Teaching, to me, is all about transmitting - in other words beyond what you say and what you do as a teacher, there is a sharing of the essence of what you teach. As a yoga instructor, when I run a class, I am of course giving verbal instructions, and correcting poses, but at the same time I am allowing the essence of yoga to flow through me. This is what I mean by transmission.
Well, my first meditation teacher did that very well.
It was in the Transcendental Meditation center in London. I had taken the basic course to learn to meditate, and on the last day, the culmination of the course was that the teacher guided me into a meditation. She sat with me for a while, and together we chanted the mantra that I had been given. Slowly, the chanting became quieter and quieter, until she left the room, leaving me for 20 minutes to continue repeating the mantra silently.
She had set up the whole thing very well - there was an air of sacredness; I felt completely relaxed; and my mind was totally focused.
For a few minutes I continued to repeat the mantra silently, allowing my body to relax more and more fully, feeling a greater level of concentration take over me. And then...
I heard the teacher returning, approaching the door to the room in which I sat. I suddenly realized that I had not had a single thought for at least the last 10 minutes. My mind had been completely silent. That thought - that I hadn't been thinking - interrupted my state of silence, and with it came further reflection. I remembered what I had been experiencing in that silent state:
I was floating in space, weightless, and surrounded by the most beautiful stars.
The silence of my mind reflected a deep silent space around me - silent, but full. Full of the most wonderful depth, and infinite clarity.
I was bathing; body, mind, and soul, in the embrace of an unconditional love that knew no bounds.
I felt total and utter bliss - there is no other word.
As the door handle turned and my teacher came back into the room, I melted. Tears of gratitude streamed from my eyes as I felt completely transformed. Those minutes in that room has shown me that what I had been searching for - the experience of transcendence / self realization / enlightenment - was REAL. I was not chasing shadows. I was truly on to something.
My life since then has been a quest to re-attain that silent state more permanently.
Please note: the state of transcendent awareness does not have to imply detachment from the material world! On the contrary: when we are aware of our true nature, we are more capable; more able; more functional. The difference is that we no longer have to TRY to perform. We are automatically supremely skillful in that state. The words that come from our mouth are divine. Our actions reflect nothing but love. And our intentions are supremely benevolent. Because the reality is that our essence is of God. And when we transcend the mundane 'little self', and contact once again that 'true Self' that is at our heart, we know nothing, but are completely aware.
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( This is the second article in what will be a long series on meditation. You can find the first HERE )