( By Dr Ramesh Kapadia )

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The technique of meditation is taught in this program in a very unusually simplified manner. Satchidanandji says that we all know to meditate. The mind can never remain idle and so during all our waking hours our mind is continuously on some thoughts or the other. When, for example, we have been wronged in some manner or another, our mind is full of thoughts on those events. All we have to learn is to meditate in a healthy way. IN this method, there are no religious or spiritual overtones. One does not have to sit down for long hours to meditate. Even meditation for just five minutes in the morning and in the evening is sufficient to enable us to experience its enormous benefits. Progressive deep relaxation makes the meditation easier. However, it is not necessary to perform shavasana before doing meditation. Meditation can be done any time during the day.

Again, during meditation a very slow rhythmic alpha activity is recorded from the most active part, the front part of the brain. The emergency of alpha response from this part of the brain is the evidence of mental relaxation. But it is more than that. It has been felt that during this period of relaxation the mind of the participant ceases to be the narrow self of the individual, but it expands into a Universal Mind. It is difficult to describe this state of mind. It is essentially a matter of experience. There are other methods of meditation also. In some methods of meditation, the meditator concentrates on a particular vision, say light or a mantra. All of them are beneficial. But the technique of meditation which involves only bringing one’s awareness to one’s own breathing has the advantage of easy universal application, in that, we all breathe throughout our existence. Through breathing we get virtually connected with the whole external world. The interesting part is that most of the time we are not aware of our breathing. In the technique of meditation, we simply bring our awareness to our natural breathing. Again, there is no need to breathe in any particular or special manner during meditation, as that will again disturb the peace of mind. Simply closing the eyes in a relaxed manner, sitting comfortably or lying down in whichever position is suitable, and bringing your awareness on to the natural processs of breathing, which is already going on, is the essence of meditation. There is no need to do a special effort to calm the mind or to get rid of all the thoughts and empty the mind. Thoughts may come and go but one remains entirely unconcerned. The total awareness is only on the process of breathing. Experience has revealed that results that to follow this simple procedure are wonderful. When a person relaxes, relaxation envelopes his whole self, body and mind. When hei s one with the breathe, he experiences the ‘eternal present ‘ and feels connected with the whole universe, and healing follows. This healing is not confined to the coronary arteries, but it is total healing. It was gratifying to find that a person who came just to attend our program out of simple curiosity, was tempted to attend regularly and at the end of the sixth session he gave up his 25-year old habit of chewing tobacco. When Dr. Dean Ornish was initiated into meditation by Swami Satchidanandji, he was asked to give up beef for one week and then return to the meditation class. Dr. Ornish realised that giving up beef made it rather easy for him to meditate. This is a very interesting observation. Change in the diet affects the relaxation of the mind. Further, when Dr.Dean Ornish could meditate better, he felt like giving up all non-vegetarian food in his diet, and that again further improved the quality of meditation. Indeed, it was an extremely happy cycle of events.

Our greatest limitation comes from our perception that we are individuals limited in space and time. Through meditation one experiences that one is eternal and boundless. A feeling of connectedness with the universe and wisdom dawn on the individual. The whole experience helps healing in toto.

To my mind the beneficial effect which is uniformly observed when a person participates in this program is due to the simple fact that normally all throughout our existence our mind is engaged in all the thoughts related to us in all the matters which are of importance to us and all these are confined to space and time. While in meditation, one brings one’s awareness in the eternal present, being one with the process of breathing. When this happens, the mind becomes the Universal Mind, spreading all over. Automatically we feel connected with the whole universe, and this feeling of oneness with the element which is not limited in space and time, which is omnipresent and omnipotent, starts the healing process ( in the whole individual ) of which healing in the coronary heart disease is only a welcome side-effect of the process. To be sure, one does not meditate deliberately to become healthy although it does lead to health, but simply it helps one to enjoy the present moment. Let us understand the external present moment. In modern quantum physics the idea of linear time has been given up. Time and space are considered as one entity and the division of time into past, present and future is considered to be a mere convenience for our existence in the temporal physical reality. However, in ultimate reality time is thought of as the eternal ‘now’. Throughout the day the electrical activity recorded from the front brain is more than 85 cycles per second ( Beta activity. Only when the mind is completely relaxes - and it happens in meditation -that the alpha activity is registered ; that is, the electrical activity with a wave form of less than 15 cycles per second is recorded from the frontal part of the brain even during waking hours. This is an evidence of profound relaxation. Only within three minutes of such relaxation 20% oxygen consumption is reduced as against 8% reduction of oxygen consumption after six hours of sleep. Such is the benefit of meditation. Furthermore,during meditation, an individual is able to visualize the changes he may wish to bring about in his body. For instance, for his coronary arteries, he visualises all the ‘ blocks’ being gradually dissolved. This is a very important aspect of healing in this program. Meditation prepares an individual for effective visualization. The visualization without meditation will not be effective. It would be a fantasy - just an idle daydream and no more. But visualization through meditation gets focussed and active, whereas fantasy is hazy,unreal and passive.

Sit down before fact like a little child and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. - T.H. Huxley.

Many new frontiers have opened up in understanding the medical science as consciousness is being accepted as an important factor in understanding any disease and its treatment. Until now the medical model has functioned on a Newtonian and Cartesian models of physics with emphasis on reductionism and absolute determinism. Until recently, as early as the beginning of this century, Cartesian model had dominated the world of science. Everything was explained in terms of cause and effect. From the beginning of this century, scientists like Schrodinger and Einstein postulated that with this deterministic, purely objective approach things could be verified and explained to an extent. However, there still remained a vast stores of phenomena occurring in a universe which remained a mystery when viewed by mere objectivism. In the Vedas it is stated that the knowledge of all manifestations of one eternal element is science. Without the knowledge of the eternal element which is at the centre of all the manifestations we would be led to a blind alley. The Ishavasya Upanishad describes the knowledge of manifestations as ‘avidya’ and the knowledge of eternal element as ‘vidya’. It terms science as ‘avidya’, and not conveying the meaning of ‘avidya’ as anti-vidya. Avidya simply means something other than vidya. The upanishads do not stop here ; they say that the knowledge of vidya without the knowledge of avidya, that is science, is even worse. It leads to complete chaos.

It is very fortunate that the quantum leap of modern physics is now closing the gap between ‘avidya’ and ‘vidya’. In modern physics the knowledge of manifestations of the universe includes the knowledge of that eternal element which pervades through the universe. Science describes the eternal element as the Universal Mind or Consciousness.