These are some simple thoughts after teaching for over 30 years and listening to students express their problems and their ‘successes’.
As a student myself, after sitting, for over 35 years and listening to my own problems and looking at my own successes……these are a few thoughts.
I am still a student and will be till I die and the day I forget that I am a student, I cease to be a teacher.
In reality, I am not a teacher of meditation, for no one can teach us how to meditate.
Someone can teach us how to sit, how to prepare to quieten the mind, but when meditation occurs, it occurs on its own!
Thus I say, every time I experience meditation, I experience grace.
It is a gift. Just like sleep is a gift.
Someone can tell us how to prepare for sleep but no one can teach us to sleep.
I lie down, turn off the light, make myself comfortable etc and when sleep comes, it comes as a gift and this is grace!
When I speak about meditation, I am speaking about an experience.
When someone else speaks about it, they can say what they want. Its their business.
This is my business writing this, and so I am free and can say what I want.
There are things about meditation I learnt that I will never forget, and I will never forget with gratitude, those who taught me.
We live in a world partially dominated by science and science tells us that as far as they can probe the human brain (in neurology) the little they realise they know , and still have much to learn.
I attended a lecture given in 1973 by Dr.J.P. Banquet a famous neurologist from Paris and he was doing research on students as they sat in meditation. (see note *)
It was he who showed me that we can experience several measurable states of the conscious mind.
1) waking, 2) sleeping, 3) dreaming, 4) meditation, and 5) hypnosis is yet another and different.
He had taken EEG measurements and showed us the difference in each state.
I believe, If the awake, sleep, dream and meditative states are normal, they do not require being taught.
We can only be taught how to encourage, make favorable, the experience of these states of mind.
When I sat with Maharishi at my graduation, I sat alone with him. There was no ‘organization”present.
And so what transpired between us as far as instructions as to my teaching, are simply between himself and I.
The questions I posed and the answers he gave are with me, and those, I have followed as a teacher.
After teaching for seven years under the organization, I decided to leave and since then, I do not teach what is called “Transcendental Meditation” and I have nothing negative to say about them.
My mother always said “do not dam the bridge after you have crossed it!”
If someone asks me to ‘teach them T M’, I respond that I don’t.
I have enough knowledge and experience though, to teach and guide the person as how to sit and what to do if you want to have the experience of meditation.
Although it is important to learn from a teacher, your regular practice is your best guide.
I never tell people to ‘repeat the mantra’
I much rather say, “think the mantra, without effort, like any other thought’
The teacher’s role is to listen, to encourage the student to be faithful to the practice and to be a reminder.
At times, he corrects, and reminds the student what he taught in the first place.
As students, we keep forgetting, especially about effort, and the teacher constantly reminds us.
Its like brushing the teeth, the dentist reminds us to brush regularly to avoid cavities.
If someone asks me why do I sit for meditation, I may answer,
I sit to meditate regularly to avoid stress, to be centered, maybe, but most of all,
To remember the Presence of God within.
To take the time to open myself to the gift of His Grace.
• Dr. Bernard Glueck, director of research at the Hartford Institute of Living, conducted extensive tests on large numbers of meditators, andfound that the EEG patterns of successful meditators showed an increased synchrony between the left and right hemispheres; that is, both sides functioned together, in harmony.
(*)• Neurologist J. P. Banquet also did EEG studies of meditators, and provided push buttons so that the subjects could signal when they were entering different levels or stages of meditation. Banquet noticed that when meditators signaled they were in “deep meditation” or “pure awareness,” their brain waves had become in phase, and synchronized in both hemispheres of the brain, a condition Banquet called hyper-synchrony.
He concluded that this harmony of hemispheres is the single most outstanding EEG characteristic of “deep” states of consciousness