about the other is you; the one being contemplated is not you.
The object is never you.
Your are the subject; There is no way to turn you into an object.
It is just like a mirror. The mirror can reflect you, the mirror can reflect everything in the world, but can you manage to make this mirror reflect itself? You cannot put this mirror in front of itself, by the time you put it in front of itself it is no longer there. The mirror itself cannot mirror itself. Consciousness is exactly a mirror. You can use it as concentration for some object. You can use it as contemplation for some subject matter.