I hope you guys have been able to meditate after reading my meditation article, or maybe at least gave it a try? Now here we are gonna talk about the 4 stages involving Meditation which will actually lay out the true essence of it.
The whole essence of meditation is actually paying attention to your work, your relationships, your career, your health, and pretty much whatever you do in life. That’s the actual sense of meditation. Many people get lost in meditation only, hearing weird sounds, imagining strange objects. That’s of course, not the right way.
If you are aware of your actions TOTALLY, then you are in MEDITATION
So now there are two places where one can put their attention.
First is the outside world, where if you pay attention, you have a high probability of becoming successful. Wherever your interests are, it’s relatively easier to pay attention there, naturally. So, attention is connected to passion and interest. If you love cricket or baseball, then your attention is already there, you don’t have to put in any external efforts. This is among the top stages of Meditation.
1st Stage Of Meditation
Success is basically the outcome of paying attention to the outside world. But no matter how successful you become in the outer world; it doesn’t guarantee your mental peace. Nevertheless, this is very necessary as this is the preliminary stage, just like the kinder garden.
If one can’t clear this stage, then it is doubtful that he will qualify for the further stages. That’s why I always keep saying to pay attention to your WORK, to first clear this level. Now everyone’s definition of success in the outer world is different. Be it a business or a job, you gotta be stable enough to fulfill all the basic needs.
So, the first stage of meditation is to start paying your undivided ATTENTION to whatever work you are doing and become successful in it.
Don’t Like your work? Doesn’t Matter
Now many people say that they, unfortunately, have to do the jobs they don’t like. I say it’s very fortunate. If you can start paying attention and focus on something you don’t like, then just imagine what you can do once you start putting your attention on things that you are actually passionate about.
So whatever work you are doing, excel in it. We can make our work, business, or job a whole lot better if we see the challenges we are facing with a relaxed, peaceful mind.
BUT the problem is that we are not available for the actuality. We are busy scrolling our Instagram pages and checking the number of likes we got for our selfies. And because we are not accessible to what’s really there, we are unable to see the reality. We just keep on running behind illusions all our life which is why we can’t focus on our work.
Now, why don’t people know about it? Because no one taught them how. No problem is big enough for you if you can peacefully look at the problem and stay with it, which is the real essence of meditation.
2nd Stage Of Meditation
Once you clear this level, the next stage of meditation involves dealing with your body. We do a lot of work through the body, but alas very few, ON the body. This is one of those stages of meditation that has been overlooked for far too long. Start paying attention to your body. Just like after a long drive, you might service your car for better performance; similarly, it’s very necessary to service your body.
Understand your BODY
This is the second level of meditation; the body’s diet, weight, flexibility, and the basic required knowledge of bodily functions so that the body supports you when you need it the most.
People tend to leave this stage and act on it only when it becomes a matter of death and life. Most of the people are built this way only, where they feel the need to act just when it becomes urgent. We never pay attention to what’s IMPORTANT.
Do you remember Aesop’s fable of the goose and the golden egg? Let me give you a small gist of it real quick. One morning a farmer finds a glittering, golden-colored egg sitting beneath his goose. At first, he thinks it is some kind of a joke, but he reluctantly decides to have the egg measured.
To much of the farmer’s amazement, the egg was pure GOLD! And each morning his prized goose continues laying the valuable eggs. The farmer in turn becomes extremely wealthy. But he also becomes greedy and impatient.
One day in his frustration the farmer kills the goose, hoping to get all of the golden eggs at once from inside the goose. As you would have guessed, the farmer got nothing. And now, he has neither a goose nor any more golden eggs.
So, how is it related to the body? Let’s see!
The Moral of the Story
The moral of this story is normally about the danger of greed. The farmer grasped for too much wealth in too short of a time. There is always a tension between results and the ability to produce those results (the effectiveness.)
Stephen R. Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (affiliate link) describes the essence of effectiveness:
Effectiveness lies in the balance – what I call the P/PC Balance. P stands for production of desired results, the golden eggs. PC stands for production capability, the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs.
The P/PC Balance
The P/PC Balance is about balancing between two extremes:
- Extreme #1: Focusing only on golden eggs or producing short-term results. In the long run, you lose your ability to produce results at all because you never nurture your production capacity.
- Extreme #2: Focusing only on the goose or production capacity. Without short-term results, you will not survive (literally or figuratively) to see the long-term payoff.
Either extreme is a problem. So, you have to strive for a balance between the two. And that delicate balance is the essence of effectiveness. Hence, you gotta work on your PC, which is your body in this case, which will get you all the P you are looking for in life.
You have to work at this balance if you want to be consistently effective in any area of your life. This includes your job, ability to earn money, relationships, and of course health.
3rd Stage of Meditation
This is one of the trickiest stages of meditation. It involves controlling your senses, effectively conquering yourself. Feelings, emotions, and thoughts. When you have passed the above two stages, you are very much ready to understand what is the mind and how it functions. Now, you can’t control something you don’t understand, which is why to control and calm your mind, you need to have some knowledge about it.
