This has been on my mind from the past 2 months. I have been wanting to blog about it for such a long time. I may not sound very clear as the topic I want to blog about is very complex and when I bring it from the level of thoughts to level of words, some stuff does slip out though. Not everything I think of can be translated into words easily.
I have wondered about religion, spirituality and meditation for a long time. First I tried to take my refuge in my religion. But being not able to speak or read the native language of my God’s literature (as it was Arabic) I couldn’t be very successful. This was like 20 years back. So I gave up on religion and kinda didn’t pay much attention to God as an organized form of following till I met with the concept of Spirituality. There was this one book which I believe completely changed my belief system and made me admire and love ‘The God’ more and more.
It was ‘Conversations with God – Book 1‘. Even though it has a Christian twist I was able able to very successfully block it out as I did with my very own religion and just tune into what the Author was really saying. When you do that you really understand the book. Otherwise, you would end up judging the book by it’s Christian value connotations which could be good or bad based up on where you grow up in this country. Anyhow, that book introduced me to Spirituality. Mind you, I am not referring to ‘Secularism’ here. I was down that path after Islam didn’t work out for me. I adopted a formula where I treated all religions as one (being the Libran I am). So, Spirituality came after Secularism.
That’s there, we will get back to that part of the story shortly. I wanted to talk about another trait of me. From my childhood I have been verily fascinated by Brain/Mind/Cognitive studies (although the term Cognitive studies is something I learned couple of months back, I have been interested in that study for a long time). May be it was my Dad’s influence where he imprinted on my mind that mind is the most powerful thing in our lives, may be it’s the popular Hindu belief that says ‘Mind can either bond you or liberate you’. Not sure what it was, but I have been fascinated by mind studies and cool things you could do with it.
I guess the fact that it looked very interesting to me was I got one right with me (I mean my mind) and I can do all the cool thigs with it. This is when I started to learn Harry Lorayne‘s super memory tricks. This is where I trained myself in ‘Vedic Mathematics‘ where I could multiply multiple numbers simultaneously and quickly. It started out as a play thing for me. I would look for information around me and see how I can organize it in my mind. I would not hesitate to take any help from outside. Like eating ‘Okra’ or ‘Bhendi’ as we Indians call it – would enhance your mental prowess and guess what my favorite curry, growing up was? When I was 18 I read an amazing biography of ‘Ramanujam‘ – the greatest mathematician ever lived, called ‘The Man who knew Infinity‘. I was obsessed with Maths and Number Theory. I read that book back to back 3 times but still couldn’t control my obsession. I wanted to have a brain like Ramanujam. In that book the author mentions that Ramanujam’s favorite curry growing up was ‘Brinjal’ or the way Americans call it – ‘Egg Plant’. And I adopted it thoroughly. Eating Egg plant atleast 3-4 times a week. Even though I didn’t like it back then.
So, to make the story short. When you come across Spirituality you also come across a very important tool of which is widely employed by many – Meditation. It was about mind control and I was hooked. Looking back – every religion has some kind of ritual built in where people can get into ‘meditative state’. Muslims pray and count the ‘Tasbih‘. Hindu’s pray and sit in ‘Dhyanam’. Sufism followers get into whirling to get into that state. So, this organized religions have all some way of rituals instilled within them so that they will let us have that one moment of zen.
But at the Spirituality level this is employed very openly and encouraged. But again, Spirituality is like a nameless river. Religions are all like named rivers. No matter how cool Spirituality may sound like but still it has it’s boundaries or edges. It’s still organized and any organized system inherently incorporates things that someday will break. Because to be complete and whole we have to include or take into consideration EVERYTHING. (This is where you should consider my warning of not being able to translate my thoughts into words, again)
So I realized that even Spirituality has it’s short comings and I just focused on Meditation. This was interesting phase and it still is for me. Now, we come to the point I want to put across. I know there are many variations in meditation again. But I think no matter what path you take in Meditation, all the paths are always leading to one destination. And that is ‘Self-Awareness’. That word has been used in so many contexts by now, each of you reading that word ‘Self-Awareness’ has different interpretation. So, let me tell explain what I mean by that.
The state of Self-Awareness is a gradual one. For some lucky people it’s instant. Like 1% of the whole humanity gets to Self-Awareness instantaneously. But since this blog is for the rest 99% I am going ahead with the statement that Self-Awareness is a gradual achievement. When you reach complete Self-Awareness you are in nirvana state. Nothing bothers you. Nothing concerns you. You function in this world perfectly, but nothing in this world will affect you.
So, how does this Meditation lead one to Self-Awareness? If you take all meditative processes and traditions there is something very common in all of them. It’s called – “Watching”. Yep. Watching. Watching the inner watcher who is watching the world. You see within us lie a powerful force which is functioning in a perfect way. There is something that helps us to pump our blood, breaths automatically, make the whole body function in perfect harmony. This is the core. A lot of people call it with lot many names. Atma, Soul, Higher Self, God etc.
Self-Awareness is the state where there is no difference between you and this Core. Where you are ALWAYS AWARE that You are this Core. Meditation kick starts this awareness process. So, how do you know whether you have started it? By watching. Watching your thoughts, feelings, actions without prejudice or judgement. As you start to watch yourself you will start to see how things are moving in the 4 dimension of space and time. This watching is very difficult in the beginning but with enough practice you will get to used to it.
Here is the beauty of it. Once you get to used to this watching – you will start to live life in a 3rd person. It’s as if you have separated yourself from self and you are living life in 3rd person. That’s what I mean when I say living life in 3rd person. Like some people refer to themselves in 3rd person, people who are advancing in meditation are living life in 3rd person, not just referring their names. This is such a powerful idea. That’s what you reap after years and years of meditation. Nirvana doesn’t come in few days. First comes awareness and then Nirvana follows. And meditation enables it.
So now if you look back to religions – we said that they have rituals which basically give a glimpse of what Mediatation does. So to reach a 3rd person life – you have to spend a lot of time in religion. But you can do it with meditation in short period of time. It’s an ardous process. We really don’t want to know what goes through our heads. We are so good at being in denial with our own thoughts and feelings. But once we start to watch and once we gather courage to face our internal stuff, we emerge victorious and happy. It doesn’t end there.
Scientists seriously believe that there are about 11 dimensions in our world. Google “String Theory” or watch this video. But we are only aware of 3 all the time. So where are the rest of the 8? If you take time into consideration you still have 7 more. I believe that those 7 are not outside of us. They are within us. Those 7 remaining dimensions are the stages or persons we will have to go within us to reach that core.
Once you start to watch your thought process in 3 person, after some time you would go one level higher. 4th person. You would be watching the watcher who is watching the watcher. It’s hard. Just imagine it. Close your eyes and see yourself sitting or standing or whatever you are doing right now. Now as you observe yourself try to pay attention to the person/entity who is observing you. I know I sound crazy, but if you can’t never mind. This is what I have learned and this is something I believe. As I go on my own meditation path, it fills me with wondrous possibilities.
Believe me life in 3rd person is really fascinating.