Concentration – a lost art!

distractions

Today we have a problem of epic proportions! That is concentration or attention. There must be always something to do.

Imagine you had a day off. You will go shopping. Or you will watch TV, watched it for 10 minutes so let’s flick over to a new channel. Or let’s go on my phone, download apps, delete apps, go on apps, flick through them every ten seconds. Facebook…like…like…comment. Twitter..tweet…read…tweet…read. Instagram…post a photo….like photos…post photos…like photos. Oh, let me eat something! Confusion? What can I eat I am bored! Do you get the picture now? No! Okay, let me sit down and meditate. Do I look spiritual? Oh, meditation isn’t a spiritual practice so I can still be a cool atheist. Let me meditate…empty my mind…empty my mind…food….shark…Tesco…absence of thought but thought of absence of thought…shifting gears in a car…dustbins…porn. I give up after two minutes that seemed like two hours.

Concentration is a lost art. I say this with a sad face!

At first, I noticed this problem within myself. I used to sit in satsang (sacred gathering) and bring out my mobile phone and not take in what was being said. The problem was not my phone. It was me. Was I ready to admit this? Hell no! It is easier to blame my mind because I know I am not the mind. Oh wait! It is on loan to me so I am kind of responsible. This went on for a year and then I stopped. I realised that this wasn’t a problem that I had, this was going on around me. When we do anything and we do not focus with complete presence then sadly we lose whatever is being discussed. Sometimes, words can be heard but it is the essence, the feel of the speaker, the gestures, the expressions, the tone of the speaker that really hits you. Yet, if I am on my phone then am I taking that in? Is a text message or a whatsapp message more important? Can a phone call wait? Do I need to check that needless FaceBook notification? Do I need to check that email that somehow has passed the junk filter? I definitely do not need it.

If I was sitting in front of my Guru and He was talking to me and I just took my phone out, would that be disrespectful? Of course. We say that the Satguru is present in the Satsang, so if He is present and I am taking my phone out then that means not only am I ignoring Him but I am disrespecting Him too. Am I really seeing Satsang as a place to learn or has it become a social club?

When I sit in the Satsang now, away from my phone I can truly concentrate. I access the Formless, concentrate on the speaker without any distractions. I find that my mind does wander time to time and I bring it back to the present moment. I guide it with respect and a little love. If it is being a cheeky monkey then I give it a battering and tell it to behave. The thing is I have been trained to be in control of the mind and not the other way.

The question is how can I do this?
Start meditating. Start with 5 minutes and then every third day, go up 5 minutes. I only meditate for a maximum of 20 minutes and it is intense from the first second. My meditation happens whenever and wherever as the goal is to be aware that you are aware. Then start being aware of every action you do and you will feel the intensity of every action. It is beautiful and a great access to bliss and peace. You will enter great relaxation and the by product of this relaxation is that the mind wants more of it so it relaxes too.

The mind will go places. It will travel but your responsibility is to remain aware of this moment, the formless moment.

It is sad that we have lost concentration and it means that our sacred spaces have no space in our mind. This is sad. I encourage you that whenever you go to your place of worship, put your phone away, keep it in the car or leave it at home. Or avoid looking at it. It is important that we learn the art of concentration again or we will lose all art.

Love
Rahul

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Post 94 – Meditation and Music

Dearest friends,

Hope all are well!

Gratitude to the Formless that resides in all hearts! I wanted to write about music and meditation/prayer. Real prayer is meditation and meditation is real prayer. In sanskrit, they call it dhyana. Meditation is a very cold word to use compared to the sanskrit word. I love the word dhyana because in the sanskrit, there is a sense of union. A union between you and Existence, you and the Divine and you and God. I use God because it is a common term. We all pray to God but do we know God? Worst still, some of us have Gurus or Gods that we worship and can we say we know them? And truly knowing them is loving them, truly merging with them is the only worship.

