A few decades ago, a man who claimed he was a Tibetan monk going by the name of Lobsang Rampa, wrote a number of highly instructive and entertaining books of Tibetan Buddhist practices.
One, The Third Eye, described this process of staring intently at a candle light as a prelude to Rampa, till i read that he was an American plumber pretending as a monk. Not knowing what to believe, i moved on to other idols.
During the period i practiced Rampa techniques, my housekeeper thought i was going crazy when he found me sitting in darkness staring into a candle light for hours on end.
Many call this and similar practices involving focusing the sense of sight, sound, taste, feel and smell on specific events as meditation, but technically these are not. In the Patanjali Ashtanga Yoga process, these are techniques to focus the mind through the senses, by focusing on the inner energy. These techniques center the mind by grounding the senses and focus the thought process on singular objects or events, by excluding all else.
These techniques are dharana, the sixth limb of Patanjali Ashtanga Yoga.
These dharana techniques, including watching the breath as in Vipassana, focusing on sounds such as OM, repeating mantras as in japa, or even indulging in sex disengaging from emotions, lead the mind to the next stage in Yoga. The next and seventh limb of Ashtanga Yoga is meditation, and it is dhyana.
Meditation does not involve any doing as i explained earlier. It is just being. It is a total disengagement from all sensory perceptions. It is the state of witnessing, and being aware of one’s inner energy, where there are no modifications of the mind. It is a state of stillness. It’s a state of active awareness in passive stillness.
This is the state that Krishna talks about in Bhagavad Gita, when he advises Arjuna to do what he needs to do without thinking about the results.
Meditation is any daily job. It is walking. It is cooking. It is washing clothes or floors. It is your daily work. All these are meditation, if you do them to the best of your ability without worrying about how the work will translate into result. Don’t worry about success or failure.
If you pay attention to the work process, you will enjoy what you are doing. The result will also be positive. When you enjoy the journey, whatever destination you reach will be the right one for you.
This is why meditation is always right for everyone.