There are many things that can be used as an object of one-pointedness. It does not matter as long as the object is able to hold one’s attention easily. The following are a few of the most common objects: the breathing process, mantras such as Aum, an external or internal picture of a great sage or guru, the tip of the nose, different parts of the body or any other symbol that appeals to you. One particularly good practice utilizes awareness of the thought process itself. Remember, all these are the means that lead to meditation, not meditation itself.
We have only briefly mentioned the fundamental mechanics of passive meditational practices. Because we have spoken very generally, without detail, virtually all specific practices conform to this basic mode or pattern. Our mind, at its different layers, is in a continual state of chatter. Normally this inner disturbance together with our over-extroverted way of life prevents us from seeing into the mind. Meditational practices are a way of drawing aside the curtains of the mind and peering inside. We cannot talk about meditation, we can only discuss the practices that lead to meditation. Most people are in a fluctuating state of emotional turmoil. This is a serious impediment to meditation. It is so difficult to relax sufficiently and become one-pointed even when we are alone. We are continually beset by worries, dislikes, jealousy and many other emotional disturbances and these cannot be overcome in one night. Time is necessary. Meditational techniques will help to bring about this end, but we sincerely advise the practitioner to refer to our previous discussion on relaxation.
Meditational practices are excellent methods of confronting the problems, conflicts and other disturbances hidden in the normally inaccessible recesses of the mind. Once we face these negative aspects of our mind they will automatically drop away. Each person can become his own psychiatrist-cum-psychologist. As these problems are gradually removed, so one’s life becomes an expression of joy and happiness. Our lives will be transformed.
It is very easy to give the wrong impression about meditation and meditational practices. It is possible for everyone to know the joy of meditation, yet at the same time effort is required. It would be most surprising if a person starts to meditate on the first attempt. In fact we have never known this to happen. Regular and sincere practice and time are required. The time depends on the individual, on his problems, on his dedication and other factors. But all effort is worthwhile, more so than anything else you are likely to do in your life. So don’t expect instant meditation but persevere in your practices.
We all tend to be sceptical of things of which we have no experience. This is our constitution. With meditation it is far easier to be sceptical and disbelieving than with many other concepts, for it is intangible. Even the author was deeply sceptical when he was first introduced to the possibilities of meditation. He found it difficult to comprehend how ‘merely closing one’s eyes’ could lead to anything more than sleep. This of course is a natural tendency. It is only through personal experience that this naivety and the accompanying doubts are slowly but surely erased. Furthermore, we emphasize that you can read volumes of books on meditation and still disbelief will exist. It is only the personal experience of meditation, even if it is the faintest glimmer, that can make us realize the power, knowledge and joy that are our heritage.