Start Staying with the Problem
Every problem is its very own solution. But we are interested in the solution and not the problem, and that is the problem. Your very own experience is enough to figure this out. We are not designed to stay with the pain, we just want to overcome it asap.
Once we start learning to stay with the pain, once we start learning to stay with the problems, then they all become negligible when compared to the outrageous space they had occupied in our brain before. It’s all cause and effect. 99% of the time, we work on the effect. If you have a cold, you will just take a pill to cure it until it happens again. We need to start looking into the root cause of these problems to uproot them completely.
Now the funny part is, we all know this. I didn’t tell you anything you didn’t already know. But then still why don’t we comply? Ask yourselves, why don’t you stay with a problem for long enough? Don’t worry I am not gonna tell you; some things you just have to figure things out for yourselves, otherwise, you will always be dependent on somebody else.
Paying Attention Outside VS Inside
SO now what’s the difference between paying attention in the outside world compared to paying attention in the inside world? When you pay attention outside, you have to ACT to make a difference. If you pay attention to your business, you need to ACT to take some actions, or you need to ACT to go to an interview to get that dream job.
Similar is the case with your body. Once you figure out what needs to be done, you gotta go and exercise. Relying on just thinking is not enough here. Without action, thinking doesn’t get anything done. But when you pay attention to your mind, you don’t have to do anything.
Just Understanding Is Enough
We are obsessed with practices, one which is not required here. Understanding of the mind, is in turn, controlling the mind. All the depression, anxiety, and stress occur due to overthinking. Overthinking is done based on your memories. If somehow one removes all your memories, then there is no past, no future, no emotions, and no feelings left.
You can’t think without a memory. You can’t have a memory of the present. The memory you had was of a second before. Never the present. People try to fight with their minds, their memories, and their feelings. All we have to do is understand that they are nothing but ghosts. A thing of the past. Nothing else.
You can’t actually see your mind, only your brain through an MRI scan but not the mind. You can’t physically see your memories. So, don’t try to overpower something which you created in the first place. You can’t fight off a ghost. The more you try to fight it off, the stronger it becomes.
All you need is the basic understanding that a ghost is just a figment of your imagination and it will cease to exist automatically, the moment you improve your understanding. You gotta have interest though to actually understand what I am talking about.
Don’t Confuse Materialistic Success With Happiness
One way to actually pay attention to this is when you achieve the previous two levels and understand that they are not the real source of HAPPINESS. The void you may be trying to fill in your lives with money will always remain unfilled. Because money is just a means to fulfill your needs and provide you a comfortable life, which is absolutely fine. Don’t confuse it with happiness.
At the time you have passed the previous two stages, that will be the opportune moment for you to start asking these types of questions.
I don’t want you guys to skip the previous two levels, and directly jump over here. Those who leave it, keep thinking about it all their lives. Moreover, you gotta eat somehow, right, you would want a roof over your head and be able to provide for your family.
Now, becoming free of your mind doesn’t mean that you will stop having thoughts or emotions. It would mean that the mind won’t have any power over you. The thoughts won’t have any control over you.
Once you can act irrespective of your own worst thoughts or the best thoughts then that will actually make you FREE. The thoughts exist because of you, and not the other way around.
Ultimately the mind will become a good servant just the way it was always meant to be, instead of a poor master.
4th Stage of Meditation
And then the last stage remains. Asking yourselves,” Who am I?” This is one of those stages of meditation that goes beyond everything; nothing is above this. Once this question grabs your attention, all the pettiness and triviality go away. You keep on asking this question enough times, and answers start appearing. You start understanding who you are.
And once you understand who you are, then you can detach yourself from all those things that you are not, psychologically, not physically of course.
Let’s take a basic example. If you keep on chanting that you are the shirt you are wearing for the next 20 years; what will happen?
You will act based on this understanding. If coffee spills over you, you will get dirty. If you keep on washing the shirt, again and again, it will start having wrinkles and creases. It will become worn out. One day it will actually become unwearable and will die.
This body is also like this. As long as you think you are your body, then suffering is inevitable. You gotta question your deepest beliefs regarding your own identity!
Are you really your body? If yes, then what do you have in your body that you can actually call your own? Think about it. As this answer goes deep within you, you will comprehend a really wonderful thing, which is that the real you; it doesn’t need to try to be peaceful, in fact, there’s isn’t a way to disturb that peace.
Once we understand this completely, not just intellectually but at an experiential level, then that is called absolute peace of mind, which is called permanent happiness. And how can we experience it? Just by listening to the Sound of Silence. In case you are wondering what this sound is all about, I suggest you read this article.
So, we don’t need to achieve HAPPINESS, we just have to UNDERSTAND that our very basic nature is, HAPPINESS.