What Is Meditation?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 46


Meditation is the study of awareness, of yourself and of the universe, experiencing the soul. The purpose of meditation is to separate awareness from what it is aware of, to separate awareness from consciousness. You will be able to live in the eternal now. Utilize the shumif perspective and acquire the tools to flow awareness from one state of consciousness to another.

Path to Siva, Lesson 46

Master Course Trilogy, Merging with Siva, Lesson 34.

Shumif Perspective: "One of four perspectives, the meditative viewpoint of being awareness flowing from one area of the inner mind to another, the mind itself being stationary. In Saiva Siddhanta, it includes the deeper meditative practices. It is an advaitic or monistic viewpoint."

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone. Reading this morning from Path to Siva, Lesson 46:

"What Is Meditation?

"Meditation is the yoga practice we use to quiet the mind, the body and the emotions and go deep within ourself. It is more than sitting down and thinking about things in an ordinary way. And it is not just closing the eyes and doing nothing. Meditation occurs when concentration is sustained. It is a quiet, alert, powerful state wherein new knowledge is awakened from within as you focus fully on an external object or an internal line of thought. The first goal is to sit still for a few minutes. Then sit longer, until you can remain perfectly still for ten or fifteen minutes. When you are able to sit for twenty minutes without moving even one finger, your divine mind can begin to express itself. It can even reprogram your subconscious and change bad habits. The second method is to breathe regularly, nine counts in and nine counts out slowly. Our emotions and thinking are tied to our breathing. If we control breathing, we automatically quiet our emotions and thoughts. When our body is still and our mind and emotions are quiet, we can find peace and discover new knowledge inside ourself. We become aware of the spiritual power within us. We can use that power to understand our religion, to solve problems in our life and to be a better person. Meditation is the study of awareness, which is therefore a study of yourself and the universe. With practice, meditation becomes a door to contemplation, where you experience the highest states of consciousness and see the clear white light of your soul. If you learn to meditate, your life will be more interesting and less stressful. You will be more alive and alert, more present and able to live in the eternal now. Your thinking will be clearer and your emotions more joyful." And we have Gurudeva's quote: "Seeing the mind in its totality convinces the seeker that he is something else, he is the witness who observes the mind and cannot, therefore, be the mind itself. Then we realize that the mind in its superconsciousness is pure."

Think one of the most important points made here is this sentence. I'll explain why it's important in a minute:

"With practice, meditation become a door to contemplation, where you experience the highest states of consciousness and see the clear white light of your soul."

That's the idea I wanted to point out. Experiencing the soul. Sounds very simple; in deeper meditation we experience the soul nature and different aspects of it. The one that's pointed out here is: Seeing the clear white light. Another common one is: Hearing the high 'e' sound very loudly within the head. Different experiences of the soul nature. Well the reason I think that's important is, when you look elsewhere about meditation you don't necessarily see that. So I have two websites here. The web knows all.

First one is TM--Transcendental Meditation. Talking about the benefits. First benefit: "Deep relief from stress and anxiety." Second: "Clarity of mind." Then it goes on: "A healthier heart, helps to overcome depression, insomnia, addiction, PTSD, ADHD, autism spectrum."

So, that's good, I mean it's nice to improve these things, right? But it's not talking about anything very deep. It's just talking about the first part of meditation. It's how we started. You're doing it to get rid of stress and quiet the mind and emotions but need to keep going and going and eventually end up in the soul nature. So, it's how they're not quite explaining things fully.

Then we get Sri, Sri, - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Wonderful person. Had a great padasala there on his property in Bengaluru. And he says the same thing: "Guided meditations and breathing exercises to reduce stress." Same point. "Wisdom to handle your mind and emotions." And that's as far as it goes in the initial explanation.

So Gurudeva's teachings are very specific that: Yes, we want to do that but we want to keep going. And perfect our concentration. Turn that into meditation which generates insights, superconscious insights. And then, go deeper still. Experience the clear white light and other experiences in the soul.

Another important point in the Path to Siva lesson is this sentence: "Meditation is the study of awareness, which is therefore a study of yourself and the universe."

My favorite quote on awareness comes from Chapter 5 of Merging with Siva, The Story of Awareness. I'm sure you'll remember it:

"Consciousness and awareness are the same when awareness is totally identified with and attached to that which it is aware of. To separate the two is the artful practice of Yoga..."

So that's another way of looking at meditation. The purpose of meditation is to separate awareness from what it's aware of.

"...Naturally, the Shum-Tyeif language is needed to accomplish this. When awareness is detached from that which it is aware of it flows freely in consciousness..."

Then it starts to get interesting. Cause when we think about consciousness we think about our consciousness, right?

"A tree has consciousness. Awareness can flow into the tree and become aware of the consciousness of the tree. Consciousness and mind are totally equated as a one thing when awareness and consciousness are a one thing to the individual . But when awareness is detached from that which it is aware of, it can flow freely through all five states of mind and all areas of consciousness, such as plants and the Earth itself, elements and various other aspects of matter. Here we find awareness separate from consciousness and consciousness separate from the five states of mind attributed to the human being. In Sanskrit we have the word 'chaitanya' for consciousness, and for awareness it is 'sakshin' meaning witness and for mind the word is 'chitta.' Consciousness, mind, matter and awareness experience a oneness in being for those who think that they are their physical body, who are convinced that when the body ends, they end and are no more."

The related point which isn't in this particular page is the perspective. Gurudeva calls it the shumif perspective. He developed four different perspectives, ways of looking, ways of acquiring knowledge. You know, shumif, mulif, simnif and dimfi - which is a talk in itself, right? What are they and what are the differences? So we won't go into that in detail but just the shumif one is what we're talking about. Awareness detached from what it is aware of. And he, in a number of places in the Master Course Trilogy he talks about siddhis. Says, when you're in San Francisco you aren't San Francisco. And you can tell where he was when he wrote that. Didn't say Hawaii. You go to this part of San Francisco, you go to Chinatown, you know you go to the business district, you go to Market Street, Nob Hill; the different parts of San Francisco and you aren't these different parts. It's comparing our consciousness that we experience to the different districts within San Francisco. So you go to Chinatown and then you go to the Finance District, Chinatown is still there but you're experiencing the Finance District, right? Then you go somewhere else and experience that.

When you think about it over a period of time you finally catch on and start to separate awareness from consciousness. Instead of saying: I'm really happy this morning, and you think: Well something moved my awareness into this very happy state of consciousness. I wonder what did that? And then we find ourselves a little sad later in the day, we say: Oh, I wonder what moved my awareness into sadness? So we start to not think: I am happy, and I am sad. Just by utilizing this concept of shumif over a period of time we get a new perspective and of course that perspective gives us greater control. As the lesson in Path to Siva's talking about, we're learning to control the thinking and the emotions and this concept that we are awareness as consciousness, slow, limits our ability to control. Because, then we think we can't move out of that state of consciousness because we are that state of consciousness. But when we fully look at it through shumif then we say: Okay, well here I am in this state of consciousness, do I want to stay here? It's a good place to be this morning, or, do I want to be somewhere else. And if we want to be somewhere else then we need to acquire the tools to move there.

Well, thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
What is the binding force that keeps youths in the home? Love. If you love your children completely, they won't want to leave. You won't be able to force them out of the house, even if you try. You are bound together by bands of steel made of love.
—Gurudeva