Deepening Meditation: Emptying and focusing

Once a well-known professor visited a famous master of meditation.  As they began to talk, tea was prepared and when it came the master began pouring in the professor’s cup.  He poured and poured until the cup overflowed and still he continued pouring.  Finally the professor could not resist, and he said,  “What are you doing?  The tea has you keep trying to put more in when there is no room left in the cup?”  The master replied,  “Yes, my friend, you are right.  Your mind is like this teacup.  It is filled to brim with opinions and prejudices, dogma and theology, logic and arguments.  Whatever I pour into it now will overflow.  There is no room left for anything to enter.  Unless you empty your mind, what can I give you?”

             In Eastern countries this anecdote is often used for beginners who are interested in meditation.  When the students come, the teacher tells this story very early in their training.  Meditation is not meant to add to what is already in your mind.  If we add fresh things to what is polluted, the fresh thing will become stale and foul along with the old things.  So we must empty ourselves or we will be unable to feel the freshness of the new learning we receive.  

            Meditation has three main connotations.  The first in to see a thing properly and clearly, as it is.  When we have difficulty in school, the teacher tells us to concentrate and meditate on the problem, to bring our complete attention to the subject matter and see it clearly.  In this way we find a solution.  The second aspect of meditation is to perceive that which is behind the thing you are seeing, to go beyond the superficial world.  It is like the husk and the grain.  In our normal way of thinking and seeing, to go beyond the superficial world.  It is like the husk and the grain.  In our normal way of thinking, and seeing, we are aware of only the husk.  But there is grain inside, beneath the husk, and it is the grain, which is rich and nourishing and full of energy.  In meditation we go beyond the husk and find the grain of life.  The third aspect of meditation is t concentrate on only one thing at a time.  You learn to train your mind to do only one thing and leave the other duties and obligations for another time.  In this way you do not waste energy in fantasy or being somewhere else;  you bring your full awareness to the one thing before you at the moment.  Doing this in each moment you feel a flow in life.  You accomplish many more things each day in a more precise manner.

             This beautiful example illustrates the power of meditation very well.  One of the greatest scientists in India, C. Raman, received the Nobel Prize for his work in science.  At a large gathering in his honor, he told the elite of the nation this story when they asked him to speak.

             “What I have achieved,” he said, “is the result of meditation and a lesson my father gave me.  When I was a young boy of ten, my father came to me with a magnifying glass in his hand and he said, “Come with me,” It was summer and we went into the garden where he collected a few blades of grass and made a heap of them.  Then he asked me, “Do you think that the sun can burn these blades of grass?”

             “I thought for a moment and answered,” “No, I don’t think so.  The sun is not burning anything now and I don’t see how it could start burning this little pile of grass.”

             “Then he said, ‘Let me show you.”  He held the magnifying glass over the grass so the sun’s rays could pass through it.  In a short time the little pile burst into flames.

             “Then my father told me, ‘The same sun was shining here on all the earth, but it did not ignite the blades of grass.  Now see the miracle.  I brought all the rays’ together through this magnifying glass and they became power, energy, and fire.  The scattered rays of the sun will not ignite the grass, but when they are brought together, focused on one point, they create energy and fire.’ 

            “Then my father told me, ‘If you want to have any success in life, to achieve anything, you bring all your thoughts together.  You must have one-pointedness.  Then you will know there is not anything in the world I which you will not succeed.  Success does not belong to any special people or to any special race, caste, creed or sex.  Success belongs to those people who can bring their whole attention to one-pointedness.  If you focus on anything, it will open its heart to you.” 

            “Now I am not going to tell you anything more.’ My father continued, “I am not going to tell you what job you should do or how you should live your life.  Keep this magnifying glass with you as a teacher, and go in life and work in any field.  But remember to concentrate on whatever you do.” 

            “In that way C. Raman ended his short address to the most highly educated people of the nation.  This is a beautiful parable for our growth.  Each of you wants to have some kind of growth, some achievement, some mission.  Meditation helps you first to find and see your mission and then t fulfill it.  It helps you by focusing the energy, which is now being used in many different directions. 

            Without a mission, life has no meaning It is only eating, drinking, sleeping and surviving; an animal can do these things.  The purpose of meditation according to saints and seers is to perfect human life, to open us to the higher levels of consciousness.  Then the question comes,  “What is the meaning of this term, ‘higher levels of consciousness,’ and how many kinds of consciousness are there?” 

            Wherever you see the movement of feeling, there is consciousness.  Even in an ant or a leaf, there is consciousness.  If you add water or pour acid on the plant, it will respond according to what is received.  If you try to catch an ant with a piece of paper, immediately it will change its direction and try to get away.  A fly will also avoid you quite skillfully whenever you try to capture.  Somehow they sense there is danger and they move away to preserve their lives.  Even bats who cannot see are able to perceiver danger and escape.  All living things possess a kind of consciousness.  Birds migrate and fly without any map or chart.  We may get lost trying to take the expressway to New Jersey, but they fly thousands of miles every summer and winter.  This instinctive consciousness and it helps them survive and find food and shelter.  This is the first level of consciousness.


What is Meditation? |Beinning Practice | Beginning Meditation: calming Down and Observing Yourself and Your Breathing| Developing One-Pointedness |Deeping Meditation: Emtrying and Focusing | Impediments to Growth: The Ego |Continuing Practice: Meditation on Hrim and Breathing |How Shall we Approach Life Through Meditation? |The Use of Mantras: Veerum and Sohum |Seeking Our True Nature |Deepening Meditation: who Am I? |Deepening  Meditation: Eliminating  Negative Traits |Meditation: The Art of Life and Experience of Light | Review |Meditation and the Art of Communication |Guided Meditation: Experiencing Light and Life| Meditation in Jain Philosophy|Sense Beyond the Senses| Perfection Is in Us|Realize What You Are