Without the help of meditation, you cannot attain Knowledge of the Self. Without its aid, you cannot grow into the divine state. Without it, you cannot liberate yourself from the trammels of the mind and attain immortality. Meditation is the only royal road to the attainment of freedom. It is a mysterious ladder which reaches from earth to heaven, from error to truth, from darkness to light, from pain to bliss, from restlessness to abiding peace, from ignorance to knowledge. From mortality to immortality.
Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Why do some people seem to have an easier time of life than others? Where did I come from and where am I going? These are the classic questions that almost everyone muses over at some time in life. Some struggle their entire lives to find the answers. Some give up looking, or just put the questions aside as they get caught up in the routines and details of daily life. But others discover the answers, and their lives are full and contented. The meaning of life is found by diving deep, deep within. But ever distracted by the business of living, people seldom stop, even for a moment in their busy days, to notice what is going on inside. It is hardly noticed that the mind is being constantly that lies within. The chapters that follow give a comprehensive understanding of the philosophy and techniques of meditation.
In man’s search for happiness, he invariably turns to external objects and events for satisfaction. He thinks, “If I can just have that car”, or “If I were just able to get that job”, or “If I only Hved in Arizona, then I would be happy”. The mind may be stilled and at peace for a short time on attaining the desired object, but eventually it tires of its new toy, and seeks pleasure elsewhere. However, each time the external objects fail to bring happiness. One may acquire new material possessions, a position with more responsibility, and a home in the country, but there always remains the same mind. Contentment is derived from the approach and attitude toward the external world, not from the objects themselves. Every person passes through easier and more difficult periods in his life. When the obstacles in life are confronted with a serene mind, then one lives more happily. The challenge, then, is to gain control of the internal world. The mind is constantly conversing with itself — replaying past events, rearranging them into a better drama, planning for the future, discussing the pros and cons of this and that. By methodically slowing down its continuous ramblings, the internal dialogue, and focussing on positive and uplifting objects, it is possible to begin to understand the mechanics of the psyche and bring about a more effective life. But the mind is an elusive animal to tame. So many theories exist as to how it works, yet the human mental process seems to remain intangible. Why does one so often find himself caught in the same frustrations, the same problems? Free will does exist, but only when it is used to break out of the habits that have been developed in life. It is said that this is a free society, but in truth,i it is each person’s own desires and emotions that bind him. Consider the friend who smokes cigarettes, daily disclaiming them, determined to stop “tomorrow”. How many years has he been caught in this charade? He truly wants to be free of the habit, but lacks the necessary control of his own mind. In a sense, the mind is like a record. It contains grooves, or impressions, called samskaras in Sanskrit. These samskaras are formed when certain thought waves, or vrittis, become habitual.