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First Day of Verifying and Validating the Practice
The next step of teaching Transcendental Meditation after personal instruction is checking of the experiences of the first day of meditation. It is necessary to verify the results of meditation and this is done in a standard manner by using a form again,1 as we use the form for personal interview, so we use a standard form to verify and validate the experience of the first day of meditation. It will be good to go through the form and see what points are laid out there; these are the points which we expect the beginner meditator to experience.
In this form experiences3 are asked during meditation and it is asked how he felt after meditation. It is highly remarkable in our system of meditation that one has experiences immediately with the start of the practice and these experiences during mediation are validated by his feelings during the day after meditation, and this shows that the experiences brought about by the practice are very real: they're not only psychological, they're not only emotional, but they have a bearing on the entire personality and they last with the person, even when he's out in activity. Just this one standard form: The man fills out and when he sees that in these 5-6 points all the essence of the details of experiences during and after meditation are contained, immediately he feels a great satisfaction in the system of teaching. What good he had felt during meditation and after meditation in his life; when he comes to the teacher, the system of teaching impresses him as being very real and very universal at the same time, because there is a standard form which every initiate is required to fill out and this standard form is to validate whether his experiences have been correct or not; and then, what he fills out is then analyzed. The analysis is, from two points of view, from the point of view of correctness of meditation and from the point of view of incorrectness of meditation. He may put down certain experiences which we will classify as correct experiences, those which are expected from practice; and he may put down something which may be categorized as incorrect experiences, that means his practice has not been satisfactory. So in the light of correctness and incorrectness, the experiences are analyzed. These points of correct and incorrect practice have been written out. It will be good to go through them one by one, and this will be the standard method of verifying the experiences which one puts down in the form. It will be good to read them out.
Purpose: To stabilize the practice by discussing the experiences and supplying correct practical understanding of correct meditation.
Structure of the session:
DISCUSSION OF EXPERIENCEHow to analyze correctness of meditation if he complains of no results.7
Never put off anyone if he is showing lack of good experience. We go deep into his experience openly before the whole group.
Say to him, "Now let us analyze where or what the mistake is. Describe how you meditate. First you sit comfortably? You start to think the mantra as effortlessly as any other thought? And did you notice that the mantra became finer or vaguer or unclear? Or you feel that you forgot it sometime? Did you have some such experience?"
He may say, "No," and we'd say, "All right, it doesn't matter." "Did you notice the breath became softer?" "No." "It doesn't matter."
"Sudden deep breath?" "Yes." "This shows there has been some lack of breath before. This indicated softening or refining of mental activity and this happens when the mantra becomes finer, so even though you don't remember, this happens naturally and you won't even notice. This is what happens in your meditation, not that nothing happened."
We see after close analysis that something valuable happened. This must be brought to his attention intellectually -- that something valuable happened and this is going to benefit practical life. If he says, "No," to the question about deep breath, then we continue, "Did you feel that you were dozing? This is due to relaxation." Then remark, "At any time a sense of drowsiness comes, we let it come. If we feel sleepy we lie down and sleep. This is an indication of deep relaxation."8
If a problem or discontent continues and the meditator does not seem to be satisfied, suggest, "Let's see how you feel after this evening's meditation."9
"So whether we feel refreshed or drowsy, TM is successful."10 Then we explain to him that it will happen for 2-3 days and a lot of stress will be gone. Then there will be no more need to feel sleepy.11
"There is a reason for drowsiness and a reason for freshness. The reason for drowsiness is tiredness or fatigue. Whenever the body is tired it will fall asleep in the relaxation of TM. If not tired the body will feel extra fresh."
Depending on the condition of the body, experience will be different.12 The practice is the same, simple, natural thinking the mantra, but the experience will differ depending on the condition of the body. (This is a very salient point.)
"The practice is right even when we don't have the same experiences every time, because the physical condition of the nervous system is involved in the process. Even though the process is purely mental, experiences will differ owing to the different conditions of the physical body."
SUMMARY OF SYMPTOMS OF CORRECT MEDITATION
Results in activity: This means he does not only feel relaxed during meditation, but also more at ease, more lively, more clear thinking; he had more energy, more rewarding activity, more effective activity, lightness in body and mind.
We bring out these points by relating them to what he has filled out in the first day's experience sheet. We also bring out the point about no control and no effort as was said in the introductory and preparatory lectures. This gives him confidence when he finds out what we say is true.13 The whole thing is automatic. We just stick to this procedure.
