Pulkit Sharma shares helpful practices to help you meditate better and urges you to creatively design and modify your meditation routine to realise your unique aspiration.
A few years ago, a spiritual master reluctantly approached me for psychotherapy. He was serving as the head of a yoga sect and had been meditating for over four decades. He shared that he had made great spiritual progress by the standards of his yoga system and for the last ten years, had been initiating and guiding other aspirants. However, he candidly admitted that some perverse thoughts continued to bother him, and at times it became difficult for him to distract himself from those thoughts. As a result, he was deeply disturbed and wondered whether his spiritual growth was just a farce. Although the spiritual master had an intense desire to evolve spiritually, one may wonder where he went wrong. If we look around, there are many people like him who completely devote their lives to meditation in the hope that it will automatically uplift them into a transcendental consciousness, but perfection eludes them. Then what is the way out?
Correct guidance is extremely relevant, especially in today’s times, when new schools of yoga are sprouting up in every nook and corner, each claiming their meditation technique to be the best. Though this boom in spiritual sects has given seekers many options, it has also confused them. Spiritual aspirants wonder which technique of meditation is the best. They often come up with queries like how should one sit, should one focus on an object or just let the mind wander and observe whatever comes up, is there a mantra that, when repeated, bestows spiritual powers, how long in a day should one devote to meditation, and what are the indicators that one is making progress? When faced with a similar dilemma, a careful reading of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’s writings helped me dispel the illusion around meditation, giving me clarity on what meditation really is and how one must practice it. While everyone is different and needs to find their own way, I found the following practices quite helpful.
A common mistake that spiritual aspirants make is they carry a mental notion of meditation and then try to realise it. At a certain hour, they withdraw into a closed room, sit in a specific position, shut their eyes, and try to concentrate. They instruct everyone around not to disturb them. If there is any disturbance in the external environment or within them, they feel restless and try their best to eliminate it. The spiritual aspirants believe that by doing this they will make progress. What they don’t realize is that the mind creates notions, chases them, and then tries to fulfil these mental ideas which rarely lead to the depths of our being. The Mother encourages us to challenge these mental ideas of meditation and look for a deeper, more personalised and dynamic way of contemplation.
“Most of the time, people try to concentrate and enter into a kind of half sleepy and, in any case, very tamasic (dark and negative) state. They become some kind of inert thing; the mind is inert, the feeling is inert, the body is immobile. They can remain like that for hours, for there is nothing more durable than inertia. And these people, when they come out of their meditation, sincerely believe that they have done something great. But they have simply gone down into inertia and unconsciousness.”
Therefore, we should let go of the mental conditioning around meditation and find ways that allow a better contact with one’s soul. For instance, some people may feel this connect when sitting in solitude, while others may experience it when immersed in a specific activity. The bottom line is that we should feel free to explore and try all possible variations in meditation until we hit upon a method that resonates with our soul. And when we find it, we should confidently use it as a guide for our spiritual journey.
To progress spiritually, it is crucial to develop a relentless aspiration for firstly, knowing, then living, and finally, becoming the truth. For most of us, the aspiration is weak and inconsistent. When the aspiration is faint, conflicted, or non-existent, then none of the esoteric postures, mantras, or techniques can make even the slightest difference to consciousness. However, we must realise that no one can bestow a relentless aspiration upon us, and it is only through our undying efforts that the flame of aspiration will grow bigger and bigger, engulfing all difficulties. Therefore, we need to find ways to cultivate our aspiration.
It helps to constantly remind ourselves of the aspiration. Starting our day by remembering our aspiration and praying that all thoughts, emotions and activities that we indulge in, must be in service of this ideal, can be very helpful for many people. While going to bed, we can once again evoke our aspiration with a prayer that its flame should not be dimmed by the darkness of the night and the unconsciousness of our sleep. Also, we have a few free moments between different activities during the day, when we laze around. Rather than spending this time browsing electronic gadgets, seeking vital pleasures, or gossiping, we can use it for remembering and strengthening our aspiration. Slowly, we must aim to reach the stage where we feel, think, and do everything while keeping this aspiration at the centre.
According to The Mother, the technique of meditation is trivial, but what gives meditation the power to transform the consciousness is the aspiration behind it. When an individual constantly aspires to be united with the Divine and bring divine consciousness to all parts of his being, then whatever he does becomes the best meditation.
“If while doing what you must – whatever it may be, whatever work it is – you are careful not to forget the Divine, to offer to Him what you do and try to give yourself to Him that He may change all your reactions – instead of their being selfish, petty, stupid and ignorant, making them luminous, generous –then in that way you will make progress.”
