Being from a hill station in the northern part of India, I spent most of my childhood high up in the mountains. The trees, the valleys, the wildlife, the snow in winters, all these were very much a part of my life. There used to be a small lake high up in the mountains which were completely glacier fed. The lake was just in the middle of four mountain peaks. It was like multiple rocks crossing each other forming a deep gorge in-between and forming a lake. That very lake is the most appropriate example if we have to understand our life in a very fundamental way. The depth of the lake, the ripples on the surface and the reflection of the glacier on the lake water is like the story of inner life. The depth of the lake is like the life (also called as ‘Being’) within us which is the ground of our existence just like the very base of the lake is essential for the lake to exist.
The ripples on the surface are like the activities of our conscious mind but the whole depth of the lake is silent. If the conscious mind could deepen and incorporate the more silent levels of awareness, then the ability of the mind to be at ease & perform any kind of action without friction increases many folds. Which means the very way we perceive life gets enhanced. That’s what meditation brings forth in our life. We get more and deeper within ourself to such an extent that nothing remains unexplored within.
The reflection of the glacier on the lake water is like the impressions of the objects that our mind perceives in the physical world. Now as long as we are not able to maintain the deeper levels of awareness within, the mind gets imprinted with the perceptual experience of those objects. This leads our mind towards the bondage because we become slaves of our mind and the experiences which are being caused because of the material objects of perception. Once we become the slave of the mind, We lose our essential nature which is Blissfulness and gains the temporary joy of the transient reflections of the world. When our experience of life gets overshadowed by the objects of perception, It seems like the experience of the subject is no longer there. Such a life where the value of the material dominates, this is called as material life.
But if we are able to sustain our meditative process, then slowly we start to go deeper and deeper into various levels of awareness and ultimately to the source of our thought. Once we reach there, we experientially realize that there is something which is more fundamental than our thought process. That is where we are able to transcend our psychological thinking and we fall into the lap of the ever pervading presence from where all thought process emerges.
Let’s take an example to understand it more fundamentally. When you go to see a movie, you see there is a big white screen which is supporting the whole drama. The moment the light gets projected to and reflected from that background white screen, you start to experience the movie as if it is real and you completely forget about the screen as if it no longer exists. Now if I remove the background screen, then you won’t even see the projector light, forget about seeing the drama which that light is projecting. Which means the experience of the movie is completely gone once the Cinema screen is removed.
Now if I have to apply that analogy here, The life or the being within us is like the ‘Background Screen’ in a movie theatre which is present in our life all the time. Only because there is being (or awareness) within us which is the very source of our life, there is a possibility of thought, emotion, physical activity etc. Once you lose the connection with your being, that’s where you start to lose the control over your life. However, if you meditate, then the experience of your being comes to the foreground. Once the experience of the being comes to the foreground, then you are completely involved in the drama of life, but you will never get entangled in it.
So in the previous example of the movie theatre & the projector screen, you will completely enjoy the drama being shown, but at the same time, you will be completely aware that this is just a temporary drama (which is not even real) happening on the top of a non changing projector screen & will be over soon. Once you have that level of awareness then you will enjoy the movie all the way more than in a usual case where you get deeply identified with the characters of the movie and start thinking that this is real. The moment you start to experience something nonexistential as real that’s the genesis of suffering.
In yoga, the being within us is essentially known as ‘Bliss Consciousness’. Once we touch this dimension within us, then we are able to maintain that bliss even when we are exposed to the external world. This makes us capable to clearly perceive what is actually real and what is not. This empowers us to enjoy all the comforts of the material life, this empowers us to go through all the atrocities of the physical world, but still, we never lose our essential nature no matter what kind of situation we get exposed to. This is what is called as the Spiritual Life. A life where we are involved with the material world (if we wish to), but our experience of life is not overshadowed by the nature of our activity (Be it mental or physical).
This is life in eternal liberation and without this life is in bondage because when we lose the essential nature of who we are, then we get crushed by cycles of time. But if we are in touch with our inner core, then the external situations can no longer push us off the track.
The innumerable life forms which we see in the entire world are different layers of manifestation of the fundamental conscious element present in the cosmos. This presence is the background screen for all kinds of activities and manifestation in the existence. This is the ground upon which the dance of life happens. Nature has blessed us with enormous beauty but if we are in a sad and miserable mood then we can’t even enjoy what’s already out there. In order to experience this vast enormous immeasurable beauty, we need an open heart, we need a mind which is open to all possibilities of life, We need an intention which is not corrupted by the conditioned thought process of so-called society. Only if we do this, we can regain our original nature.
If only everyone could practice meditation in its real essence which is taught as a scientific method and not as a dogma, will we be able to make this entire world happy and joyful. From the depth of my heart, It’s my wish that everyone should make use of Yoga & Meditation to experience that being which has the capability to completely transform our life in ways which we can never imagine possible.
Peace & Love!