The Ladder: A Story About Meditation ;)

A spiritual practitioner once on a casual visit was asked by his Guru how are his spiritual practices going on.

“Not very well sir! I’m unable to cope up with the routine work and practices both.” – He replied

So the guru offered him a spirit (a ghost), something like the Jinn (Genie) of Aladdin, the guru said:

“He’ll serve you any way you want but there is one condition, don’t allow him to be free even for a moment or else he will destroy you!”

” Okay! “ – the practitioner replied

The practitioner went home and ordered the spirit to do all of his work from cooking to laundry to cleaning and got engaged in his routine practice. In a few minutes, the spirit returned and said:

“I’m done! Now give me some more work or perish!!!”

The practitioner realized that he was in some serious trouble right now and had no option but to run to his guru’s place. The guru understood the problem and said:

“Can you see that ladder over there? Take it with you and order the spirit to climb up and down continuously till further instructions are given”

In this way, the guru saved his disciple. Our mind is pretty much the same (like that impatient spirit) it needs something to do. So some traditions refer to it as the monkey mind. It is always jumping around and making noises of various kinds; it can not sit quietly. So how to still this spirit called the mind, it is not that simple, you can’t hand it out some tasks to do and if you do it would not work for a longer duration as the mind will soon start distracting. So what to do? You will have to tell the monkey mind to focus on the breath. Just like the story instead of a ladder, we use breath

The Mind says:

“Okay, great idea! Let me try”

“Breaatthhee inn!”

“Breaatthhee ouut!”

“Breaatthhee inn!”

“Breaatthhee ouut!”

And so on …

Actually mind must be very obedient and trained for the above to happen but with a little struggle and guidance, it is possible to purify and train it. And the same thing is applicable to mantra repetition or praying beads or any other kind of meditation, contemplation or introspection without any exceptions. If you can’t meditate write a journal, this will slowly help you to interiorise the mind for meditation.

Our mind is a powerhouse of thoughts which is generally good. However, sometimes it keeps on generating, recycling and repeating the same thoughts again and again and again and we can not stop it because thinking is an important function and thinking is pretty helpful most of the time but at times our mind does some most annoying things like repeating a horrible song you absolutely hate or replay some intimidating experiences over and over and wouldn’t really stop, which induces stress and anxiety.

The good thing is unless we lose the focus from your breath or stop repeating our mantra (like the repetition of Aum… Aum… Aum… synchronized with breath) nothing could bother us.

The problem with modern seekers is that they are too busy and too excited and go for meditation directly without any preparation whereas traditionally Spiritual-principles, Cleansing of the whole being, Body-movements and Breath-work were taught preliminary to meditation. So the general advice I give to anyone and everyone is to proceed with systematic purification of Body, Meridians (Nadis) and Mind; to do so start by following Moral Codes, do Sat-Karmas, Asanas and Pranayama practices or if you prefer to do something different practice Taichi or do Baguazhang Circle Walking followed by slow, deep and smooth diaphragmatic breathing prior to meditation in order to realize the true potential of meditation.

This is the reason why Sage Patanjali keeps Meditation (Dhyana) as the seventh rung in the ladder of Ashtanga Yoga the first six being Yama and Niyama (Moral Codes), Asana (Physical Postures), Pranayama (Breath-work), and Pratyahara (withdrawal of attention from outer senses to the inner being. This is often compared to the act of tortoise pulling its limbs into its case or shell) and Dharana (Concentration or holding of attention on one point or object). And then the eighth and final rung being Samadhi (Super-conscious state of Ecstasy). This is how one should proceed with yoga.

I hope this post serves you well. Feel free to contact me in case of any queries and your comments will be extremely enlightening. Please Like, Share and Comment, it would be a great way to appreciate my hard work and very encouraging for my next post. Thank-You for Reading 🙂

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