It is common to hear people complain that they have been practising meditation and yoga for a long period, but there has been little change in their consciousness. What they don’t realise is that any deeper change requires time, tolerance and hard work. Often there are several cycles of back and forth movements until we reach the final destination. If we wish to evolve spiritually, we must develop tolerance and patience to take these difficulties in our stride; otherwise, we will be fraught with negativity. Rather than blaming ourselves or the Divine for impediments to our spiritual growth, we must reflect upon and learn from our failures and continue to intensify our efforts. With this attitude, eventually, all obstacles are cleared. Sri Aurobindo encouraged us to face such difficulties by remaining calm and keeping our faith intact.
“Even if the aspiration were there, the interval periods would come. If even in them one can aspire, so much the better – but the main thing is to meet them with quietude and not become restless, depressed or despondent.”
Sri Aurobindo also assured us that failure and suffering on the path of yoga are not a random occurrence but a part of the Divine plan. The difficulties are given to us only because we have a great potential within to surpass them. If there were no difficulties, then we would have wasted our lives in inertia and pleasure-seeking. All difficulties are intended to motivate us to evolve, provided we can look at them from a different perspective. Therefore, in the face of all the difficulties, we must keep our patience and faith, so that the latent inner strength can come to the foreground and help us convert the shadow into light.
As we learn to go deeper within ourselves, we discover an important entity. There is a part deep within each one of us which carries a spark of the Divine Consciousness and believes that the sole aim of being born is to become one with the Divine. When this part comes to the centre stage, then meditation becomes a way of life and not an isolated activity. This part wants only the Divine and no approximations. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother called this the ‘psychic being’ within us. When we become aware of this part, we need to develop a strong connection with it, so that all our other parts get integrated into it.
Developing this connection can be very difficult because our bodies, minds and desires have their own superficial, baser agenda, which they resist giving up. Most of us have experienced moments when we strongly feel that our birth has a special purpose that must be fulfilled, but very often, this deeper call gets suppressed by the loud noises of our daily life. To evolve spiritually and form a deeper connection, we need to make all these parts give up their resistance and surrender to the Divine. Sri Aurobindo believed that for spiritual transformation, one’s surrender needs to be total and complete.
“Do not imagine that truth and falsehood, light and darkness, surrender and selfishness, can be allowed to dwell together in the house consecrated to the Divine. The transformation must be integral; therefore, the rejection of all that withstands it.”
“Surrender is giving oneself to the Divine—to give everything one is or has to the Divine and regard nothing as one’s own, to obey only the Divine will and no other, to live for the Divine and not for the ego.”
Different parts of our being can be purified and encouraged to surrender through a three-pronged approach. Firstly, we need to restrain the expression of various negative tendencies in our actions, feelings and thoughts. Additionally, an equal effort must be made to cultivate positive tendencies in our actions, feelings and thoughts, which will counter the negative ones. Thirdly, we need to practice offering all our different parts, thoughts, emotions, desires and actions to the Divine, with a wish and prayer that they may be transformed. Through this repeated practice, when the entire being is transformed and nothing in oneself resists the Divine force, the surrender becomes perfect and the connection is robust.
In a nutshell, it is crucial to understand that meditation is not an end in itself but only a method to help in our evolution. Our focus should be on this evolution and not the method per se. Meditation is important only to the extent that it helps us in fulfilling this goal; otherwise, it becomes just another random mental activity. We need to feel free to creatively design and modify our meditation in a manner that helps each and every part within us to transform and become divinized.
What gives meditation the power to transform is the aspiration behind it. Therefore, we must devote ourselves to nurture this aspiration within and outside of meditation. If someone meditates for an hour a day, they are likely to make good progress if they could also keep this aspiration alive for the rest of the day and night. Even then dark periods and lapses are bound to come, and one must respond to them with faith and persistence. The Divine is within us, and we can connect with him easily when we purify all parts of our being through rigorous self-offering.
Pulkit Sharma is a Clinical Psychologist and Spiritual Therapist in private practice at Pondicherry.
Life Positive follows a stringent review publishing mechanism. Every review received undergoes -
Only after we're satisfied about the authenticity of a review is it allowed to go live on our website
Our award winning customer care team is available from 9 a.m to 9 p.m everyday
All our healers and therapists undergo training and/or certification from authorized bodies before becoming professionals. They have a minimum professional experience of one year
All our healers and therapists are genuinely passionate about doing service. They do their very best to help seekers (patients) live better lives.
All payments made to our healers are secure up to the point wherein if any session is paid for, it will be honoured dutifully and delivered promptly
Every seekers (patients) details will always remain 100% confidential and will never be disclosed