Sadhguru breaks down the true essence of meditation, ahead of International Yoga Day
A lot of yoga teachers have been telling us that meditation has been getting more attention in their classes post COVID-19, because of high anxiety levels. Can you share your thoughts about the importance of meditation in the midst of a pandemic?
It is unfortunate that people realize the value of these things only when there is a crisis around them. But whichever way, at least because of the virus, people want to meditate now.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about meditation. Meditation is not concentration, contemplation or about calling for gods. To become meditative means a little space arises between you and these two accumulations of body and mind. You gathered both these dimensions of physical body and mind over a period of time. One is an accumulation of food, the other is an accumulation of impressions. You have only two sources of suffering in your life – your body and your mind. Once there is fear of suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, you will limit the scope and possibilities of your life. If a little bit of space arises between you and your body, and you and your mind, this is the end of suffering – and this is meditativeness.
One fundamental thing that we need to understand is that you cannot do meditation because meditation is a quality. A quality is a consequence of a certain process. For example, if you want flowers in your garden, you do not have to think of flowers. You have to think of soil, manure, water, and sunlight. If you conduct these ingredients properly, flowers are a consequence. But today the world has become so goal-oriented that they are not interested in the soil, the manure and all the other things, but they want flowers. If you want flowers without soil, manure, water, and sunlight, you will have to settle for plastic flowers.
Similarly, if one cultivates their body, mind, emotion, and energies to a certain level of maturity, you will be naturally meditative twenty-four hours of the day.
If you had invested a certain amount of time doing yoga, this will come easily. But you cannot start doing yoga tomorrow morning. That is not the way it works. For those of you who have not done that, it is best to start with some simple practices and go step by step. We are offering two such practices – Isha Kriya and Simha Kriya – for free online. Please make use of these.
In the age of TikTok, where our attention spans are often under a minute - how do we do this more effectively?
Today, people are carrying their attention deficit like a qualification. Anything in this existence will yield to you only if you pay substantial attention to it. The only reason why someone is a mystic and someone is not, is lack of attention. Someone is an artist, someone is not because of a lack of attention. From the simplest to the highest things, it is just a lack of attention.
If you become very attentive, we can look at how to make use of that attentiveness. If you learn to have a heightened sense of attention, then we can teach you methods as to what you must and what you should not attend to within yourself. Spirituality happens only because you paid attention to your life and you saw that you don’t know where it begins and where it ends. You are going about as if whatever you are doing is the be-all and end-all of life. The moment you pay a little attention, you understand “This is not it.”
So, the very first step of even thinking spiritually came to you only because of a certain level of attention. If you pay much more attention to everything, if you heighten your ability to be attentive, that could be used in miraculous ways.
What is your message this International Yoga Day?
This pandemic is one of the biggest challenges that we as a generation have faced. Unfortunately, a huge number of people have paid the price of losing their lives. Right now, studies are saying that post this pandemic, one of the biggest challenges will be the psychological crisis that human beings will face. When a problem is thrown at us, we should not become a problem. For this, there is no better way to approach life than through the yogic system.
As I said, one most fundamental aspects of the yogic process is that you are able to create a little distance between you and your physiological process, between you and your psychological process, because these are the only two dimensions in which a human being can suffer or create well-being. The simple yogic processes that we are offering you for this International Yoga Day can help you achieve this and also enhance your immune system in a significant way.
I would like everyone to not only experience this but become instruments for offering this to large numbers of people. It is important that your personal life, the nation, and the world, and humanity as a whole should get back on track as quickly as possible. For this, all of us need to be mentally stable, emotionally balanced, and physically fit.
International Yoga Day was brought forth in the United Nations with the intention that the tools for self-transformation should be in the hands of every human being, not in the hands of an organization or a guru. And over 177 countries endorsed it immediately because they saw yoga as a technology for self-transformation which is beyond religion, philosophies, and ideologies.
On this International Yoga Day, it is my wish and my blessing that everyone should have these tools of self-transformation to transform themselves into joyful, wonderful, and impactful human beings in the world.