Meditation: Focus on Nothingness?!

I find there to be a compulsive need for perceived profundity in the average Indian discourse on meditation. One hears things like, “focus on nothingness”, “empty your mind”, “concentrate on your third eye”, “connect with the universe” and more on the same lines. Have you found similar so-called instructions, and found them impossible to comply with? I find quite a number of people are discouraged on hearing these directives, and I’m regularly on the receiving end of statements like, “I can’t meditate because I can’t make my mind blank”, among others. Are you in a similar boat? If so, read on.

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First, please go ahead discard literally everything you’ve ever heard about how to meditate, especially from Indian sources.

Generally speaking, we appear to believe ourselves to be the cradle of spirituality, with every one of us being a guardian, teacher and ambassador combined, of the millennia of accumulated wealth from our ancient books and knowledge. Perhaps this is why we have this strange manner of trying to make meditative practices seem far more complex and profound than they need to be.

Second, your mind will not go blank or empty, and you cannot focus on nothingness.

Our brains and minds don’t work that way. If you can’t do this, its absolutely fine. Very few can.

We’re designed in a manner that we cannot focus on nothingness which is a fairly silly thing to say when used in a practical context. Imagine the simplest digital camera, with just auto-focus. It needs an object to lock on to, to focus. It can either focus on, say your hand, or on the television further ahead. It cannot focus on the empty space in between your hand and the television.

Similarly, we too need something to focus on, rather than attempt to physically focus on an intellectual abstraction. And as long as we’re awake, every sensory input becomes a cue to our information retrieval mechanisms. The trick is to be aware of our sensors. More on that in a later article.

There’s also the phenomenon of what is usually referred to as, “stray thoughts”, which is another common reason I hear quoted when people explain why they simply cannot meditate. This too is a perfectly natural process, which must be understood and addressed. More on this too in another article.

Remember, meditation is a skill, not a talent.

Third, as much as it may seem that those who can meditate were born with the required qualities, and it may well be so for some of us, for the majority, meditation is a skill, not a talent, and skills can be learnt.

Meditation depends on achieving a state conductive for the activity, and that state is a state of trance, which is also the gateway for a number of different states and purposes. Depending on who we are as individuals, there are many different ways of entering this state, which we anyway do multiple times a day without being aware of it. That’s all we have to learn really. Some of us may have more to address, and some of us, less. On the whole, just understanding the process of entering trance is more than enough for most of us.

The very way simplest way to experience trance, is a guided meditation. I’ve linked to one of mine below. This one is for general relaxation. Please do listen to it and share your feedback and experience.

I hope this article was helpful. Please feel free to drop a comment or a question. 🙂

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