Vedic meditation Gary Gorrow explains how the vedic meditation technique works. The ancient Rishis realized that man could find tremendous resources through the development of his consciousness and the Vedic Meditation technique is the result of thousands of years of research and investigation into the subtle inner workings of the mind, body and being.
So what is this technique and how does it work?
When we look at meditation practices we find they fall into one of two categories: they’re either contemplative in their nature or concentrative in their nature. Now a contemplative technique will involve some form of visualization or imagination or memory, evocation. And a concentrative technique will involve focusing or directing the awareness on something. It could be a candle. It could be the breath. Or it could just be being exclusively silent and watching against thoughts as they come into the mind.
What we’re doing is something called ‘effortless transcendence.’ It’s in a completely different category of its own. We’re not trying to make the mind settle down. We’re just allowing it to spontaneously do so. We’re not thinking about thinking, we’re learning to transcend thinking.
Vedic meditation is a very effortless and natural form of meditation that you simply do sitting comfortably with your eyes closed—20 minutes in the morning, and 20 minutes in the evening.
If you would step back from your own mind you’d find that it’s incessantly thinking, always projecting itself into the future, or reviewing the past. Imagining something or remembering something. What we’re actually learning to do with this technique is to transcend activity, to basically de-excite the mind and take it into a very settled state.
But by nature the mind is perpetually moving, and what some people have made the assumption is that our minds are kind of like a drunken monkey or a wild dog that needs to be bound and held and focused, and made to become silent.
Whereas our understanding is that actually our mind is noble by nature, and this technique works universally because the nature of every human mind is the same. Given an option, A or B, if B is more charming than A your mind will obviously gravitate towards that.
So what I mean by this is that if you think of the mind being like an ocean and our awareness is typically constrained to the surface, we find that this is that busy, frenetic part of the mind. And the deeper parts of the mind are more quiet and more blissful, and your mind would love to make contact with that. But it’s the intense activity that just kind of keeps the mind on the surface.
So what we do with this technique is we’re giving the mind a medium or vehicle which allows it to go within. Because left to its own devices it would never do that. So rather than trying to focus the mind to make it settle down or to simply contemplate something, what we’re doing is we’re giving the mind a medium which allows it to do that. And what is that? A mantra.
Now ‘mantra’ is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘manas’ for mind and ‘tra’ which means vehicle or instrument. So it’s literally a medium which takes the awareness from the surface into the subtle, and then into the transcendent.
The vedic tradition recognizes that there’s hundreds of thousands of different mantras, and they all do very specific things. The mantras we use have no meaning whatsoever. They’re not verbs, nouns, adjectives. Your mind can’t associate anything to it. They’re just pure sounds, and these sounds are very mellifluous in nature. Mellifluous means ‘sweet-flowing.’
Why that’s significant is because when you meditate, you’re sitting comfortably in a chair, you close your eyes, and you begin to subtly think a mantra inside your mind. And what that mantra does is it stands out amongst the crowd of activity. And how active our minds are you just need to consider that, on average, we have somewhere between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts in a day.
What the mantra does is it kind of causes your mind to gravitate towards it. Why this technique is effort less is because the mantras are doing all the work. You begin to silently repeat it inside your mind at this level, and the mantras have a nature that with each repetition they spontaneously get fainter. They get subtler, and they get finer. And what’s happening the whole time your mind is being lured inward more into subtler states of awareness, deeper levels of mind and consciousness.
It’s actually the nature of the mind to want to transcend. It’s just never been actually presented with the possibility to do so. It just gets caught on the surface moving backward and forward in time. So the mantra actually leads the mind inward, and each time the mind moves inward it experiences bliss, contentment, satisfaction, satiety increasing, until your mind becomes so saturated in bliss that it does what we call transcending. It moved beyond thinking, thus to a state of pure being.