Meditation is the process of sifting out one thought out of millions of that assail our mind. It begins with concentration on one thought alone. Then the process of concentration becomes a flow of consciousness into one thought that there are no lines of activity in the self. This flow is generally compared to flowing of molten ghee from a higher level to a lower. There will be no gap in the flow. It will be smooth.
The practice of meditation is compared to a method of churning fire. To produce fire to be used in yagnas, the priests would use two pieces of flammable wood—one would be a piece with a hole in the middle. A piece of wood would be fixed into this depression at the bottom and one at top and the churning would begin. As sparks of fire emerged, small pieces of cotton wool would be kept around to catch that fire and transfer it to the pit where the fire sacrifice would be conducted.
In the same way, the master advises us to meditate by keeping the supreme self as the lower arani and allowing the thought to run on it like the upper arani stick. When this churning of thought, called contemplation, is done constantly then there is a blazing fire of right understanding that emerges. Any churning produces heat, owing to friction. It is the same with the churning done in one’s head of a repeated thought—there are no differences in the supreme self, everything is just that one truth.
The preciousness of this message is that we cannot see it and know the self. We cannot guess its presence. Only the scriptures and the master who explains it can reveal it to us. Whatever we praise, that object comes to bless us with its benign presence. So is the case with the self. If we praise the self in any language we know, the self blesses us with a clearer understanding of our own true self.
What happens when the fire of understanding blazes in our psyche? Any fire has the power to burn. This subtle fire does burn all our ignorance or tamas in our thinking. The biggest indolence in thinking is to be sure that the body is ‘myself’. It is this ignorance that is constantly being fed in our understanding like an inexhaustible stack of fuelwood that is destroyed.
Are there many ways to discover our self once the teacher and the scriptures have done with explaining it? There are not many. In fact, there is just one way and that is meditation. It is the royal path to self-realisation.