Kindly explain contemplation, concentration and meditation.
‘Contemplation’ means directed thinking. We all think; that is not contemplation. That thinking is undirected, vague, leading nowhere. Really, our thinking is not contemplation, but what Freudians call association. One thought leads to another without any direction from you. The thought itself leads to another because of association.
You see a dog crossing the street. The moment you see the dog, your mind starts thinking about dogs. The dog has led you to this thought, and then the mind has many associations. When you were a child, you were afraid of a particular dog. That dog comes to the mind and then the childhood comes to the mind. Then dogs are forgotten; then just by association you begin to daydream about your childhood. Then the childhood goes on being connected with other things, and you move in circles.
Whenever you are at ease, try to go backwards from your thinking to where the thoughts came from. Go back, retrace the steps. Then you will see that another thought was there, and that led to this. And they are not logically connected, because how is a dog on the street connected with your childhood?
There is no logical connection – only association in your mind. If I was crossing the street, the same dog would not lead me to my childhood, it would lead to something else. In a third person it would lead to still something else. Everyone has associated chains in the mind. With any one person some happening, some accident will lead to the chain. Then the mind begins to function like a computer. Then one thing leads to another, another leads to another, and you go on, and the whole day you are doing that.
Write down on a sheet of paper whatsoever comes to your mind, honestly. You will be just amazed what is happening in your mind. There is no relation between two thoughts, and you go on doing this type of thinking. You call this thinking? This is just association of one thought with another, and they lead themselves… you are led.
Thinking becomes contemplation when it moves not through association, but is directed. You are working on a particular problem – then you bracket out all associations. You move on that problem only; you direct your mind. The mind will try to escape to any bypath, to any side route, to some association. You cut off all the side routes; on only one road you direct your mind.
A scientist working on a problem is in contemplation. A logician working on a problem, a mathematician working on a problem is in contemplation. A poet contemplates a flower. Then the whole world is bracketed out, and only that flower and the poet remains, and he moves with the flower. Many things from side routes will attract, but he does not allow his mind to move anywhere. Mind moves in one line, directed. This is contemplation.
Science is based on contemplation. Any logical thinking is contemplation: thought is directed, thinking guided. Ordinary thinking is absurd. Contemplation is logical, rational.
Then there is ‘concentration’. Concentration is staying at one point. It is not thinking; it is not contemplation. It is really being at one point, not allowing the mind to move at all. In ordinary thinking mind moves as a madman. In contemplation the madman is led, directed; he cannot escape anywhere. In concentration the mind is not allowed to move. In ordinary thinking, it is allowed to move anywhere; in contemplation, it is allowed to move only somewhere; in concentration, it is not allowed to move, it is only allowed to be at one point. The whole energy, the whole movement stops, sticks to one point.
Yoga is concerned with concentration, ordinary mind with undirected thinking, the scientific mind with directed thinking. The yogic mind has its thinking focused, fixed at one point; no movement is allowed.
And then there is ‘meditation’. In ordinary thinking, mind is allowed to move anywhere; in contemplation, it is allowed only in one direction, all other directions are cut off. In concentration, it is not allowed to move even in one direction; it is allowed only to concentrate on one point.
And in meditation, mind is not allowed at all. Meditation is no-mind.
These are four stages: ordinary thinking, contemplation, concentration, meditation.
Meditation means no-mind – not even concentration is allowed. Mind itself is not allowed to be! That is why meditation cannot be grasped by mind. Up to concentration mind has a reach, an approach. Mind can understand concentration, but mind cannot understand meditation. Really, mind is not allowed at all. In concentration, mind is allowed to be at one point. In meditation, even that point is taken away. In ordinary thinking, all directions are open. In contemplation, only one direction is open. In concentration, only one point is open – no direction. In meditation, even that point is not open: mind is not allowed to be.
Ordinary thinking is the ordinary state of mind, and meditation is the highest possibility. The lowest one is ordinary thinking, association, and the highest, the peak, is meditation – no-mind.
And with the second question, it is also asked:
Contemplation and concentration are mental processes. How can mental processes help in achieving a state of no-mind?
The question is significant. Mind asks, how can mind itself go beyond mind? How can any mental process help to achieve something which is not of the mind? It looks contradictory. How can your mind try, make an effort to create a state which is not of mind?
Try to understand. When mind is, what is there? A process of thinking. When there is no-mind, what is there? No process of thinking. If you go on decreasing your process of thinking, if you go on dissolving your thinking, by and by, slowly, you are reaching no-mind. Mind means thinking; no mind means non-thinking. And mind can help. Mind can help in committing suicide. You can commit suicide; you never ask how a man who is alive can help himself to be dead. You can help yourself to be dead – everyone is trying to help. You can help yourself to be dead, and you are alive. Mind can help to be no-mind. How can mind help?