SYMPTOMS OF INCORRECT MEDITATION
One thing is important -- we don't bring out these points unless they come up as experiences, but if they do, we make it clear that these experiences indicate incorrect meditation.14
Pressure in forehead or back of head, or pain in the temples or pain in the neck. "This means forcing. Some effort is creeping into the process. The natural process of evolution is obstructed by some individual interception.15 This means that the mind's spontaneous flow towards the unbounded is obstructed, the natural flow is hindered; this is due to individual effort. (How to correct it.) Stop thinking the mantra16 -- effort has started. The process of thinking is no longer natural. Natural means effortless. Therefore, if the mind is not thinking effortlessly then we break the process of thinking the mantra for half a minute."
Note to initiator: Ask him, "Did you experience some relaxation, also some headache? Due to right meditation you felt some relaxation, but because some forcing, some effort was there at some point, you experienced some pressure."17
Also, he should know that the nature of incorrect use of the mantra is in starting to make an effort which makes the thinking process unnatural. If he has a history of chronic headaches, we give him relief by saying, "Many meditators report that through regular practice of meditation that chronic headaches disappear because meditation normalizes the system. It will be good to be regular in meditation, but at the same time it will be good to consult your physician. Any suffering we should attack from all sides."18
During these days we always give him great upliftment. We let him know that the correction of any mistake is very simple. If headache was before meditation, we say the standard thing which is, "Even with this pain we do not lose the ability to think, etc."
EXPLANATION OF HOW STRAINING CAN BRING ON HEADACHE
TM leads to a more refined activity in those regions of the brain concerned with refined mental activity.19 These regions gain a relaxed state. The total effect is that mental activity becomes less and less. If at the same time some other activity is maintained, then this obstruction appears as a headache. This is a sign to stop making an effort. Pain or pressure in the neck indicates that some tendency to concentrate has started. Again, we advise him to stop the mantra, sit easily for two minutes and then roll the head slowly with eyes closed and massage to relieve pressure. Then rebegin the mantra.
If a headache comes up in the checking meeting, the main point is: NOT to persist in repeating the mantra.
"The procedure is set and scientific20 and in this the effectiveness rests. Once we have started the mantra, everything is automatic. Whatever happens is for good. So from our side, we don't stop the mantra unless a pain appears. If the process is incorrect in anyway, this will be experienced as some discomfort.""Meditation and activity, joy of diving, joy of coming out, coming in and out is natural. We're going to discuss the value of thought tomorrow. The inward stroke of meditation is conducted basically by the nature of the mind and the outward stroke basically by the nature of the body. This we will talk about tomorrow because it will take about an hour's time."
Talk about the value of regularity and of not discussing experiences outside the meeting. Without the teacher there may be confusion.21
OUTLINE OF POINTS TO BE COVERED22
GROUP MEDITATION PROCEDURE
"We're going to start step by step. First sit comfortably and let's close our eyes."
"Let's open our eyes."
(wait 5 seconds) If someone is not opening, wait and say again, "Let's open..."
"Again, let's close our eyes."
"Let's open our eyes."
"Did you feel some quietness, some silence?"
Ask one person, then ask the group. If yes --
"All right, let's close our eyes."
"All right, let's open our eyes."
(5 seconds) Ask one man,
"Feel some quietness?"
-- to group.
"Did you have any thoughts?"
ask one man and then ask the group.
"Did you notice how effortlessly, how spontaneously thoughts come?"
"Now this time when we close our eyes, we will begin the mantra as effortlessly as we think any other thought, and we will continue meditation for about 10 minutes. All right, let's close our eyes."
After 10-12 minutes, say:
"Jai Guru Dev.34 Let's take a few minutes and then open the eyes."
Note to initiators: Person conducting meeting should keep the eyes close fro most of the times as an example. Once or twice during meditation glance at group.
"Slowly open the eyes."
"It was easy? It was good?"
Ask one and look to others especially those who have had difficulties.
"It was easy, it was better?"
If no, "I'll see you afterwards.""This is how we meditate at home. We come out slowly. Anybody come out fast today? If we come out too fast, it could give rise to some headache, irritability or roughness during the day."
"You may not feel deep, but we don't come out fast -- take two or three minutes. Stretch, open eyes downcast, etc., coming out. If you feel some sensation, take more time to come out. Open eyes slightly, close again, come out slowly."
Note to initiator: Remind meditators of half minute at beginning and two minutes at the end of meditation; also not to open/close eyes at home.