Reflection, Contemplation & Concentration
It has already been stated that when our supine Will begins to awaken from the stupor, the stranglehold of delusion is first weakened, and then destroyed.
Contemplation (anupreksa) of the pernicious nature of the narcotic of the sensual pleasures is necessary to maintain the vigilance and reinforce the power of the Will.
Practice of repeated reflection (bhavana) further strengthens the Will and keeps it awake and alert. We have already discussed the process of developing the inherent capacity of omniscience in a previous chapter. While some are capable of developing, this capacity by awakening their own supine Will, some others need constant moral support of reflection of truth, as experienced and propounded by the supremely wise ones.
The human mind has the capacity to project itself. An object of deep concentration can, therefore, be perceived by projection. A mental image of a “pure consciousness” can thus be realised by the process of auto-suggestion as well as repeated recitation of slogans or chanting the mantras. For instance, one can progressively develop purity of consciousness by the recitation of “arham”or “soham”.
The modus operandi of bhavana, is to generate, counter-vibrations. Thus practice of forbearance, humility, honesty and contentment generates vibrations which countermand the impulses of cruelty, pride, deceit, and greed respectively. Hence, the generation of counter-vibrations is a positive tool for the ultimate eradication of the evil, and establishment of the total goodness. Practice of repeated reflection may be resorted to both pre- as well as post-meditation practices.
Fourfold contemplation is recommended as post-meditational practice
(i) Contemplation of ekatva- “Solitariness”.
(ii) Contemplation of anityata- “Impermanence”.
(iii) Coritemplation of asarana- “Vulnerability”.
(iv) Contemplation of samsara – “Reality”.
(i) Contemplation of “Solitariness”
Man is a social being. His perception are constantly influenced by social, economic, political and other environments. Inspite of being subjected to all sorts of external influences, transcendentally he is “himself”–a solitary individual. To protect oneself from the injurious effect of the environments one should frequently contemplate on his solitariness. Such a contemplation will blunt the onslaught of the external forces.
(ii) Contemplation of “Impermanence”
Beginning with fragile and mortal nature of the body, contemplation can reveal transitional nature of the entire physical existence.
(iii) Contemplation of “Vulnerability”
We seek security in wealth, power, production, etc. But, in reality, none of these is capable of providing transcendental security, which is inherent in one’s own “SELF”. Contemplation of one’s vulnerability, therefore, leads to the development of one’s own innate protective mechanism.
(iv) Contemplation of “Reality”
Metaphysically nothing is absolutely permanent nor absolutely changing. Only that which is “permanent” can change. Reality by nature, is characterised by the non absolutist principle of permanence through change. Our existence also is not an exception to this universal truth. We are born and we die, and during the life’s span undergo innumerable changes. Contemplation of this eternal truth immensely assists us in our meditation.
Preksa generates vigilance. And as the intensity of vigilance increases, the capacity of concentration also increases. Vigilance and perception are important in their own right, but their efficiency can be increased manifold by sustaining them for long uninterrupted periods of concentration. Agitated and vulnerable mind is incapable of practising deep meditation. Uninterrupted concentrated perception of a single object for a period of fifty minutes can be achieved by constant practice. This is the ideal period of the most successful meditational practice. An experienced practitioner can meditate for even longer periods by recanalising his perception.