I want to tell you a story. A Hare Krishna devotee once asked me ‘Do you know Krishna, can I meet Him?’ When he asked me, I looked into his eyes deeply and saw whether he was genuine and trust me, some people are good actors too! I replied ‘What would you do if you met Krishna? What would you say to Him?’ He looked rather confused at my question and said ‘I would like Krishna to answer my prayers.’ I laughed because now I understood what he was trying to do. I shook my head and said ‘It is better you still repeat ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Rama’ because if I let this meeting take place, you will destroy everything. Don’t ask me again until you deeply inquire within why I will not allow this meeting to take place.’ I ended it there and you must be wondering why? But before I disclose why…take a few moments to think why!

So why did I say no? First of all, he was sort of challenging Krishna. He doesn’t truly worship nor love Krishna. In your case, you may not truly worship nor love your Guru or God(s) or Goddess(-es). Plus, his challenge was weak to Krishna, he wanted Krishna to answer his prayers. Now, to you it does not look like a bad thing but it is a sin in my opinion. Now, Krishna can easily say ‘No’ and this person, because he truly has not worshipped, he has not surrendered, he has not accepted, he has not loved will pretend to be ‘heartbroken’ and will lose his ‘belief’! Remember, I have not said faith! Faith is above belief, faith is based on acceptance and knowing. Think and inquire, whether every cell of your body wants to meet the Divine, to meet the Ultimate Reality, to meet God. If this meeting takes places, enlightenment is at your feet!

Now, for those that find meditation difficult, it is essential to put some music on. It is best if it is spiritual music of course and preferably without words. Meditate with eyes closed, concentrate on each breath and take your God’s name in the outtake of the breath. So exhale and take your God’s name or Guru’s name.  Music is the union of sound and instrument. Meditation is the union between your mind and the Ultimate Reality. There is an inner world that needs to be discovered and this is your chance now!

I will keep this post short and somewhat incomplete. If you have questions, just post them underneath but better still, meditate!

Love always,

Rahul

Post 92 – Inner Peace

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. (Buddha)

Hello everyone,

Another week has gone by and here I am writing another blog for you all.

It has been a strange week for me. Let me guide you into why. There are moments in my life when I remain a little silent. Take everything in. Be one with everything. I just watch things instead of interpreting them and the result is phenomenal.

There is sometimes a glimpse of this emptiness, this void or this formless and I wonder what covers this empty space. A few moments seem like hours when I just stare into it and wonder what is there? Is this emptiness staring back at me wondering the same.

Stop! The mind has started to interpret again!

This is when you pull back and realise that you have lost being the witness and the exploration has stopped.

People ask me sometimes about how they can deepen their meditation experience, I say concentrate on actual nothingness. Close your eyes and explore the inner darkness. It seems scary, sounds scary but it is very liberating when you enter the realm where there is no top or bottom. Where you cannot crash nor bump into something. I have to admit that sometimes when you are looking into the inner darkness, there is a possibility that visions enter and memories start to appear. The best solution to get rid of them is to watch them, without judging them, without interpreting them, just watch them fleet by. I used to have some graphic images, some of my past lovers, some of my family, some of my friends and they were disturbing. You need to be mentally strong and if you can pass through that storm then consider the journey has not got long until it comes to a feeling of completion.

This is the journey for every individual. It is not about finding God or enlightenment, just finding your inner self. I can go on and on about how I disagree or agree with religion or likewise, with atheism but these things are personal for me. What is universal is that truth within the centre of your being, if you can be present in your life, then great things will come your way.

Have a little faith and trust in your self. Take the journey into the inner self. Enjoy everything material in this world but find your centre of being that is immaterial. Call it a soul, call it god, call it nature, call it presence, call it energy, it does not matter what name you give it. It is intangible. You cannot put a value on this and this is why I ask you to experience it if you wish to.

