My dear friend, you have been practicing the Mystical Symbol Meditation for the last few days and you are experiencing higher levels of concentration and a deep feeling of peace and inspiration. You are using all the aids that we discussed in your meditation and are enjoying much greater awareness and absorption. So, today we will go a little further and look at some of the different states of meditation.
From the time we were born we are all very familiar with three states of consciousness - the state of wakefulness, the state of deep sleep and the state of dreaming. However, meditation is quite different from these three states of being that all of us are used to though there seem to be a few superficial resemblances. For example, when we meditate we are sitting upright, but we are not ‘awake’ or operative in the transactional world.
On the other hand, although our eyes are closed in absorption, we are not asleep either. That is why psychologists call all meditative states of being ‘altered states of consciousness’. We can understand these states only when we experience them, as we are doing now.
Although states of meditation are very subjective and can vary from one meditator to another, we can generally classify them in certain basic ways. Let us understand a few of those states today.
[a] Trance: As people meditate they may sometimes experience a paradigm shift within themselves and enter a completely different realm of consciousness.
In such a state they are totally unaware of their physical surroundings and what they are doing though they may get up, open their eyes, walk around, sing, dance or talk. We often see this happening to people during religious or spiritual events and say that they are ‘possessed’ by a deity, divine force, spirit of an ancestor, etc. These people are not really possessed.
They are in a state of meditative trance. They have slightly transcended their senses. Though many of them have very little education in this lifetime, they suddenly become founts of erudition and wisdom when they are in a trance. We find this dramatic change incredible and inexplicable.
The actual fact is that most of them have engaged themselves in intense spiritual practices in their past life, but reached the end of their lifespan before achieving Self-Realisation.
Now, when they begin meditation or participate in a spiritual or religious event, the charged divine energy that is generated triggers their hidden powers and makes them plunge into this state. Then the extra sensory powers that they had gained in their past life are awakened.
That is why some of them are able to prophecy what will happen in the future and resolve other people’s problems when they are in this state, even though they do not have these powers when they are awake.
Their trance takes them beyond the barriers of time and space by triggering their clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities.
This article is taken from the book Between You and Me — Meditation Made Simple by His Holiness Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji.