Meditation and Trance

There are many out there who say they can teach you to meditate. I am not sure anyone can, it is a personal journey. But there are some skills and tools that can be shared. And, like anything good, you have to work it for yourself.

There are many approaches. Most start with a clean, calm space. With little distraction. Sure, that is ideal, but not a prerequisite. It is possible to meditate on a crowded train or bus and even to go into a fairly deep trance if you choose to.

But first, what is a trance?

Simply a state of enhanced consciousness. Of intense awareness of something, often to the exclusion of all else.

Most of us have experienced mild trances almost everyday. When studying for an examination, or even taking an examination, there are moments of intense focus when the content is all that exists. There is no awareness of either self or of the context – that is a trance. The same happens when running to catch a bus..all else is a blur and the path to the door of the bus is clear and actionable – indeed actioned. It is only when one has stepped on to a safe level that one looks around (and shares the sheepish grin of victory). Trances occur when listening to music that carries you away, a movie that helps you escape reality and of course books can transport one – when in their trance.

Is trance a step to meditation or vice versa?

I would not know. I am not an expert here. I share what I learnt.

To put oneself in a trance needs mere skill. To meditate needs more. A trance is an interesting mini-meditation with many of the quick ‘results’ of a meditation.

How does one start a trance or meditation?

The tools and books are out there. They will tell you to sit properly, concentrate on a light or a point on your forehead. Or a point in the distance. As a child, I started by staring at a dot I had marked on the wall. A memorised daily prayer or jaap is a great starting point as the repitition over rides much of the distraction and leads to stillness. The same works with really loud and raucous music – metal, rock, maata ka jagraata on loudspeakers – anything. It drives everything else out and it is easy to slide into one’s own ‘self’.

How does one know it is working?

When there is no doubt. It is a space with no questions.
So, where is the space or need for answers?

Before that:

Different for all. Some people see pictures, lights, videos, patterns.. this is but a phase..
Some see a white light..or a black spot in the middle..
Some see a a path,
Some see nothing

And If I said what happens, then, would a suggestive person not just ‘see’ that?

Just keep at it, each time you slip, start again.
The trance is deeper with each restart.

How do I know I am meditating or in a Trance?

Two things are common to most. Pupil dilation and the tingling of lips.
Yes, all trances are not via prayer.

Should I be careful? Is it dangerous?

I don’t know. I am careful to ask for an endgame before I start meditating and I phrase it very very carefully. I always set an end time and end state that I say to myself before I start.

Who knows? It’s a crazy world out there – its inexplicable stuff.

Why meditate then? What does one get?

Its true what they say- those sufi type people.
Infinite joy. Unending bliss. A calm. A connect. It is out there. In there. Whatever the language is. Language doesn’t work. It’s good stuff. And it needs nothing – no drinks, no drugs, nothing.

Does one have to join a cult or a sect for that?

Ha ha!

Does that good feeling last?

Not really, but it does last a while. It lasts for some people, but they must have trained themselves to be calm and connected all the time. It takes work. But its great once one is on a roll.

Somehow, things become easier. That’s what is so mindboggling – how does that happen?

I have put this up for MahaShivratri, since many will be meditating for the first time today. This post goes tomorrow.