I can certainly say that meditation brings a lot of peace and eventually leads to contentment. If you are truly religious then you will know the past spiritual teachers like Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Christ, Rumi, Nanak, Kabir have all said to ‘know thy self’ and this is what meditation is. The practice is simple, close your eyes, be aware of your breathing and let things be natural. If I tell you what should happen to you after that then I will be forcing my experience onto you. I rather that it becomes a discovery for yourself. If you feel that you cannot carry on, just carry on being aware of the breath. Let it all lead back to the breath if you feel a distraction. But do it with the energy to enjoy it. Don’t be serious about spirituality. That is the biggest mistake to make. Practice meditation with joy!

Don’t let go of the opportunity to know your self! Not one single human being has known Existence (God) without knowing who they are as an individual. If you want inner peace then you have to go through the chaos of the ego. You may have to be rebellious with your ego but that is the only way you are going to transcend it.

What I am saying here does not belong to any religion but is the essence of all religions. That is my truth. What is yours, discover it for your self!

My love to all of you,

Rahul

Post 42 – God is not but Formless Consciousness is!

Some things have to be cleared up. I had realised that my statement ‘I know God does not exist’ had created certain misunderstandings. I received a private message on Twitter today saying ‘With your current belief – shouldn’t you believe in God?’ It is a very valid question and I think he meant in terms of my religion or the spiritual institution/movement that I follow and have trust in. I replied saying I will write the answer on my blog.

First of all, I am definitely standing next to my previous statements that God does not exist. Now, let’s make this clear as far as I am concerned I don’t believe in a man in a sky and neither do I think God is a creator and is separate to our existence. I also want to maintain that God did not create religion and if he did, I am sure he doesn’t like the outcome. Even if he did exist – someone as humble as God wouldn’t really care if you believed in him or not. Now can you see what I have done there – I have made God sound really human. This is what my problem with God is. If anything we have humanised God and there can be no denial about that. Why would God feel love when it is an emotion of our mind? Why would God want to create fear within us against him? If he is supreme – we don’t need to mould him into some form of a dictator. So I don’t believe in any religion or movement/institution that humanises God! Once you do this to God then he loses all meaning.

The other thing is I have stated that God is Formless. Now I want to remove God – as you can see from above I don’t want to humanise my definition. Therefore, take time to understand this. I have called God – consciousness, cosmic energy, godliness, creativity and the reason for this is okay – you cannot see the first three descriptions – they have to be felt. You have to go beyond the mind to comprehend this. Creativity is what this existence does – it continues to create and expand. We can see the evidence of this all around us and it goes beyond our galaxies to other galaxies. Now if God is Formless then full stop. You can describe it but it will not be the true taste. If something is formless, you cannot add anything human into it. It is beyond our intelligence – hence I don’t classify myself an atheist. I don’t believe this Formless Consciousness will judge you, will determine if you are a sinner, will punish you or even save you. This Formless Consciousness is within us, around us and everywhere, it is upto us to connect with it, we have to realise it, we have to unite with it. So we have to remove God because he has a baggage and I feel the centuries of baggage has really began to stink. Therefore, I wish to call it Formless Consciousness.

People may say I do not believe in God…I agree. Any religion or movement/institution that adds ‘qualities’ to God then that God does not exist. God is beyond these silly human qualities. Read Tao. This Consciousness is ultimately nameless because you can only experience it, and it is the only experience which the human language cannot describe. I don’t believe in mainstream religion and its God but I know for sure that this Consciousness is everywhere, it is around us and it is within us. It is silent. It has no language. You have to remove everything material to it to understand it. I am not an atheist and I am not a theist. If I can’t describe this Formless Consciousness in its totality then you simply cannot describe my stance on ‘God’!

I hope now some people will understand me a lot clearly and it cannot get more simple than this. However, to be honest I am sure the more I find the answer within, the more simple it gets.

Stay blessed

Rahul N Singh

PS. Will announce my book on Friday! Stay tuned!