Meditation allows us to tune in. During initiation, we are taught to withdraw the rays of our attention that are spread outwards in the creation to the eye centre, which is the portal to the inner regions. This is an arduous task because we have to undo the old habit of focusing outward instead of inward. The good news is that even outward the attention shifts from object to object. That means the attention is used to detaching itself from one object of focus to another. On the inward journey, we give our attention something nobler to focus on.
Because we are used to inner dialogue, we are given the tool of simran, which is the repetition of names associated with the inner regions. Even outward, our thoughts are accompanied by forms. So, in addition to simran, we are taught about dhyan, or contemplation, during which we focus our inner sight on the darkness or light within. The repetition gives our attention a way to engage with the inner world, and the contemplation gives our attention an inner visual to use as a focal point.
During the meditation practice, we are often overcome by sleep which, as a matter of fact, is an encouraging sign. Sleep suggests that at least the attention has withdrawn from the outside world. However, as sleep overtakes us, the attention that has collected starts to drop. Simran and dhyan help us hold our attention at the eye centre rather than letting it slip.
The practice of simran and dhyan is followed by bhajan, or listening to the sound current within. The Sound is always there; it is the attention that does not reach it. We must keep the attention at the eye centre in order to experience the light and sound within.
There is no other way to go back to our home except to catch hold of the voice of the Lord from within ourself and let it pull us up to the place whence it emanates.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light
This practice of meditation is natural because it is a process of attaching the attention to something within. In fact, the process is more natural than we realize because even in worldly matters when we want to remember something, our attention automatically comes to the point in between our eyebrows. When we close our eyes, we are already in the darkness within. The key is to feel the Lord’s presence in that darkness so that our attention has an object to focus on.
When you close your eyes, you are automatically there where you should be, and you have to be there, you have to still yourself there.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live
At first, the concentration at the eye centre is a mechanical process. The quality comes from the quantity of time we dedicate to it. When the habit of concentration at the eye centre is formed, the mind will more easily – and eventually automatically – return to this point. Automatically does not mean instantly. Automatically means the concentration will come of itself as long as we dedicate the allotted time to the practice with sincerity. In addition, if we practise simran and dhyan throughout the day, it helps form the habit more easily.
The pleasure of that Word or Light is so great that the attention automatically stops going down to the senses.
Maharaj Charan Singh, The Master Answers
Initially, we perceive meditation as a cumbersome duty, but actually it is a privilege. Not everyone seeks or receives such a life-sustaining tool. When we tune in, we take a metaphysical break from the creation, and then we can return to it renewed and aligned. The shift in perspective helps us engage in our worldly affairs more effectively. With our spiritual goal in mind, we can make wiser choices. Most of all, the practice helps us fall in love with the Lord through the form of the Master. This tuning in helps us reconnect with the Lord and cultivate a relationship with him. We can thus seek inspiration and empowerment from his presence within.
Everything in nature, in life, has a natural course of time in which to evolve, for example, the opening up of a rose-bud or the growing up of a child. Similarly, our meditation practice develops gradually. We are undergoing a process of spiritual awakening. Progress is not perceptible on a day-to-day basis, just as we cannot zero in on exactly when a tadpole becomes a frog or a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But we know that each day counts.
If results in meditation came easily, our spiritual experience would not have any depth to it. If our patience and perseverance were not tested, the results would feel empty. We would not be humbled by the fact that despite our worldly achievements, we struggle with the simple task of remembering the Lord. It is the struggle that offers us an opportunity to contribute something to him who has everything. Without struggle, we would not learn to surrender when our efforts fail. We would not learn to accept that his grace blesses efforts. We would not taste the serenity of faith. In short, through the inward journey we receive the gift of getting to know him.
Faith is to believe what you do not yet see;
The reward for this faith is to see what you believe.
Saint Augustine, as quoted in The Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations
As long as the effort is sincere, the benefits of meditation will be felt despite no visible signs. The progress is measured by the extent of concentration not the sights or sounds experienced within.
While the practitioner meditates to reach the eye centre, the inward journey actually starts at the eye centre. We are making our way to the starting point. The Master, in his Radiant Form, is waiting at the eye centre to accompany us further. It is the eye centre which Christ referred to as the door that we have to knock on and “it shall be opened unto you.” Once the door is opened by the Master, we begin the real inner journey back to the Father, back to our true home, accompanied by the Master.
When you go above the eyes, then the Guru will meet you in his Radiant Form, and when you reach Trikuti, the Guru will accompany you in his Sound form, even up to Sach Khand. Fly upwards upon the wings of faith and love so that you may talk to him every day and be with him always. This will come gradually, so you need not despair. Perform your devotion regularly, and one day all these powers shall be yours and you shall reach your true home.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems