Will a single or a few sessions of meditation lead to gyan (knowledge) and fulfillment in life? No, it is a lifelong process. It does not happen with a few sessions or even few years of meditation.
Often, I am asked about the difference between meditation and mindfulness. In meditation, we begin with a thought – the presence of divinity within our heart – and wait for the thought to be converted into feeling. In mindfulness, the focus is on being aware of thoughts. A moment comes when you lose yourself completely, you move from thought to experience, and when the experience is transcended, you move into the sphere of nothingness, which our shastras call samadhi.
Now, what is samadhi? People generally think it is a zombie-like state sans feeling. This is what patanjali calls pashantulya, something akin to stone. Have you heard people say someone smoked marijuana and got stoned? You can be anaesthetised and be stoned, you can take a sedative and be stoned, but samadhi is different. If you analyse the word ‘samadhi’, it is ‘sam’ + ‘adhi’, the condition that prevailed before the creation: when there were no galaxies, no planets, no stars, nothing whatsoever. So, what was there in such a state? Only darkness, veiled within darkness, and nothing else. That is why our ancient rishis depicted the original state as total darkness in the form of the goddess Kali. God came later, purusha came later, but prakriti was already there. The female principle already existed.
Mindfulness is strictly at the mind level. Meditation takes you beyond yourself to God.
I would like to emphasise that heartfulness teaches us how to be in a samadhi state even with open eyes, though the training is done by closing our eyes and meditating upon the heart. This experience gives us the hunger to grow further in spirituality. If you experience this state just once, will you be satisfied? No, it is like being a millionaire for a day before becoming a beggar again. Remember, with every meditation, we will go through many experiences. As we continue to experience, we must become something. Otherwise, the experiences are of no use. We must become divine citizens; only then will we have contentment.
Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He is a role model for students of spirituality who seek that perfect blend of eastern heart and western mind. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today.