Can meditation be learned, or is it, like love, a state of being that comes as a present?
Prem Prabhati, meditation cannot be learned in a positive way, but it can be learned in a negative way. This is very important to understand: the basic method of meditation is negative.
What do I mean when I say meditation can be learned negatively, only negatively? I mean that the mind can be unlearned, and the moment you unlearn the mind you are learning meditation. Unlearning the mind is learning meditation; when the mind has been completely unlearned you have learned meditation. You cannot go directly into learning meditation. All that is needed is to remove the mind.
Mind is like a block. The river is there but blocked, it can’t flow. It is covered with rocks; those rocks don’t allow it any outlet. It is surging inside you, it is longing for the ocean, it wants to get out of this prison. That’s why everybody feels so restless. This restlessness is nothing but your consciousness longing to meet with the ultimate. The river wants to reach the ocean. The seed wants to sprout, but it is covered, blocked by a big rock. That rock is of your mind. And it is a big rock because you have been accumulating it for many, many lives. Your meditation is simply crushed underneath it.
You cannot reach meditation directly, but you can remove this rock chunk by chunk. You can take a chisel and a hammer – that’s what I go on providing you – and go on hammering on the rock. Slowly slowly the rock will disappear. The day the rock disappears, suddenly a flow, a fresh flow of water, will start running towards the ocean. That is meditation.
Hence, Prabhati, in one sense meditation cannot be learned. You cannot practice it, because all practicing is of the mind. All practices strengthen the mind, make it stronger. And the mind has to be made weaker; its power over you has to be destroyed. It has to be put in its right place: it is not the master; it has only become the master. You have to stop cooperating with it; you have to stop giving more and more nourishment to it.
That’s what I mean by unlearning the mind. Don’t support it. Don’t cling to it. Don’t rely on it. Don’t be possessed by it. Don’t live according to its dictates. And then slowly, slowly the master is free from the slave. That master is your meditative quality.
You ask me: “Can meditation be learned, or is it, like love, a state of being that comes as a present?”
It is already there. It does not come like a present – nobody ‘presents’ it to you – it is your very nature, svabhava, it is your very being. And so is love.
When meditation has happened, love is its aroma, its perfume. A meditative person is naturally loving; it can’t be otherwise. A loving person is naturally meditative. If it is not so, then you are deceived, then you are carrying false coins. If a man thinks he is meditative and is not loving, then his meditation is nothing but a mind practice, something false, pseudo. Something which is not meditation is masquerading as meditation. He has been deceived by his mind. If a man thinks that he is very loving and is not meditative, his love is nothing but another name for lust. He knows nothing of love; he can’t know in the very nature of things.
Aes dhammo sanantano. This is the ultimate law: meditation brings love naturally – it is its aroma, its fragrance. And love exists only around the flower called meditation, never otherwise. They are together.
Either search for love or for meditation. And you can only search for one, because things are already too complicated. If you start searching for both you will make them even more complicated, you may become more confused. Hence I say, only seek one. If you can find one, the other is found without any effort on your part. Either find love or find meditation and the other will follow it like a shadow.
But they are not learned in a direct way as you learn mathematics, as you learn geography, history, as you learn a new language. That is not the way to learn meditation or love; they are learned in an indirect way. If you want to learn meditation, you will have to unlearn the ways of the mind. If you want to learn love, you will have to unlearn the unloving ways that have become very ingrained in you. Anger, possessiveness, jealousy – these will have to be unlearned.
And it never comes as a gift because it is already given; it is your innermost nature. Yes, it is a grace, a gift, but it is not going to happen in the future, it has already happened. You have never been without it, you can’t be without it. Love and meditation constitute your real essential core.
From The White Lotus, Discourse #4
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Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Can Meditation Be Learned.