Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011) started performing miracles at a young age, when, according to legend, he manifested school supplies and candies for his amazed and delighted classmates… and won footraces simply by disappearing suddenly from the starting line and reappearing instantly at the finish line. (Read more… )
While he continued to manifest miracles through adulthood, he spent far more time and energy helping thousands of people to advance spiritually… to adopt various practices and behaviors that helped them detach from their spiritual blemishes (karma), carnal illusions, and other pesky anchors that keep us all trapped in worldly drama.
One especially useful lesson is Sai Baba’s simple formula (published in the October 2015 issue of Amruta Vahini) that explains how concentration can lead to contemplation, which can then lead to meditation that opens a conscious connection to the source of all love, wisdom, and knowledge.
Concentration is the ability to focus unwaveringly on something for 9 or 10 seconds. Focusing 9 or 10 times longer (about a minute and a half) is contemplation. Focusing 9 or 10 times longer than that (about 15 minutes) is meditation.
So, stilling the mind for…
- 00:10 (10 seconds) is concentration,
- 01:30 (a minute and a half) is contemplation, and
- 15:00 (15 minutes) or more is meditation.
How to concentrate? The mind, says Sai Baba, is like water, and the body is like a bowl. If the bowl shakes, the water inside it shakes. Here, then, are the steps to concentrate, contemplate, and meditate:
- Sit in a steady, comfortable position, eyes closed, slow deep breaths. Don’t move.
- Wait for the mind to calm down.
- Help it calm down by patiently observing your thoughts, as a mother observes her playing child. Notice how the thoughts resist turning inward. They prefer to “go out and play.”
- Don’t chase them, as they’ll only run faster.
- Simply wait for them to tire out and return to you… ready to rest.
At that point you begin to concentrate. The longer you can concentrate (through contemplation into extended meditation), the more profound will be the benefits to your body, mind, and spirit.
(Thanks to my friend Upidi Madhvanath of Bangalore for background materials on Sathya Sai Baba.)
How apropos this post is for me! For some reason, I have lost my ability to meditate over the past year, and am trying to revive … hopefully, deepen it. Even with the help of hemi-sync, I cannot seem to stop my mind from wandering, though it does often wander away from this world into what feels more like the realm of spirit (perhaps a middle level between this and that where I sometimes meet others). I’ll try simply following the steps you have described. Thank you for sharing them.
That post and its simplified information is like a gentle breeze of shaktipat.
Thank you Mark.
I’m glad you like that post, Tosca & John,
The key for me is slowing down my mind, which has always been kind of busy.
In recent years I like to move my awareness to my heart and silently repeat a mantra (breathing out on the CAPITALIZED words)…
Dear GOD, our ONENESS, is the CORNERSTONE, of my LIFE.
It’s been working pretty well, but sometimes it still takes a while to shift gears into alpha….
Being retired now gives me more time and a less cluttered calendar, and that helps! 🙂
I listened to various versions of the song on youtube this morning… including one by Yogananda himself.
But this version especially moved me, by a woman with a beautiful voice.
That’s spectacular, Mark! Have you explored the more “heavenly” part of youtube, by chance? The works of Michel Pépé have struck a special chord with me, personally. This one is directly from his youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oQ9znIYkk8 :))
Thanks Ricky, Michel’s music gave me chills, ideal for meditation… reminiscent of what is one of my favorite all-time compositions, by Vangelis (and words sung by Jon Anderson of Yes)…. not so much a song for meditation as for very deep inspiration. “So Long Ago, So Clear.”
Your blog is very inspirational!. Thanks for sharing more information on Baba. 🙂
Thank you, Pavithrah… as is yours: https://illumined13.com/