-Acharya Mahapragya, Feb 18, 2005, 12.00am IST
The first preparative step to meditation begins with the practice of one-pointedness. Maharishi Patanjali has defined it as Pratyahar. Our senses are attracted to external subjects. We need to redirect them inwards. This process the Jain agamas call Pratisanlinta; its practice helps increase concentration and reduces instability.
When the senses go about experiencing the outer world, they communicate with their subjects. Then the mind becomes fickle, and sometimes gets carried away by the senses as by itself, it cannot directly communicate with the outer world. So whatever raw material is presented by the senses is concretised by the mind.
The wavering nature of mind is highly dependent on the instability of the senses. In meditation, you are asked to close your eyes so that you no longer communicate with the colourful fantasies of the outer world. By shutting your ears, you shut out all the noises. Your communication with the outer world has broken. The cessation of the five senses from their subjects, their Pratisanlinta or restraint is in order to prevent increase in restlessness of the mind.
To stabilise the restless mind, it has to be fixed on a single point to enable concentration. Normally, in meditation, this point of concentration is one's breath. As the mind gets fixed on one object, your concentration power increases. As a result, your sensory perceptions get managed more effectively. Then neither the senses nor the mind will create any problems.
The best principle for the solution of internal problems is to thoroughly employ the senses. Preksha dhyan is nothing but an expression of the art of seeing, listening, tasting, smelling and feeling. Balanced management of the senses will result in art. Sketching lines stylishly results in an artistic picture. The lines, individually, did not seem attractive but the artistic combination resulted in a beautiful picture. We, too, can transform our inner world into a very beautiful world.
The ugliness of the inner world emerges in our beha-viour because of the lopsided management of the senses. So don't let your mind wander; practice concentration for stabilisation. The trouble is, most of us don't know how to harmonise our thoughts. The flow of thoughts is continuous. With Preksha dhyan we learn the art of regulating our thoughts in the right direction.
We often ask: "Why should we restrain our senses? Why should we try to make our mind stable? Life goes on anyway". We should ask, instead, "Do we wish to remain on the level of sensual consciousness? Or do we want to reach the world that lies beyond the senses?" The experience of the extrasensory world is so different from that of sensual consciousness. Once the first experience of extrasensory perception sprouts in a person, she visualises a new world.
The aim of Preksha dhyan is to develop the consciousness beyond the senses. Most people do not experience the world beyond the senses and those who have, cannot describe it. To think and imagine is the function of the conscious mind.
The unconscious mind determines the way we behave. All our emotions are linked with it. Our problems are related to our behaviour, and our behaviour is linked with our senses. Finally, there is the super or higher conscious mind. Here, problems are solved. It is the level of the world beyond the senses. Its function is knowingness — that is, only knowing. The word 'only' is used for the world beyond the senses, for the superconscious mind. If one can understand the fact of 'only knowing', and if this can be practised, it can free one of all mental and emotional problems.