There are different schools of meditation, different methods and systems. There are systems which say, ‘Watch the movement of your big toe, watch it, watch it, watch it.’ There are other systems which advocate sitting in a certain posture, breathing regularly or practising awareness. All this is utterly mechanical.
Another method gives you a certain word and tells you that if you go on repeating it, you will have some extraordinary transcendental experience. This is sheer nonsense. It is a form of self-hypnosis. By repeating ‘Amen’ or ‘Om’ or ‘Coca-Cola’ indefinitely, you will obviously have a certain experience because by repetition the mind becomes quiet. It is a well-known phenomenon which has been practised for thousands of years in India-Mantra Yoga it is called. By repetition you can induce the mind to be gentle and soft, but it is still a petty, shoddy, little mind.
Meditation is not following any system; it is not constant repetition and imitation.
Meditation is not concentration. It is one of the favourite gambits of some teachers of meditation to insist on their pupils learning concentration-that is, fixing the mind on one thought and driving out all other thoughts. It means that all the time you are having a battle between the insistence that you must concentrate on the one hand and your mind on the other which wanders away to all sorts of other things; whereas you should be attentive to every movement of the mind wherever it wanders. When your mind wanders off, it means you are interested in something else.
Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong. Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody, that is the beauty of it. It has no technique and therefore no authority. When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy-if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.
This article has been written by by Jiddu Krishnamurti.