Folks! There is a reason I named my blog “Introspecting Investor“. I wanted it to cover two areas which are very dear to me. One of them is mindfulness or meditation and the other is my passion for investing in stock market.
So far most of my posts have been related to investing in stock market but I would also like to share my experience of meditation something that I have been practising for 19 years.
The reason I would like to share my experience of meditation is that it has had a profound impact on me as an individual.
In last 19 years I have changed a lot as a person. These changes were possible due to self reflection and they have helped me in all aspects of life and even in my investing journey.
Therefore I have decided to write a series of posts on what is meditation, my experiments with meditation, the way it has transformed my life as an individual, how can meditation transform you in to a better investor and finally how to meditate.
Everything that I write will be based on my experience and will not be just for the sake of writing.
Before I begin describing What is Meditation there are many people who may think if its even worth meditating. What can it do for me? So lets begin with answering that first.
Is Meditation Even Worth The Effort?
I am sure each one of us has experienced misery, sorrow, emptiness, low self esteem at some point of time in our lives.
It’s like LIFE does not give us everything that we desire. That’s how we feel and we are very sure of our perspective that there is nothing we can do to induce happiness in our lives.
People stuck in despair often feel that there is no escape out of their present circumstances and to a certain extent it may be true as well.
This negative feeling, this sinking feeling makes us take drastic measures like self sabotaging, living life as a means of avenging things or worse committing suicide.
Here is what I can tell you folks. I as an individual have had my ups and downs. I never liked a job and I wanted to break free but I did not know back in 2012 how to live without a paycheck.
So when I was in Dubai, I used to come back from office, to an empty house, feeling dull, trapped and just crash on the sofa. Sometimes I would start walking to take a cab for office in the morning and then stop, unable to find the zeal to move forward.
It was eating me up everyday little by little. Coming home, feeling empty inside and depressed had become a routine. In those moments of emptiness do you know what kept me going?
After each episode of pessimism, my habit of meditating daily filled me up with optimism. That things will change for good someday.
It was the will power, patience and persistence that you unknowingly develop as an individual when you sit for prolonged periods of self contemplation that help you bounce back from a lot of situations where we think it is a dead end.
Another point worth mentioning is that self contemplation shows us how narrow is our outlook. We have a very limited view of who we are.
We seek validation from others, we seek acceptance on social media. Our EGO needs a constant boost of How Great I am, How Much Money I have to How Good Looking I am. With such high expectations slightest of let down on any front makes us miserable.
Just look at the picture below and zoom out.
Somewhere out there in the milky way is our tiny planet and on it are our tiny little problems.
From the reference point of an observer viewing the Milky way, our life, our emotions and our circumstances on EARTH seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
So if you want to expand your outlook, if you want to be blissful even in solitude, if you wish to stop seeking external opinion of how cool you are, if you want wisdom to resolve your relationships, and above all find out your true self then embrace Meditation.
With this perspective allow me to take you further on our journey of self contemplation and describe meditation based on my experience.
What Is Meditation?
From my experience I will describe meditation as a practice of disconnecting from the gross physical world of senses and connecting with the more subtle inner world of our mind.
It is a process of gradually reducing the thoughts processed by our mind to establish us in a state of calmness, blissfulness and experience ourselves as pure consciousness.
This extremely subtle state of being pure awareness is beyond the comprehension of our mind.
This long journey of meditation from identification with physical body to the subtle awareness involves losing all your body identity, losing the concept of space and time and losing all your identities of being a father, mother, brother, sister.
When all such identities are shed through the process of meditation you abide as what you truly are, pure awareness.
What Is The Process Of Meditation Like ?
Right now I will describe the process of meditation concisely as we will discuss each step later in another post. So this process involves the following:
a) Withdrawing your mind first from the external world of touch, sound and senses. This can be done by breathing in a relaxed manner and to be aware of your breath with eyes open.
b) Then turning the focus inwards on mind itself to see what is it thinking, dwelling in the past or some distant future
c) Gradually shifting the focus our mind on a single object like the image of a deity or on the process of breathing or on a Mantra or any sound that instills peace and helps in concentrating the mind
c) Then Becoming an observer with no end goal and observing the mind like a traveller who experiences the journey, the people he/she meets with no judgement.
This traveller as he begins his journey gets carried away by the scenery or the people it observes on the road. Nevertheless the traveller must focus on the road ahead and keep travelling
d) Likewise as the mind drifts away with a thought you gently bring it back to the object of concentration. Eventually this should lead to reduced thoughts to no thought by consistent practice.
At some point in time a meditator will not even be aware that he/she is meditating and will have no awareness of space or time
The end GOAL is to abide as PURE CONSCIOUSNESS UNCLOURED BY ANY THOUGHTS OR DESIRES. THIS IS YOUR TRUE BEINGNESS, the TRUE YOU.
