My usual meditation session this morning was not the kind that I experience every day. I had a monkey mind working overtime and it took a great deal of effort to stay on course.

This is to be expected and not the first time that I have experienced such a disturbed session. What came as a surprise to me was when I opened my mail box this morning, I had received a forward from another meditator friend Ramesh. He sent it because it referred to a message from a highly revered sage after who I am named, Ramana Maharishi.

I reproduce the email message here for the benefit of my friends who meditate.


“Sri Ramana Maharshi on wandering mind:

In the evening a visitor asked Maharishi how to control the wandering mind. HE began by saying that it was a question which particularly troubled him.

Sri Ramana Maharishi replied laughing: ‘That is nothing particular to you. That is what everybody asks and what is dealt with by all the scriptures, such as the Gita. What other way is there except to draw the mind back every time it strays or turns outwards, as advised in the Gita? Of course it is not an easy thing to do. It will come only with practice.’

The visitor said that the mind strays after what it desires and won’t stay fixed on the object we set before it.

M: “Everybody seeks only what brings him happiness. Your mind wanders out after some object or other because you think that happiness comes from it, but find out where all happiness comes from, including that which you regard as coming from sense objects. You will find that it all comes from the Self alone, and then you will be able to abide in the Self.

All doubts will cease only when the doubter and his source have been found. It is no use endlessly removing doubts. If we clear up one another will arise and there will be no end to them. But if the doubter himself is found to be really nonexistent by seeking his source then all doubts will cease.”

30 thoughts on “Meditation.”

  1. Personally I find my mind doesn’t just wander after happiness but also unhappiness. Maybe more so because I’m always curious about how the unhappiness arises. If only I could accept that most of the world’s unhappiness is something I can’t do anything about, my mind would be a lot more serene.
    nick recently posted..Unsung heroes

        1. For from it. All I am saying is that those unhappy thoughts arise and pass away just as the happy ones do too. It is up to the meditator to decide whether to wallow in those thoughts or shift the awareness.

  2. As usual I’m curious. Do you have any clue why this sometimes happens and why it doesn’t?

    You often talk about how you go with the flow, that things just happen to you. Do you agree or disagree with Swami Satchidananda in The Yoga Sutras:

    “ A happy or unhappy life is your own creation. Nobody else is responsible. If you remember this, you won’t find fault with anybody.”
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Roadwork

    1. You have known me through my writings for a while now CM. Can you think of any occasion when I found fault with someone and let it affect me? I will find fault with others on matters of ethics or etiquette or relationships. I will not let that affect me. It took a long time, 14 years actually to come to that stage of being able to observe reactions within me and to let it go.

      So becoming, mark my choice of that word over being, happy or unhappy is a reaction. That is our creation. That is what the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali explains. Managing our reactions is the way to equanimity.

      This happens as told to me by my teacher because, the mind is carrying impressions of many lives including unconscious and/or sub conscious impressions gathered during this life, and meditation helps to bring these to surface and let go. Why it happens sometimes and not othertimes, is explained by the law of karma. Those thoughts have to come up at that time. There is no other explanation that satisfies me.

      1. “Can you think of any occasion when I found fault with someone and let it affect me?” Of course. I’m thinking of your why-me-itis when dealing with your father. You pointed out at the time your reaction — not taking responsibility for your feelings — was only human. So now when you write “It took a long time, 14 years actually to come to that stage of being able to observe reactions within me and to let it go,” I assume you mean you do that sometimes, in certain situations. As you’ve said, you believe consistency is for stagnant people. You feel free to change your “opinions, values and morals to suit particular contexts.” It’s different enough from the way I look at things to be fascinating. Great posts!
        Cheerful Monk recently posted..Roadwork

        1. Let us look at this critically. I went through that experience for four years. Throughout the period, I was sharing my condition with my readers on my blog at various points of time. Three forces were at play. One was compassion for the old man and his condition, without which I would not have had him stay with me at all. (In fact, my siblings and other members of my family were all for my shifting him to an assisted living facility.) Two, the frustrations arising out of the situation and, three, my ability to cope and being true to my self.

          You must consider whether I was able to observe the reactions inside me, cope with them, and manage to remain sane by not allowing those reactions to affect my basic nature of letting go. Whymeitis was a reaction, I identified it as such, coped with it regularly and was able to drop it and be cheerful in my existence outside that relationship. I did not succumb to it and suffer a break down or allow it to raise my blood pressure or react in any way that would have harmed him. During those four years, was there any drop in my sense of humour or a disability to handle other day-to-day life and abnormal matters like my surgery and recovery?

          You must not take a very normal reaction, which I articulated periodically, and coped with, and come to a part conclusion to suit a pre judged position.

  3. my rummy, what a handsome wise and kind looking man.
    i’m afraid the deepest meditational techniques and practices are lost on me.
    i tend to simply sit with what i call ‘my child’s mind’ and i just smile. it goes everywhere sometimes and i don’t fight it. it usually settles down.
    i just keep breathing.
    eventually i realize i must be meditating! only i don’t call it that.
    i just call it quiet breathing.
    i’m not very adept i’m afraid. i’d never make it in an ashram probably!
    they would kick me out. i’m sure i would wiggle. or sneeze or maybe even laugh right out loud.
    tammyj recently posted..salad days!

    1. Tammy, in the meditation halls that I used to go to, someone like you will be cherished. Meditation is not a grim business. It is to bring out the real happy you out of the confinements of your conditioning.

      If the breathing/observing works for you , stay with it. It is as good a technique as any other. Call it by any name that you are comfortable with, and I will still cherish you.

  4. An image that has worked for me (and that I try to teach patients) is to imagine those thoughts and feelings being like clouds on a breezy day. If you look ahead in one place, they drift into your filed of vision, linger a moment, and drift on out. The only way I can do medication at all is to let it be okay for me that sometimes my mind has a lot more clouds than other days, but they’ll pass. That’s as close as I can get at this point in my life.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Another brief vacation in retrospect.

  5. Noticed or not? – your name is also Ramana 🙂

    I read a book on him – The Secret Path. The description of Ramana Maharshi was so vivid that I could simply fall in love with him. I never knew by that time more about Ramana Maharshi (I wonder where did I get that book either). Perhaps I bought it from some library auction (not knowing what is it?).

    Well, later I came to know more about Ramana Maharshi you wont believe where. In my Art of Living Course, my teacher talked about him and said Paul Brunton has written about him. I could connect the dots.

    I describe Ramana Mahashri as – compassion and love oozes off his eyes.
    KRD Pravin recently posted..Yoga – Secular or not?

    1. Pravin, I quote – “He sent it because it referred to a message from a highly revered sage after who I am named, Ramana Maharishi.”

      In another context, I have pointed out to you that many things happen in one’s spiritual life which inexorably and inexplicably takes the seeker to his goal.

      1. Do you think I have some goal and have achieved any?

        Uncleji I am a nomadic who does not know the goal or every place is the goal…. too philosophical – I cant digest it myself 🙂
        KRD Pravin recently posted..We the takers!

        1. Yes. You have both short term and long term goals. You however have to gather courage to achieve the short term one. What makes you think that nomads do not have goals. Their goal is to follow the fodder to feed their cattle.

  6. I have heard and read many times that my monkey mind is not unique in its activities. Therefore, I am not hard on myself and try to be happy that I have had such constructive thoughts before I remembered to go back to my breath. I was actually wondering this morning if I am particularly bad at meditating. Then I decided to breathe and not worry about it. Good or bad…I’m just going to keep at it. That seems to apply to many things in my life that I feel are good for me even as I know that I am not good AT those things. Namaste.
    Talk to Me…I’m Your Mother recently posted..Birthdays and Memorials

  7. Am unable to tear myself from the vagaries of life for 5 minutes, even. Each day I promise myself that I will meditate, but I can’t/won’t/don’t. I guess it will happen naturally. All I use the breathing techniques for these days is pain relief – tried it on a headache yesterday – miraculous! And of course, on acidity.

    1. Those were exactly the kind of situations in my life when Sultan uncle dragged me into learning to meditate. Not only that, when Mom saw what change it brought about in me, she too wanted what I had and learnt it. After that, it is practice, practice and practice. You must want it badly enough.

      1. Let’s face it. It’s dangerous to pretend to be wise. It’s much safer to say “We’re all a bunch of nuts, muddling along as best we can.” And it’s a lot more fun, IMHO.

        That doesn’t mean we can’t make progress if we keep working at it. When Dōgen Zenji was asked how had attained enlightenment he answered, “It was just one mistake after another.” Hurray for mistakes! 🙂
        Cheerful Monk recently posted..Roadwork

        1. I could not agree more. I don’t claim to be wise. At least not yet. I am on the path and that itself is a highly satisfying experience. I am also a nut. No two thoughts on that either. In my circle of friends and family I am indeed known as one for the simple reason that I am not a hedonist as they are. I am more like the alley cat, taking my pleasures where and when I come across them, but quite comfortable without them.

          And, yes indeed. One mistake after the other is the way to go. How else would learn?
          Rummuser recently posted..MD. Another Landmark.

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