Rituparna Goswami Pande
When one has a restless disposition like me, one is always on the lookout for a medium to channelize the restlessness into better means. Also I have often been advised to take up meditation to calm the tides surging up in the spaces of my cranium. An hour of meditation has the power to soothe the brain and unclog it of all stress they say. An hour...? I fail to sit still even for a mere five minutes! And trust me I have tried it all.
It all began with someone suggesting me to try the Japanese form of meditation called Soka Gakkai. It is a Japanese Buddhist religious movement based on the teachings of the 13th century Japanese priest Nichiren. Chanting the mantra ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ is at the centre of its devotional practice. Practitioners chant the mantra thousands of times every day or whenever they feel it appropriate. It is said that its regular chanting on a particular wish has the power of fulfilling that wish. My acquaintance
introduced me to it and also invited me to a satsang at a practitioner’s house.
Every Sunday, people from all over the city and from all walks of life congregate at a particular point or house and chant the mantra in unison for an hour or so. AsIi made myself comfortable in the room with all the others the members began the chanting together. I was immediately transferred to a different world for the vibrations created by the chanting were so pious and soothing that it seemed to have a direct impact on my heart. It was a truly uplifting experience to be a part of that Satsang and to come across members practicing Soka Gakkai for many years. But fickle as I was, I failed to devote myself totally into the practice and discontinued it shortly.
Next, I was drawn into a simple form of meditation that my cousin from Sydney had introduced me to. It involved putting on some soothing meditative music, some incense and sitting in meditation in a comfortable position. Any length of meditation could be good meditation, he advised and also cautioned that it would take a lot of practice to guide one’s wandering thoughts and get it to focus on a particular thought. As I sat on my mat and closed my eyes, I was bombarded by numerous thoughts making it impossible for me to focus on one particular thing. And it is no secret that I failed miserably at the first attempt.
My cousin that explained that one should not forcibly concentrate on anything, for meditation is to set one’s mind free and let it relax. Therefore any stray thoughts that pops up needs to be gently let go as if watching a car drive past. Thought would come and go and at a particular point we would be thoughtless i.e. without any thoughts in the mind, it would be nothingness and that is what we need to strive for while meditating.
I have heard about transcendental meditation, a silent form of meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves the use of a mantra and is practiced for 20 minutes twice per day in a sitting position and with one’s eyes closed. Interestingly this form of meditation has also been incorporated into schools and colleges. And with the stress and strife of modern day living meditation could prove to be a befitting means of maintaining mental equilibrium. Interestingly many IT firms and Companies have also incorporated meditation in their offices to aid officials to de stress during busy schedules which has effectively increased their productivity and also helped assuage their anxiety.
It is no secret that the popularity of meditation is increasing day by day as people are discovering its benifits. One can not only increase one’s awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings, it is also a great way to reduce stress and develop concentration. However, the primary benefit of meditation is that it reduces stress and controls anxiety. It also promotes emotional health and can lead to an improved self image and develop a positive outlook on life.
Naturally, all these positive aspects of meditation urges me to take it up in a more serious manner. I would also suggest you take it up too and reap the benefits of this ancient tradition that is such a potent force of ushering tranquillity and peace into our lives. Meanwhile, I will keep trying in my quest of becoming a serious practitioner with my trials and errors till I can safely announce that I too have jumped into the meditation bandwagon.