If the process of thinking becomes more and more dense, then you are proceeding from mind to more mind. If the process of thinking becomes less dense, is decreased, is slowed down, you are helping yourself toward no-mind. It depends on you. And mind can be a help, because really, mind is what you are doing with your consciousness this very moment. If you leave your consciousness alone, without doing anything with it, it becomes meditation.
So there are two possibilities: either slowly, gradually you decrease your mind, by and by. If one percent is decreased, then you have ninety-nine percent mind and one percent no-mind within you. It is as if you have removed some furniture from your room – then some space is created there. Then you remove more furniture, and more space is created there. When you have removed all the furniture, the whole room becomes space.
Really, space is not created by removing the furniture, the space was already there. It is only that the space was occupied by the furniture. When you remove the furniture, no space comes in from outside; the space was there, occupied by furniture. You have removed the furniture, and the space is recovered, reclaimed. Deep down mind is space occupied, filled by thoughts. If you remove some thoughts, space is created – or discovered, or reclaimed. If you go on removing your thoughts, by and by you go on regaining your space. This space is meditation.
Slowly it can be done – suddenly also. There is no need to go on for lives together removing the furniture, because there are problems. When you start to remove the furniture, one percent space is created and ninety-nine percent space is occupied. That ninety-nine percent occupied space will not feel good about the unoccupied space; it will try to fill it. So one goes on slowly decreasing thoughts and then again creating new thoughts.
In the morning you sit for meditation for some time; you slow down your process of thought. Then you go to the market, and again there is a rush of thoughts. The space is filled again. The next day you again do this, and you go on doing this – throwing it out, and inviting it in again.
You can also throw all the furniture out suddenly. It is your decision. It is difficult because you have become accustomed to the furniture. You may feel uncomfortable without the furniture; you will not know what to do with that space. You may become afraid even to move in that space. You have never moved in such freedom.
Mind is a conditioning. We have become accustomed to thoughts. Have you ever observed – or if you have not observed, then observe – that you go on repeating the same thoughts every day. You are like a gramophone record, and then too not a fresh, new one – old. You go on and on repeating the same things. Why? What is the use of it? Only one use, it is just a long habit; you feel you are doing something.
You are lying on your bed just waiting for sleep to come and the same things are repeated every day. Why are you doing this? It helps in a way. Old habits, conditionings, help. A child needs a toy. If the toy is given to him, he will fall into sleep; then you can take away the toy. But if the toy is not there, the child cannot fall into sleep. It is a conditioning. The moment the toy is given to him, it triggers something in his mind. Now he is ready to fall into sleep.
The same is happening with you. The toys may differ. One person cannot fall into sleep unless he starts chanting, “Ram, Ram, Ram…” He cannot fall into sleep! This is a toy. If he chants, “Ram, Ram, Ram…” the toy is given to him; he can fall into sleep.
You feel difficulty in falling asleep in a new room. If you are accustomed to sleeping in particular clothes, then you will need those particular clothes every day. Psychologists say that if you sleep in a nightgown and it is not given to you, you will feel difficulty in falling asleep. Why? If you have never slept naked and you are told to sleep naked, you will not feel at ease. Why? There is no relationship between nakedness and sleep, but for you there is a relationship, an old habit. With old habits one feels at ease, comfortable.
Thinking patterns are also just habits. You feel comfortable – the same thoughts every day, the same routine. You feel everything is okay.
You have investments in your thoughts – that is the problem. Your furniture is not just rubbish to be thrown; you have invested many, many things in it. All the furniture can be thrown immediately: it can be done! There are sudden methods of which we will speak. Immediately, this very moment, you can be freed of your whole mental furniture. But then you will be suddenly vacant, empty, and you will not know who you are. Now you will not know what to do because for the first time your old patterns are no more. The shock may be too sudden. You may even die, or you may go mad.
That is why sudden methods are not used. Unless one is ready, sudden methods are not used. One may go suddenly mad because one may miss all the moorings. The past drops immediately, and when past drops immediately you cannot conceive of the future, because the future was always conceived of in terms of the past.
Only the present remains, and you have never been in the present. Either you were in the past or in the future. So when you are just in the present for the first time, you will feel you have gone berserk, mad. That is why sudden methods are not used unless you are working in a school, unless you are working with a master in a group, unless you are totally devoted, unless you have dedicated your whole life for meditation.
So gradual methods are good. They take a long time, but by and by you become accustomed to space. You begin to feel the space and the beauty of it, and the bliss of it, and then your furniture is removed by and by.
So from ordinary thinking it is good to become contemplative – that is the gradual method. From contemplation it is good to move to concentration – that is the gradual method. And from concentration it is good to take a jump into meditation. Then you are moving slowly, feeling the ground at every step. And when you are really rooted in one step, only then do you begin to go for the next one. It is not a jump, it is a gradual growth. So these four things – ordinary thinking, contemplation, concentration, meditation – are four steps.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #10, Q2
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