Most of the times, we think about meditation as state of blissfulness. The one which we want to achieve by an act of self control. A state in which, we are meant to feel serenity and calmness. An abode of peacefulness. The way we follow to attain the same is through various methods. But this topic isn’t about the steps that we follow to achieve the state of meditation. The topic is about what is meditation and how it relates to our thinking.
Meditation is a state of focus. A state where in an individual follows a certain activity with focus. A focus in which his attention, awareness becomes one and is singular. That state is the state of meditation. A state in which everything is calm and stable.
When you work on a subject or task, it can always lead to a meditative state. Meditation is not only by practicing a certain practice and breathing technique to reach. It’s present always around us and with in us. When you visit a serene beautiful blue lake surrounded by beautiful colorful plateau, and the lake reflecting a mountain. This view as you see in front of you and the moment you relish it as a presence, you have entered the meditative state. Because in the meditative state there are no thoughts. A state of feeling one with the state itself, while there are no thoughts. A state where in actuality, you have merged with the one to become singular for that moment in time. Thus meditative state is one in which you are thoughtless.
Then why you do we relate meditation to thinking. Thinking by far for majority of us is purely by empirical thoughts. A relation of experience that had happened or visualized. A sensory perception. The moment we are thinking about meditation we equate it to serenity, peaceful, calmness, white and etc. Can a woodcutter or blacksmith or sharpshooter or a sweeper can be in a meditative state as they work?
Yes! Everyone can reach the state of meditation in their work. None requires a separate meditation as a practice to reach. Meditation as said earlier is all about singularity. A state in which you become one. You become your task. You become your own practice. You become your work. A sweeper, becomes effective in his sweeping by repetition of the work. The repetition of work, with observation helps him to adopt better. This practice of repetition of work, makes him effective. The moment he becomes effective, he reaches close to a state of singularity. In this state, his body, his actions everything flows with a certain pattern, an artistic movement. It’s like the dance steps smoothly and graciously flowing on the floor as he moves sweeping the floor. His hands tuned to some music, where in we can see a pattern of flow aligned with his movement of his steps.
His whole body understands and embodies the work in that sequence of activities. In that finer moment of work, he becomes his work. His work is nothing but himself. That’s when he is in the meditative state. In that state, he would be thinking anything and he would be completely immersed in his actions. His eyes, his mind, his fingers, his feet everything aligned to one purpose and the purpose is sweeping the floor. To keep it clean and shining. This is the state of meditation.
The goal of being in a meditative state is not to create a flow. Is to be the flow
Most of us can easily achieve the state of meditation by the nature of your work. But basically we try hard to reach it by other ways of practice. Where in we force ourselves to focus or visit places of practice to reach the meditative state. The reason, we are tuned to this is, because of empirical thoughts. We read, we heard, we visualized, we watched about meditation in this way. The moment we think about meditation we relate to the following. A serene music. An environment with fresh air or fragrance around. A hall or room in complete silence. A retreat surrounded by beautiful nature. These empirical thoughts have led meditation to be a subject of elusiveness. In order to attain, it we try to practice based upon these empirical reference.
In a meditative state its being thoughtless. Can someone be thoughtless? Is it possible to be thoughtless? Well, when you are in the singular nature, you become one. The one which is what you do. As mentioned above a sweeper, when his work becomes his rhythm he is singular. In the state of singularity, the mind is fully focused on to the work. A work of sweeping the floor, to look for any dust and cleaning it properly to make the floor shining. A thought shall pop in when there is disturbance, or you find an interference to the work you do. The interference can be external and rarely internal when you are in a meditative state of work. The control of senses to the external environment helps you to swing back to the work and easily get into the state of meditation.
The meditative state is always attained by every great worker. Generally we refer this state of attainment to artists, be it the musician, a painter or dancer. When we watch a ballet dancer smoothly flowing as a swan on the dance floor, that moment of exuberance in us, is due to the fact that the ballet dancer is performing the dance in a state of meditation. A dance where in she and her movements are the one. A singularity of body, mind and motion. It’s the same case with respect to any work. Be it a craftsman, a regular accountant, a clerk, a receptionist, a sales guy. We rarely acknowledge their excellence in work. The best excellence in work is achieved, when you enter the state of meditation. This can be attained by every one.
So, when you work, how can be one thoughless? How is it possible for the one in the state of meditation during his work to be thoughtless? To understand thoughtless, we need to understand about thinking. A thought.
A thought is a relative cohesion from an event. The moment you delve into that it’s called as thinking. When you work and suddenly you get a thought about donuts, its because there was an event or color or smell or back of mind process that made you to think about donuts. The occurrence of donut is the thought. The moment it occurred in your mind, you started to think about the donut, the donut shop, the varieties of donuts, the color of donuts, the taste of donuts, and probably you started to think, who you would like to eat the donuts with, to whom you want to buy and further you went on to, when you would buy the donuts, where would you buy it from; from here you moved on to planning it as a complete step. As you were reading this, if you have started to think about donuts and started to plan for the same, then this writing is an influence creator of a thought which had led you into thinking.
A simple thought of donut had led you into thinking. In this scenario, when you work, how can be one thoughtless?. Let’s go back to the example of sweeper. A sweeper when he starts to clean the floor, then wets the mob in the liquid/detergent water and starts to mob the floor. As he continues to do his work, he comes across a dirt which is hard enough to remove. There can be only two options. In option 1, where he tries to clean the dirt and as it is hard enough, he starts to think why it is not getting cleaned. Stops, analyses and then takes an acid base and mixes with his liquid as a small sample to clean the floor. In this course of action, his tactical time to understand and to think, would actually distract him to thinking and then he tries to get to his work of cleaning. That’s where it’s mentioned earlier, that any distraction to the state of meditation can only be extrinsic.
In option 2, as he cleans and gets struck with a dirt, he immediately makes a sample with an acid base and water in the same state of flow. Then wets his mob again and wipes its clean. This method of smooth transitionary flow without any hurdle of stop over is attained by experience. An experience, where in his mind is tuned for every action or hurdle with a build in solution approach. The approach that’s stitched so well. When this happens, you don’t find a surprise or stopover in his action. He smoothly switches/pauses to make the acid base liquid and then sweeps the floor. You can literally see that, he is a same state of flow even though with external interference in his work.
In such a state of option 1, where one is wired to tasks in singularity is always thoughtless. Being in this state of thoughtless, is attained by deep understanding of the state of work. Can a writer be thoughtless? Yes obviously. A writer who knows the subject which he wants to share, and has a deep understanding of its flow, will be thoughtless as he scripts his work. The scripts flows like a perennial river. In its smoothness and elegance. Thus, in the state of meditation one is always thoughtless. When we approach meditation through thinking, then it becomes tough. It’s cumbersome. Suddenly so elusive, that we find it as forsaken fruit. The one which can be attained only by priests and yogis.
The presence of being in the current moment of work and being deep into it by focus can easily help one to be meditative enough. This state of meditation can bring the calmness amongst the chaos, the silence amongst the storms, the smile amongst the anxiety in oneself.
Touch your inner space, which is nothingness, as silent and empty as the sky; it is your inner sky. Once you settle down in your inner sky, you have come home, and a great maturity arises in your actions, in your behavior. Then whatever you do has grace in it. Then whatever you do is a poetry in itself. You live poetry; your walking becomes dancing, your silence becomes music.
The one who is in the meditative state of work always in a spacious place. A place wide open as wide as a universe.