What is Meditation?

H.W.L.Poonja, Popularly knows as Papaji

by Papaji

Here and now, if we do not make any effort, if we do not activate a single thought, if we do not even allow the thought ‘I’, if we do not hold to the concept of time, if we do not postpone anything to the next moment, to the next breath, this is going to reveal itself


A long time ago, Siddhartha went from place to place going through different processes, meeting different teachers who were performing different penances. Some were meditating, some were performing rituals, some were even hanging from the trees, some were standing with their hands always up, never sitting at all.

When Siddhartha sat down under the bodhi tree he got up as Buddha. Ananda was the first man to ask the master what he had got there. The reply was, “Nothing.” We do not know how to describe what he found under the bodhi tree. He spent the rest of his life, from 30 to 80, trying to describe what he had got and still he could not. This is something that still remains un-described, un-conceived.

When you know that you are meditating it is not meditation. The thought that, "I am meditating and this is the process." is not meditation. Sitting in a particular posture is not meditation. Concentrating on different centers in the sushpana channel of the spine is not meditation. Chanting a formula is not meditation. Having a vision or picture of a particular deity is not meditation. So what is meditation?

The important question is if the meditation is immaculate, untouched, without cause and without effect? To know what meditation is, you have to find who the meditator is: "Who is the meditator?" When you ask this everything will drop. The process will to drop because you are inquiring into the nature of the meditator, the one who is busy with this process of sadhana, who is executing the practice of meditation - the same one who executes anything that is possible through the mind. If you ask who the meditator is I don't think you will easily get the answer because everything will drop right here. You have to find out who the meditator is, who is meditating, and what is the purpose of meditation.

You forgot the purpose of meditation. We wanted freedom from this world process of suffering and to end this we meditate with the help of the mind. The mind itself is suffering, is samsara; so if we take the help of mind we are not going to arrive anywhere. Ask who the meditator is and you will reply to yourself: "I meditate. I am the meditator."

What is this ‘I’ who becomes the meditator? How is it different from what it is searching for? You will have to discover what has been concealed when you give rise to this meditator - what is buried underneath. What is that foundation out of which this meditator rises and performs different sadhanas and practices? Return back home to find the source of the meditator - the source of ‘I’. There is no difference between the meditator, the ‘I’, the mind, and the ego. Whenever we meditate it is the ego that takes the role of the meditator, so meditation has not brought any result so far.

Someone arose from under the bodhi tree. That cannot be attributed to any practice of meditation. When he was asked what he had attained he was quite honest and said, "Nothing." He had not attained anything during the process of long sittings of meditation. Something had revealed itself to itself. That revelation, that happening, is not in your hands. If you carry a gun on your shoulder and you are looking for a target it will take you elsewhere. The gun is effort, the gun is ego. If you drop the gun and don't possess anything it is going to reveal itself, by itself, to itself within itself. That which has been concealed since millions of years will have to reveal itself.

We are waiting, thinking that we have to do something about it. It is this doer-ship which is concealing the truth, existence, consciousness, and bliss. Otherwise this has always been with you, is with you now, and will always be with you. You can never separate yourself from it at any time. You cannot breathe without it, you cannot live without it. It was only a concept that the wave was different from the ocean, that the ring was different from the gold, or that the vessel is different from the clay. Because we do not see the substratum we find a difference.

Here and now, if we do not make any effort, if we do not activate a single thought, if we do not even allow the thought ‘I’, if we do not hold to the concept of time, if we do not postpone anything to the next moment, to the next breath, this is going to reveal itself. Here and now means out of time all together. This has nothing to do with any meditation or any process. We have tried endlessly through numberless incarnations and we have not been able to complete it. This time let us decide to return home. We have been different waves, different name and form; but if name and form does not arise where is the wave? We are the ocean, existence, consciousness and bliss. We have come here to realize this without any effort. We have tried every kind of effort, we have been advised in our different backgrounds to “do this” or “do that.” Now, here, for the first time you do not have to do anything. Simply sit quiet for one moment in time. That is all that is required to realize existence, consciousness and bliss.

How could existence be absent? Is it possible for you ever to deny that you exist or even that you are conscious of your existence? You can only deny that you are happy because no one is happy, from the king down to the worker. We have been missing bliss because we have been searching for it in things which are not permanent, which are not eternal, which appear and disappear.

Only bliss is missing. Existence can be found in rocks, in animals, in trees. We are human beings, a super species among 8.4 million species. This is the supreme form, the most blessed form, in which it is possible to know that we are That. Do not postpone the right use of a human form until the next life or the next day. Tomorrow will never come. This is not difficult, not located miles away from you. It is here, now, nearer than your own breath. It is behind the retina. It is that which shines through the eyes. It is that which even sunshine cannot reach, nor the moon, nor the stars, nor fire. You are That.

Om Hare Om.

15 May, 1992

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Source: Reprinted with the kind permission of the Avadhuta Foundation.  The Avadhuta Foundation was established in 1993 to further the teachings of Sri H.W.L. Poonja, affectionately referred to as Papaji, and to make available the archives of Papaji’s talks in India. You may visit their website from here.