How Meditation Opens our Minds.

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Humphrey Bogart, in his role as a gruff steamer captain in The African Queen, responds to Katherine Hepburn questioning his morals by saying, “It is my nature.”

Hepburn, in character as a prim and proper spinster, says, “Your nature, sir, is what you’ve come into this world to overcome.” What a jaded perspective on life! The truth is that your fundamental nature is divine—in complete harmony with the one thing that lies at the source of all existence.

We often hear the advice to “be more open-minded.” Perspective shifts can be beneficial in the short term, but in its deepest sense, open-mindedness is about achieving a more refined physiological state over time.

A set of ancient Indian texts called the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali talk about how human awareness is conditioned by chitta. The mind is the storehouse of impressions, in which the sum total of all life experiences leave impressions upon the chitta. Those impressions determine how and what we think and feel. What we consider to be truth, wisdom, and divinity are determined by the nature of our chitta.

The Yoga Sūtras go on to say that as you evolve, the quality of your chitta changes. At first your chitta is like granite: your world view has the quality of being etched in stone. As you evolve, chitta becomes more like clay, allowing impressions to be more easily smoothed away. In time, chitta becomes more like gelatin, and then like water, and eventually like air. When your chitta evolves to become like air, you are no longer subject to impressions that condition your thinking. Instead, you function in accordance with all of nature, with Mother Nature, with your own true nature. This is sometimes referred to as “no mind.”

True open-mindedness, then, is not something we can simply choose to uphold. It is a state of physiology cultured over a lifetime. How then can you go about cultivating that state? Meditate.

Proper meditation is the most effective tool for opening the mind. The awareness goes deep within, to a place beyond thought and emotion, to the very source of our being, the infinite and unbounded transcendental source of all existence. It’s important to keep in mind that there are all sorts of meditations out there: practices to focus the mind, still the mind, and even hypnotize the mind into believing it is transcending. Take care when choosing your form of meditation.  

The most important thing about meditation is that it be natural, that it awakens you to your true divine nature. Yet so few meditations do that. Just as there is a technique we employ to enter the natural state of sleep (lie down or put your head on a pillow), there is a technique to enter the natural Transcendental state. The technique, known as Surya Ram Meditationis an ancient meditation from the Himalayas, passed down through the ages. Learning this simple technique allows the mind to open and the awareness to naturally gravitate to that place beyond the touch of chitta.

Chitta confines the mind and limits the awareness. If you wear green colored glasses, everything you see is green. Your mind becomes closed to broader possibilities. Similarly, all spiritual understanding is colored by the nature of one’s chitta. This is why all spiritual understanding, including that of meditation, is so elusive.

Newcomers to Surya Ram Meditation are surprised by its effects, which are so unique they are difficult to describe. Yet, they are deeply appreciated. When the meditation is practiced regularly, a previously unattainable level of spiritual understanding is self-evident and yet so simple and natural. That is the gift of the regular practice of proper meditation.

You do not need to overcome your nature, as Humphrey Bogart supposed in The African Queen. You only need to refine it, to encourage your chitta along on its natural path, through a proper meditation practice.

As one of the most revered sages of ancient India, Adi Shankara, said, “The spiritual path is a path of discernment.” This profound path must be directly experienced to be understood. Being more open-minded isn’t about snapping your fingers and changing your perspective—it’s about coming into alignment with your true nature.

Author: Dr. Michael Mamas

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Shutterstock

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Dr. Michael Mamas

Dr. Michael Mamas is the founder of The Center of Rational Spirituality, a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the integration of ancient spiritual wisdom with modern rational thought. From personal issues to global trends, Michael Mamas helps individuals and organizations develop a deeper understanding and more comprehensive outlook by providing a ‘bridge’ between the abstract and concrete, the Eastern and Western, and the ancient and modern. Michael Mamas writes on a variety of subjects on his blogs, michaelmamas.net and RationalSpirituality.org. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

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anonymous Mar 2, 2016 2:01am

Nice post. I've always been one to seek my personal growth and evolution. I know people who are deeply fearful of their own nature. Thanks

anonymous Feb 16, 2016 4:05am

very nice one. Thanks alot for posting this post…

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anonymous Feb 9, 2016 12:12pm

I love the Surya Ram meditation. It has changed me in very subtle but noticeable ways over the years. I recommend that you try it! Better yet, come to a Surya Ram meditation retreat and experience first hand the power of this meditation.

anonymous Feb 7, 2016 7:24pm

Gives a great understanding of what "no mind" really means.

anonymous Feb 7, 2016 8:25am

This is so interesting. I know people who are deeply fearful of their own nature. Maybe it is not their true nature they are fearful of. Maybe they are fearful of their chitta, their storehouse of impressions. And they have no idea of how to deal with those painful impressions. There are so many different types of meditations. How do you know when you have found one which is truly good?

anonymous Feb 6, 2016 11:15pm

There are many articles touting the health benefits of meditation. I encourage you to try this meditation as it will not only benefit your health but also your soul.

anonymous Feb 6, 2016 8:47am

What a quality article! If you are not reading any Michael Mamas articles on the internet, you will do yourself a substantial favor if you give him a try. You will be glad you did. 😉

anonymous Feb 6, 2016 7:02am

Great article! I will have to try it!

anonymous Feb 5, 2016 10:30pm

Yes, Surya Ram meditation works!…and it is so natural that it doesn't feel like a chore. Quite the opposite actually. I'm meditating twice a day and if for some reason I have to skip one, I can feel my physiology longing for it. I tried other meditations before, but they all required effort in one way or another. Be it to push out thoughts or to focus on your breath, you name it. Surya Ram meditation is completely effortless. It allows the physiology to transcend to deeper and deeper levels of the self, which is where it is naturally longing to go if we only let it and don't try to control the process. I'm forever grateful I found this!

anonymous Feb 5, 2016 6:19pm

Great Article! I have found so many benefits from the Surya Ram Meditation. I feel more rested, have less stress, make better decisions (I think), and smiling more:) More than anything else, as I rest more deeply into my divine nature I feel a sense of peace inside myself. Like more of me is coming to the surface of life, and I am much easier with myself. Many thanks to Dr. Mamas!

anonymous Feb 5, 2016 1:28pm

I've been doing this type of meditation for 6 years. Well, you don't "do" this type of meditation, you allow it to "do" you. I've always been one to seek my personal growth and evolution, yet I'm continually impressed by the depth and power of this meditation to speed that natural process… without imposing any further "shoulds" on my consciousness or physiology in the process. It's not an astral or emotional trip, just riding the natural pull back to the source of all being. It continues to transform my life. If I could give every person I love one gift, it would be this Surya Ram Meditation…