Meditation and Neohumanist Consciousness
Acharya Shambhushivananda Avadhuta
Growing wealth disparities, a preoccupation with sensory pleasures, fast disappearing calmness of nature and an onslaught of disruptive technologies are greatly influencing today’s lifestyles. The resulting stress and strains are beginning to take a toll on human health. Human beings everywhere are being forced to look for different cures to cope with the pressures of modern existence. It is well known that yoga and meditation exercises are age-old tested solutions for insulating the mind and provide a coping mechanism to handle stresses of all kinds. Visualizations and breathing are widely employed to aid in stress reduction techniques. Meditation is commonly understood as a daily practice of introversion—a way to draw attention away from worldly thinking and to associate the mind with an expanded thought for twenty or thirty minutes. Medical professionals are even recommending such an exercise instead of over-reliance on pills to deal with physical and mental imbalances.
Meditation in all its variant forms, offered under different brand names, is commonly used for twin objectives: stress reduction (physiological/therapeutic need) or self-transcendence (spiritual/occult need). However, there is a third objective that is of equal paramount importance: utilizing meditation for expanding human consciousness in order to engage with the world with a heightened biosphere awareness. Our day-to-day awareness dictates what we do, why we do and how we do. Our level of awareness, strength of attitudes, and life-style based on rational convictions, determine our quality of life. When meditation is performed to expand our consciousness in order to embrace all living and so-called inanimate entities, it may be called the Neohumanist approach to meditation. Such a meditation does not lead us way from this world to take shelter in caves or serve as an escape. Rather, it prepares us to get established in moral reasoning and fight our daily battles with courage, greater stamina and expanded consciousness. Meditation becomes a tool of compassion—an inspiration to fight against injustice as well as a way to tap the reservoir of eternal inspiration to make the world a better place for one and all. The regular practice of meditation helps us to learn to modulate our emotions and propensities and makes us calmer and blessed to undertake the works of sacred activism. It gives us the time to pause and reorient our thought patterns and actions and start the day afresh with renewed vigor and strength. The secrets of meditation are based on an understanding of the bio-psychological principle of yoga: higher cakras/plexi (and associated glands) control the lower plexii. Meditation teachers (acharyas) utilize such knowledge while imparting appropriate meditation techniques.
As intelligent machines come to the aid of human beings in all walks of life, they begin to erode the space of innate human sentiments. Addictions to machines cloud what was the free space of human consciousness. Today, intuition and imagination are beginning to get overpowered by mechanistic robotic-consciousness. Meditation becomes even more important in these times, to preserve the sweet elixir of human love and stay connected with the divinity that embodies universal consciousness, giving all-embracing love for all entities, animate and inanimate. Meditation allows us to connect our minds to our universal life force within and imbues our actions with universal cosmic sentiment. Meditation, therefore, needs to become an essential component of our daily life today, just as we take a bath, eat or pray. It is important, however, to learn meditation practice from an experienced and qualified acharya, or meditation teacher.
The ideation (subjective awareness of the meaning) of mantras employed in meditation also serves the important purpose of transmuting our consciousness. Certain systems of meditation only serve as relaxation exercises without addressing the issue of ego-transmutation. However, the concentration and ideational components of meditation are crucial elements in a meditation exercise. Realized meditation gurus have helped to preserve mystical traditions through the ages. This is the source, and a treasure trove of love and intuitional wisdom. All human beings should be encouraged to make meditation part of their daily routine and save themselves from the devastating effect of rapidly spreading all-encompassing materialism.