2. Meditation: A Process That Helps Us Focus On The Most Neglected Person That Is You
You know our lives are rarely about ourselves rather they are about the expectations that people have from us. In most relationships be it of husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, each individual has to fulfil certain expectations or responsibilities.
In doing so we travel so far that after a while we lose connection with the most important person that is You Yourself. As a father or mother you are worried about your children, when to pick them up from school, cooking food to getting groceries, to tutoring kids and the list goes on.
The end result is that these responsibilities keep your mind occupied with lots of worries. As life progresses you find that you have no time for your ownself.
Well meditation is a practice that focuses the spotlight back on your mind, something that has always existed but never been explored.
It allows an individual to drop the multiple identities each one of us carries as a mother, father, son or daughter and discover our true nature that is of pure awareness, ever blissful and centered in calmness.
In those moments of deep meditation all responsibilities will fall apart. Your sub – conscious mind will bring forth your desires that you long for as a person. Atleast the focus will be on you and not what others want from you.
Gradually even these desires will disappear and you will be established in a state of divine serenity.
2. Meditation: A Technique To Observe Your Own Mind
Our mind is a thinking machine. It just cannot stop thinking but most of the time we are not even aware that we are thinking. After all its such an inbuilt automatic process.
These thoughts are always running in the background but they are noticed once the focus is turned away from the external world and back to our mind.
For the first time you have stepped away from the mind as if you are another person and started observing it. Now you see what the hell it keeps thinking, its grand plans for the future, its jealousy with the neighbours’ newly bought car, its worries about what is for dinner and what not.
It all starts rising to the surface and this is how we all usually begin. Observing the wildest individual out there our own Mind.
As a beginner the flow of thoughts makes you feel frustrated because we try to set a wrong objective that we need to be thought free right from day 1 while meditating.
Well I will advise you to stay away from keeping any targets and try to enjoy observing your own thoughts just as a care free traveller on the road observing nature and people as they pass by.
The key thing to remember while meditating or after meditating is to not judge your performance based on number of thoughts, quality of thoughts or any experience. Just observe the mind, focus on the object of your choice and make it a habit.
3. Meditation Is A Gradual Process & Not a Rat Race
Meditation is like a journey of a traveller who is not racing against time to reach a place within a span of time. Imagine a biker who knows that he has to reach Leh from Delhi but he has not planned anything.
So he stops when its dark, has food where it is appropriate, stops to chit chat with another biker or a local, enjoys taking breaks to view the landscape.
Such a person is enjoying the journey instead of a person whose hotel bookings are pre-decided, which place to reach by what time is also well chalked out.
So keep your expectations from meditation minimal. You will not find peace or change as an individual instantly but if you stick to meditation long enough then based on my experience I can assure you that you will see a profound change in your outlook and that will make all the difference.
You will realise with time that being happy is in your control despite the circumstances. I will share my real life experiences in a later post which will support this point.
Therefore on the path to meditation be like the biker with no plan but knows he/she has a destination to reach and will eventually get there someday
4. Meditation Has An End Goal
The end goal of meditation is hidden in the definition of Yoga provided by an ancient sage Maharishi Patanjali in the book “Yogasutras of Patanjali”.
Please note that actual meaning of Yoga is union. In the context of meditation, Yoga means union of our finite ego identity with infinite consciousness. So what is finite merges with the infinite.
Therefore do not confuse Yoga with a bunch of asanas (postures). Such asanas are just one aspect of Yoga and Yoga is much more than that.
Maharishi Patanjali describes Yoga as:
Yogas Chittah Vrittihi Nirodha
Yoga is stopping of all alterations/modifications of chitta (sub conscious mind).
Therefore as per the above definition, Yoga means to stop all modifications that happen in our awareness so that we do not dwell in past or future rather remain in the present. These modifications in consciousness are brought about through:
a) Recollection of past memories which can be sweet or bitter which then lead to an emotional response within and alter our consciousness
b) Thoughts/desires about what we don’t have and would like to have in future
As per Maharishi Patanjali the objective of Yoga is to brings these modifications to a halt which then immediately clears the way for pure awareness uncoloured by emotions or desires or our flawed identity of ourselves.
The moment this pure awareness shines forth our mind dissolves and loses its existence and our true state of pure awareness is revealed to us in an instant.
You can call it The Light – Bulb moment and this is the end goal of Meditation.
Too Much For One Blog Post. Stay Tuned For More In My Next Post
I will leave you with these thoughts on Meditation. In the next post I will share my experiences in this journey of meditation.
How a severe eye muscle pain led me to Meditation, the highs and the lows. All the various techniques I used to calm my mind. Eventually finding the right technique for me and much more.
The idea I want to convey by sharing my experiences is that Meditation is like playing a sport. You adopt a strategy, you go wrong and then modify your strategy until you become perfect.
I hope you like this post. Please do share it if you liked it. Let’s calm some minds.
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