Instead, I'd like to explore the experience of true meditation: by "true" here I mean what happens when we go beyond the "doing" of techniques and attempt to enter the "being" of silence. Again, as in past articles, I am not focusing on anything absolute or cosmic.
The entrance fee to higher states of consciousness (aka "superconsciousness") is generally the necessity to become inwardly silent. This includes the cessation of subconscious images and random thoughts, memories, and sense impressions. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras in the most profound and important aphorism (the second one of 197 or so) describes the state of yoga as "the neutralization or cessation of the reactive mental processes of likes, dislikes, memories, creative mental images and the like."
In this space, I ask: "Is the experience of silence in meditation an experience of fullness? Or, emptiness?"
- Offering oneself into a greater Self (God, guru, Light, etc.), or being open or receptive to receive (the same: God, guru, Light, etc.)
- A feeling of expanding consciousness or a feeling of dissolving the sense of ego awareness (I don't say "dissolving of consciousness" as this is would take us down into subconsciousness)
- It can be described in various ways, including, for example: devotional self-offering (expansion) or devotional receptivity (receiving). In expansion of ego-consciousness there is a concomitant dissolving of the ego self. In the dissolution of ego-self there becomes space (emptiness) to be filled.
- Astral signs or phenomenon can appear to your insight sight or subtle senses: any one or a combination of the five astral senses (prototypes of physical senses) can be experienced; or, darkness can "appear"; light can dim into a dark light and so on.
- Vibrant sense of space and energy can envelope you, or, perceptions of space and energy can begin to dissolve.
- To complicate matters, what begins to expand, or what begins to dissolve can resolve into its opposite. Dissolution of ego awareness can be replaced by an expanding light, energy, sound, and so on.
- One can approach this space of silence with the attitude and feeling of devotion; or, energetically; or, with mental intensity, will and concentration; or, with a mixture of all three elements.
There are those teachers or branch traditions that assert that emptiness is "all there is" and is the goal. How literally that is stated, I don't know. It's not very appealing unless your down on your luck. The point is: there exists a teaching in the field of meditation that NO-THING-NESS not only exists as a state of consciousness but is the bedrock of reality and the goal of meditation and life.
In most other meditation traditions and in the meditation teachings of Ananda (based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda), it is happiness, or, more technically, joy (bliss) that is the goal of life and of meditation. Again, I'll stop short of attempting to define any absolute. Just speaking here casually.
Emptying the mind of ego involvement is certainly one very important channel to the fullness of joy. Into the seemingly empty space of the no-thing-ness state rushes, pours, or slowly fills the peace, joy, and unconditional love which is our own true Self and the source and underlying reality of all creation.
In "Autobiography of a Yogi," Chapter 7, the levitating saint, Master Mahasaya, asks the young Mukunda (future Yogananda): "You often go into the silence but have you developed anubhava?" Yogananda commented that the saint was reminding him to love God more than meditation. The saint went on to say: "Don't mistake the technique for the goal."