By Gurudevi (Swami Nirmalananda)
Roshis, Lamas and Swamis – how do they meditate?
These amazing people have dedicated their lives to the ultimate attainment. Many of them share their wisdom with others, for they serve as teachers within their own traditions. What does that mean for you? You have the best meditation when you meditate with an experienced meditator.
So what is a swami’s meditation like? In some ways, it’s a lot like yours.
First, they sit. Before sitting, just as recommended, they prepare by doing some yogic breathing or stretches, maybe a chant or some mantras/prayers. These practices help you with both body and mind. And if you’re going to be sitting for a while, your body needs some help or preparation.
But they may not always do a formal preparation. The good news is that simply sitting for a bit calms the mind so meditation comes easier. It’s said that a 20-minute meditation is “19 minutes of preparation and 1 minute of meditation.” So a swami usually wants to meditate longer.
It is easier for a monk to meditate than the average person. Why?
One reason is that it hasn’t been very long since their last meditation, probably only hours, maybe a day. When you go a long time between meditations, you’ve gotten lost and it’s harder to find your way back inside. Meditating frequently is one of their secrets.
Another reason their meditation is easier is that they really care about their meditation. It’s a priority for them. For myself, I’d rather meditate than sleep; I’d rather meditate than eat. When I’m not meditating, my mind sometimes looks at the clock to figure out how long it will be before my next meditation period comes.
Why? Because of the bliss, the peace, the depth, the enlivenment, the awarenesses and insights that make life easier. Meditation is profoundly nourishing. My tantric tradition describes it as a way to bathe mind and body in the energy of Consciousness (chiti-shakti).
Everyone gets these benefits, not just monks. Still, it’s easier for the monks. Why?
Because when they are not meditating, their mind is focused on different things than most people. Most people are focused on their reactions, desires and fears. Monks are focused on serving others while being based in the inner depths. That’s another secret.
It means their mind is not as likely to be churning over what happened or over what didn’t happen. And even if it does, they know how to steer it toward Consciousness.
Want one more secret? They all have a teacher, an authorized leader within their meditative tradition – one who has attained the heights of Consciousness. Their teacher helps them along the way.
Sometimes it’s a hint or a word that helps them refine their understanding. Other times it is a transmission of the energy of the lineage. It’s like getting a boost over the fence.
You need a teacher who knows more than you, or they cannot teach you. You need a teacher who is more deeply established in Consciousness, or they can’t boost you there. I know because I got a boost.
I got so much out of my first boost that I went back for another and another. I got Shaktipat from my Guru over 200 times. It worked!