Yesterday my colleague walked into my office and said he wanted to learn how to meditate. He eagerly asked me, “So… is meditation really an out of body experience? I want to feel that.” A big smile spread across my face and I said, “Its really an in your body experience.” He stared at me for a whole minute trying to understand. I knew he didn’t understand and it was OK. I told him that meditation was more about going deep within your Self than going out of your Self. It is about having the heart to see and accept yourself as you are and then working on yourself even more till you reach the ultimate goal of Self Realization.
As I mentioned in my recent blog, “Too Cool To Meditate?” that people have highly exaggerated ideas about spirituality and meditation because of the way spirituality has been marketed to us these days. The only way to understand meditation is to actually do it and feel its effects on you. Many friends including my colleague have asked me what was the most profound effect that meditation has had on me. While I believe that a person’s spiritual evolution has many phases, my current phase is that of fearlessness.
My spiritual Master always reminded us of the famous Spartan saying, “Come Back With Your Shield Or On It.” He said the same is applicable to spirituality. There is no other way of returning from the war. He also said that he wanted lions and not sheep. One lion is worth 500 sheep. The idea of being fearless like the Spartans or like a lion sounds very glamorous but how does one truly become fearless? How does one attain that state of being? And why is courage and fearlessness needed in spirituality in the first place? People say, “Isn’t the practice of meditation something that you do in a silent corner all by yourself…hidden from the world? Why would you need courage for this peaceful activity?”
My response has always been this – “Doing adrenaline related activities takes a lot of external and visible courage but to actually sit down and meditate takes much more courage than one can imagine. Try it and you will know what I mean.”
When I started meditating nine years ago, I did not imagine that I would be at this stage today. I was not even thinking about things like courage or being fearless. The fact that I share the phases of my spiritual evolution with you all is so surprising to me and a proof that I am headed in that direction. Even as a child, I have had the reputation of being a System Buster in my family but this is something else.
The biggest life-changing effect that the practice of meditation has had on me is that it brought me face to face with myself. I started seeing who I really was. It made me extremely aware of my flaws and also my gifts. When my flaws or my darker side was revealed to me, I did not like who I was. I felt heavy. I felt burdened and suffocated. Sometimes, I just wanted to shower multiple times a day with the hope of washing away my negativities but I knew this was deeper than that. It had settled in the depths of my being. Meeting myself with all the inner baggage was not fun. The pain was so deep that I had sleepless nights. Eventually, I realized that there are no shortcuts to a Spartan Heart!
I continued to meditate. I was not at ease being who I was but meditation also gave me the courage to accept who I was and embrace it. Discovering myself and being friends with myself in spite of all the shortcomings required heart. Being aware of who you are is always better than being completely ignorant about your present spiritual stage, no matter what it is. It took a lot of hard work to work on myself. My spiritual Master has said that the most important thing in spirituality is obedience. With time, I realized that this obedience is not towards an external Master but towards the Master within me. By no means was I even remotely there when I started my spiritual pursuit.
With practice, I have been able to get rid of most of my negativities and I still continue to work on it. Be it my ego, guilt, doubt, fear, speech, deeds, or thoughts, I started paying careful attention to it. I am an extremely loving and empathetic individual and I was not willing to share that sacred space of love with other negativities anymore. It slowed down the process of being human. With more and more meditation, all my facades melted and masks fell off. I was finally the same person at home, work, and everywhere else I went. It felt wonderful to be one and in tune with Nature. I felt lighter each day. I love the feeling of being light because it makes me feel alive in true sense. With the negativities leaving me, my heart had more space for love to flow into it.
I automatically started doing the right thing when I stopped doing the wrong thing. For example, if I had a negative thought in my mind, I immediately replaced it with a positive one. Most of the times we are not even aware of our negative thoughts, let alone replacing them with positive ones. This is where meditation comes into play. It regulates our mind and makes us aware of our being. When I do right and think right, I have nothing to fear. I derive more and more courage from within me to live life fearlessly with each passing day. I started liking the person who I became on the other side of meditation.
Being an unleashed free spirit has never been so meaningful and joyful. Nobody starts by being lion-hearted. It is a process. There will always be a lot of mental battles, twisted logics, and pity parties – all justifying why we shouldn’t obey our inner Master or do the right thing but the heart will always win in the end, no matter what. So stop fighting with your heart and give it a chance. The time of the Heart has arrived!