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What is Meditation?

When people hear the word "meditation," they understand it according to their own concepts. Some understand that meSwFlowerEdited.jpg (17396 bytes)ditation is for a recluse who has turned his back on the world and active life. Others understand it to be a technique practiced under the guidance of a master, guru, or saint who has renounced the world. Still others think that meditation is a way to control the mind and concentrate its energy to make greater use of its power.

Because it is so widely believed to be only for those who have escaped from worldly life, very few are able to grasp the full, practical reality of meditation . . .

    Within the heart of every man is the desire to improve, to become greater than he is, whatever his understanding of this greatness may be. This shows that everyone feels imperfect or unfulfilled in some way. Man wishes to find something , some means or basis that will enable him to reach the perfection for which he has taken birth, the attainment of which will enable him to live harmoniously with people, the world, and the circumstances of life as they confront him.

Having read religious scriptures which indicate that there is a way to achieve the final goal of life, a man still does not believe in that goal because he finds no relation between religion and the life of an individual. Rather, it seems that there are discrepancies between how a religious man lives and what he preaches so that no one wants to follow the injunctions recorded in scriptures. Thus, a man remains confused about what to do in his lifetime and becomes the victim of life's struggles, constantly overpowered by circumstances that create doubt and tension.

Therefore, for all those who are interested in their inner well-being, I am introducing an technique of meditation which is not dogmatic, will not seem futile, can be understood by all, can easily be practiced, and moreover whose beneficial results will be felt by everyone who practices it. The mind will know the result in the form of joy and freedom from doubt, skepticism and confusion, while on the level of the body, one will become healthier, happier and freer from weakness.

For the sake of clear understanding, I call this technique Shyam Dhyaan, Meditation on Space. The word "Shyam" means the blue Space generally perceived when the eyes are closed and one is on a higher plane of consciousness. One sees this very clear, blue Space with the vision of one's own mind when every level of mind, intellect, and ego has been transcended. The experience of this Space can be compared to looking into clear ocean water from the surface of which one can see fish swimming far below and can even see the ocean floor. Dhyaan (meditation) means keeping the attention on that Space all the time.

For example, when looking at a monument like the Taj Mahal, if your attention is not on its marble, the details of its construction, or the cost, and your mind is thereby not involved in the structure, rather your attention is fixed on the background Space, then that Space immediately projects itself onto your mind and heart. You feel you r own excellence, expansion, brightness, clarity and freedom because these are the very qualities of Space.

In the same way, whenever you see any object, person or thought, simply put your attention on the Space at the back of that thought, object or person. Know that it is the background Space that has appeared as a thought; it is the Space that projects itself as the object which is seen and the person who sees. It is all one field of Existence, free from size, colour, and contour.

When the same Space assumes the dimension of any thought, object or person, it has not changed its basic quality as Space. That Space is everywhere. Focusing the attention on Shyam Space is meditation.

- Swami Shyam
from Why Meditation?