The Importance of Meditation
What Meditation Means
Sadhguru: Meditation or dhyana means to go beyond the limitations of the physical body and the mind. Only when you transcend the limited perspective of the body and mind do you have a complete dimension of life within you.
Your body is just a heap of food you have eaten. Your mind is just a heap of impressions you have gathered from the outside.
When you are identified as the body, your whole perspective of life will be about survival. When you are identified as the mind, your whole perspective is enslaved to the social, religious and family perspective. You cannot look beyond that. Only when you become free from the modifications of your own mind will you know the dimension of the beyond.
This body and this mind are not yours. They are something that you have accumulated over a period of time. Your body is just a heap of food you have eaten. Your mind is just a heap of impressions you have gathered from the outside.
What you have accumulated is your property. Like you have a home and a bank balance, you have a body and a mind. A good bank balance, a good body and a good mind are needed to live a good life, but they are not sufficient. No human being will ever be fulfilled by these things. They will only make life comfortable and conducive. If you look at us as a generation, never before could another generation even dream of the kinds of conveniences and comforts we have. But we cannot claim we are the most joyful or loving generation on the planet.
Meditation – A Scientific Tool to Transcend the Body and Mind
Your instruments of the body and mind are okay for survival, but they will not fulfill you because the quality of a human being is to seek something more. If you do not know who you are, are you capable of knowing what the world is? You can experience the true quality of who you are only if you transcend the limitations of your body and mind. Yoga and meditation are scientific tools towards this.
Unless you go beyond the limitations of the body and mind, your life will not be fulfilled with just eating, sleeping, reproducing and dying. All those things are needed in your life, but our life is not complete even if you have fulfilled all these things. This is because the quality of a human being has crossed a certain boundary of awareness. It has to seek something more, otherwise it will never be satisfied. It has to become unlimited – and dhyana or meditation is a way of moving into the unlimited dimension of who you are.
Question: But Sadhguru, can a person not move into this unlimited dimension using yagnas or rituals? Is meditation the only way?
Sadhguru: In Isha, the reason why we have chosen meditative processes and kept ritualistic processes to the minimum is because meditation is an exclusive process. The bane of modern society is essentially exclusiveness. As more people go through modern education, people are becoming more exclusive. Two people cannot stay in one house anymore – they are becoming like that. Even today there are families in South India where there are over 400 people in one house – a large household with uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers, everyone.
One person is the leader of the household and everyone has a role to play. A minimum of 70 to 80 children are living in the house, and probably till they grow to a certain age, these kids do not even know who their parents are because there are some 8 to 10 women who take care of them, who are good with that. Till they become 12-13 years old, the children probably do not even truly identify who their biological parents are. They know, but they do not really relate to it that way till they go to school and develop a certain kind of thought in their mind.
But as modern education has spread, it has become impossible for so many people to stay together. Even two human beings cannot get along. It is getting there very fast. The whole of modern education is about exclusiveness, but the whole existence happens as an inclusive process.
Meditation – From Exclusive to Inclusive
Meditation as a process is exclusive, which leads to inclusiveness later on, but when you start it off, you close your eyes and sit. People who are in the initial phase of a spiritual process always become too exclusive – they cannot mix with anyone. I think that is one of the fears that is present in people, “If I go on a spiritual path, maybe I cannot mix with society,” because it is essentially exclusive.
Meditative processes cannot be misused because it is individualistic and it is exclusive.
We have taken to that path only because inclusive processes are not possible in today’s society. If you want to do a ritual, everyone must participate in it like they are one. There should be a deep sense of oneness to participate in a ritual. Another aspect of a ritual is that unless you have a guaranteed situation that it will not be misused, unless you have people who will hold what they are doing above their lives, you cannot do a ritual because a ritual can be easily misused. Meditative processes cannot be misused because it is individualistic and it is exclusive.
If there is “you versus me” and “you against me” we cannot do rituals. A ritual becomes an ugly process. When there is an inclusive atmosphere, a ritual is great, but creating that inclusive atmosphere in today’s world is a difficult thing which only a few communities have managed. All others have become very exclusive. In that context, meditation becomes very important.