What is Meditation?
Meditation has been glorified in the Hindu scriptures as the most sacred vocation of the human being. Humans alone ar capable of this highest effort, by which they can hasten their own evolution and rise beyond the mind and intellect, the factors that limit them. Once an individual successfully transcends these limitations, he enters in the higher planes of perfection.
If we are simply advised to meditate, we will not be able to benefit from the advice since, as a generation, we are not ready to follow any advice unless it is based upon reason. Unless we know what meditation is, how are we to meditate? Thus, we require detailed explanation before we can understand exactly what the scriptures mean by prolonged meditation (dhyana).
Few of us can remain for a single moment without the mind and intellect roaming in clusters of thoughts. the question us: How can we control and regulate the production of flow of our thoughts? Only when we have developed a steady hold on our thoughts, and when we have gained mastery in controlling and directing their flow, can we say that we have become full-fledged human beings – or that we are capable of meditation.
The animal world, too, has a mind and intellect, though not fully developed. the human being is different from and superior to animals only through his capacity to integrate and develop, through conscious effort, both his mind and intellect. Once integrated, the vacillating mind comes under full control of the discriminating intellect.
When the mind gets thus chastened, the clarity and brilliance of that individual’s intellect also come about. Thus each serves the other. The cultivation of this control leads to the development of a fuller personality, and this marks the beginning of meditation.
– adapted from the book ‘Meditation and Life’ written by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda