When I was doing the guided instructional and mantra meditation in a long course, I was paying attention to every instruction but didn’t experience meditation. I am not sure why.
There are 2 levels of meditation:
Level 1: Sound level
• This is the level for beginners.
• Sound is used in the form of music or instructions or mantras or regulation of breath or concentration objects like candlelight, etc. Anything that helps keep the mind one-pointed and away from distraction is used at the superficial level. This enables the mind to train to become one-pointed and gain the ability to dive into silence willingly.
• The mind does not enjoy meditation and therefore resists it at all costs. The training at this level is required for a long time in some extremely fastidious minds. It may be required for a very short time in minds that have very strong spiritual karma-sanskaras from past lives.
Level 2: Silent Level
• Those who have strong spiritual karma-sanskaras from previous lifetimes automatically find themselves attracted towards natural methods of meditation where there is no use of manipulation of sound, sight, smell, taste or touch. Natural means ‘as it has been created by nature’.
E.g. 1] observing natural breath instead of regulated/modulated/rhythmic breath OR E.g. 2] observing the natural sensations happening in the body instead of creating sensations with the help of music.
• The mind is already tamed so they dive easily into silence. Once the mind gets used to meditating in silence, then sound seems like an obstacle.
Let me explain with the help of this graph:
In Sound meditation:
- One moves from X0 to X1 to X2 to X3 to X4, etc.
- There is some change in the mind from the chit-chat stressed state at X0 to a soothing state on account of music at X2 to an even more soothing state on account of instructions to imagine at X3.
If by chance you do dip into the silence between X0 to X1, there is a possibility of you to come back to sound when the next instruction/music pulls you out.
In Silent meditation:
- One moves from Y0 to –Y1 to –Y2 to –Y3, etc.
- The change is in the depth of the mind. One moves from chit-chat at Y0 to a soothing state of being with the reality of natural breath or natural sensations at –Y1 to a quieter and quieter state as depth increases to –Y2, -Y3, -Y4 and so on.
- There is not much sound to pull you up to the surface level again here. So if you have strong karma-sanskaras of silence, one keeps sinking into quietness.
- The inner chit-chat of the mind starts reducing. The absolute silence of nothingness is soon touched when one willingly drowns himself into the quietness.
- One who tastes this cannot relish the surface level sound meditation much. He is not averse to it but has naturally grown out of it, just like one grows out of toys.
Having understood this, only you will know what works for you. You will be able to figure out the answer to your own question by your own experience. Meditate and examine yourself!
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