Meditation is one of the most discussed areas in the spiritual community. There are literally millions of webpages online that will give you the benefits of meditation, the positive effects and teach you how to do it. I am not going to give you any of those things again as it will just be a recycling session of other articles. Instead, I will try to present the information about meditation that are either unknown to many or rarely discussed. These secrets need to reach more people and this is precisely why I chose to write a piece on meditation.
Meditation does not affect ONLY you
In 1993, an experiment was conducted, lead by quantum physicist by the name of Dr. John Hagelin in Washington DC. To ensure fairness of the experiment and create a leak proof result capable of withstanding all critical queries, a review board was also set up comprising of various scientists and leaders from around the country. The experiment aimed to prove that meditation is such a powerful tool that it not only affects the meditator but also the surrounding area, and this could potentially reduce crime rates. The study began on 7th June when 800 meditators began meditating in Washington DC. The number had risen to nearly 4000 by the time the study ended 8 weeks later on 30th July. What was revealed was truly astounding. The increasing crime rates in Washington DC had reversed and had fallen by a whopping 23.3% ! This was the most notable change measured among a host of other benefits. After the study ended, the crime rates started climbing again.
It has been estimated that if only 1% of the population of any given area meditated everyday, it would positively affect the entire area. If just 1 person meditated in a building where 10 people lived, the meditator would have a positive effect on the the energies of the other 9 people living in the building. This later came to be called by many as the ‘Maharishi Effect’. In the case of Washington DC, the meditating population was greater than 1%, but imagine the effect this would have if 1% of the population in every country in the world meditated everyday. You could literally end all wars and violence by influencing the energy of an area and the vibration of people. The key to world peace is in plain sight and yet has been unknown to everyone.
Thoughtless and Timeless in a digital age
The world owes a lot to Hinduism and Buddhism for researching the vast depths of meditation and bringing it to light. The Eastern philosophy equates meditation to one of the tools that aides in spiritual enlightenment. It is not merely something working on a physical plane to relieve bodily stresses but works on the etheric realm by shifting consciousness to a higher plane. It rids your mind of the worldly chatter. Thoughts come in and go out. But that is not you. The true you, i.e your true essence is the gap between your 2 thoughts. That fleeting moment of emptiness, that brief vacuum of nothingness between your 2 thoughts is where the divine resides. Your aim should be to reach there.
Meditating has become a tall order for many in the digital age where things have become fast. Food has become fast food, internet has become fast and wireless, modes of transport are faster and there is even a concept of ‘fast fashion’, a fashion that goes obsolete if you don’t play catch up to the latest trends. The system has been cleverly designed such that you are always in a ‘hurry’ mode and thinking about what happens next instead of living in the ‘present’ moment. Meditation is that ‘present’ moment.
There are many people stuck in this ‘hurry’ mode who need to slow down. You can only connect with the divine when you are moving very slow, thinking about this moment. Renowned author Wayne Dyer has rightly said, “Become slower in your journey through life. Practice yoga and meditation if you suffer from ‘hurry sickness.’ Become more introspective by visiting quiet places such as churches, museums, mountains and lakes.”
When many people begin meditation in their efforts to slow down and connect with the divine, they rush to reach the end result. They bring their ‘hurry’ mode into meditation. But you cannot force a flower to bloom. Meditation cannot be forced. The more you try to stop the thoughts coming in, the more efforts it would require and the more thoughts would pour into your mind as a result. Instead of forcing anything, just let it be. If a thought comes in while meditating, let it come and let it pass by. Do not try to force anything, just observe the thought. Over a period of time, the mind will learn to settle and you will feel lesser thoughts passing by. Eventually, you will reach a state of thoughtlessness. This state of thoughtlessness is outside the dimension of time. In other words, it is timeless. You reach a place that is not defined by time. This region is both thoughtless and timeless.
Lesser known techniques of meditation
I will not teach you how to meditate as there are several books and webpages already available that have enormous information on the topic, but I will introduce you to a few techniques that are not well known and are rarely discussed in conjunction with meditation.
A myth surrounding meditation has to be cleared. You have to understand that meditation does not necessarily mean sitting in a lotus position with your eyes closed, even though that is the most preferred way to meditate. The concept of meditation is to just be in the ‘here and now’ and focus on doing what you are doing in the ‘present moment’ with no other thought entering your mind. So, in a sense, meditation can also be done while one is walking slowly in nature. If you are completely thoughtless and are present only in the act of the slow barefoot nature walk, then that could very well be your meditation session. In this case, you have replaced the ‘sitting’ with walking. Some people are completely and fully engrossed in a ‘mandala’ colouring session with no other thoughts entering their mind. That becomes their way of meditating.
If you prefer to sit in the traditional lotus position and focus on just breathing, then that could be your technique. In short, anything could be turned into a meditation session, if you enter a thoughtless space. This is why Alan Watts had said, “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” But the lotus position is the most commonly used and one I recommend usually.
(1) Sound and meditation
If you have read my article on sound, you would know how powerful sound is, not just for healing your body but also to program your brainwaves. These sound frequencies can be harnessed during meditation. The human brain can exists in several different states depending on the situation. This is seen in the image below.
Sound can be used to alter these brain frequencies to bring us into a hypnogogic state for meditation. The best way to achieve this is through binaural beats. I have personally used binaural beats to bring my brain waves into alpha and theta states during meditation. I use sound during the initial few minutes of the meditation session and once my brainwaves are stable, the music tapers off leaving me in that state. Some have tried to use Solfeggio frequencies but I personally have found success in binaural beats. There are several binaural beats audio available on YouTube, or if you would like to purchase a specific frequency of tone, then HemiSync have a complete collection of binaural sounds. I have tried both the YouTube versions and HemiSync files and found binaural beats to be an effective tool.
Many of the ancient cultures (and some cultures even today) have ceremonial drumming, chanting and dancing around fire. People have often entered altered states of consciousness during such ceremonial acts. That is the effect of sound and the meditative states that the people achieve which brings them to such heightened states of consciousness. In ancient cultures as well, sound had been used, albeit in a different form, to bring such states of consciousness. Sound in the form of binaural beats can effectively be used for achieving deep meditative states. Chanting can also be done during meditation. Chanting a mantra gives an enormous boost to vibration and induces deep states of meditation. Monks who have been seen levitating (a very rare sight if you’re on the Himalayas and you’re lucky) often chant in deep meditative states (as seen here).
Also Read: Complete guide to Chakras: What is a Chakra?
(2) Acquiring superhuman psychic powers with meditation
Patanjali is considered the Father of Yoga. He gave the world Yoga that we have today. In book 3 of the Yogasutra, Patanjali has given us a specific form of meditation. This specific meditation, called the ‘Samyama’, can invoke supernatural powers in you. The 3 stages of Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) & Samadhi (transcendence) form the basis of Samyama. With respect to acquiring superhuman psychic powers, Samyama requires the application of all the 3 steps simultaneously towards a particular object, goal or person.
For example, when you see an object, you will know the details about the object in the physical form because your understanding is limited. But with Samyama, you will know the entire object in itself, not just the physical plane. With Samyama, you will become the object and all the secrets of the object will be revealed to you. In Samyama, the subject (meditator) becomes the object. This can be done with a tree or a flower or something else where you will become one with them and know everything. In case you have a body part you want to focus on or a chakra you need information on, Samyama will reveal it to you. Similarly, Samyama on the third eye or Sahasrara chakra will bestow psychic powers to you.
I would like to share a few more methods related to meditation that are not known to many, but I will write about it in another article as it would require some background introduction. Meditation affects not only you positively, but also everyone around you. Practice of certain powerful techniques or combining it with sound, you can reap the benefits of meditation. If children are taught to meditate 20 minutes a day, then violence could be eradicated from our world within a generation.