That's right...going for the battle of 'tion' words today. I decided to write a little about my opinion on "meditation" and the vast misunderstanding that surrounds its definition as a practice versus a result or response to a practice.
First I would like to share my definition of meditation and its source. Mediation or Dhyana is the effortless and "continuous flow" of consciousness between the meditator and the object of meditation. (the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by Swami Satchidnanada)
For a little personal opinion this means there is no presence of mind in meditation. Mind is a term we use for the action of the brain like thoughts, memory, emotion, will, and imagination. The brain is the organ.. the mind is the idea of an individual information processing center that is exclusive to the person. The brain is what takes in the information from the external world and the mind makes sense of it. By saying it makes sense; we are saying that we can experience and agree upon something especially if we are talking about external experiences that can easily be shared.
All of this jazz about the mind is to show that the true experience of meditation goes against the normal definition of what the mind does. We can not experience complete absorption with an object or idea when the mind is continuously engaged with what is going on around us and inside of us. Most people need to focus on "Concentration" or Dharna. For most of us this is the limb that is being practiced when people say they are meditating. This is a good place to be for a long time and it will lead the individual towards the state of release of the mind and allow meditation to set in.
In meditation everything you view as the world both external and internal become null and void. Neti Neti. Not this not that. Because of this definition I ask why would someone even pretend to be able to describe this experience within the context and language of the ego and mind. Some are poetic interpretations of what they experienced, but this leads the individual more towards either Hallucination or Over Active Imagination. Unless there are other substances present I would lean towards OAI (over active imagination). Most people would be very direct if there was a substance based hallucination going on, but it is possible to have hallucinations with out the influence of substance. In fact we call this a dream :) So is this color description we have all be told by our friends or teachers a reality that is accessible to all or is it just like a dream that is exclusive the ego who inhabits that particular mind?
The truth is that most of us practice concentration and meditation becomes a response to the practice meditation. If someone says they practice meditation and begins to describe a list of visualization, breathing, or asana techniques then I have to argue that they are not doing or practicing meditation, but only doing the practice (concentration) that will help them find this meditation. Include the Buddhists who sit in silence as well...if they are only practicing the concentration techniques. Meditation is the result not the practice and the goal is to accomplish the absorption experience. Not one practice is better or worse. They all have their science with yoga asana, silent concentration, mantra repetition, breath control, serious dancing, psychedelic drugs, or even athletes or warriors where the individual is completely mentally invested in a specific action or goal. We all will understand and feel the lose of time and space.
If people want to really educate individuals then all the steps should be discussed. It seems to me that people are trying to describe their action by their intended result. The practice of yoga should not be described by the experience of yoga and the experience of yoga should not be described as the practice. The are directly related but easily confused as the same but distinctly different. Students should start with the practice so the experience is more easily assimilated into their lives. Practice allows the student to experience these things. We are moving directly towards the experience with no practice is similar to simple minded faith.
What would be the best route for people to begin this journey... Are the students not suppose to climb the mountain to get answers to there questions or would it be ok to take a helicopter tour up to the top for $9.99?
What is meditation to you friends? Is it nothing or deep revelation? Is it Hallucination or Over Active Imagination.. or are we all just asleep... like walking zombies dreaming whatever we want?