“True meditation is not a practice or a mantra or a chant. It is the turning of your attention inward on that which is your awareness, on that what you are.”

India always requires a higher volume in order to be heard. We come to India for silence and stillness and what do we find? Noise and dust and dirt. Chaos and that riotous sound from one riotous sound to another riotous sound.

So you have to find your silence and stillness elsewhere. Not in the environment.

Where we live, we’re in the high desert. It’s naturally silent and still. We have no streetlights so the night sky is brilliant and the silence and stillness is very physically available, but the inner silence and stillness is very difficult in the West and it’s very easy here in Tiruvannamalai. It is as if you’re being held in a noisy but loving embrace, and it allows you to relax your usual egoic self and find some peace and quiet within yourself. That silence and stillness that is within yourself has various stages of being able to be felt. 

It’s very similar when you first start meditating. The first stage of meditation is restlessness and endless thinking. Thoughts running. So the first stage of meditation is when you begin to notice you’re having thoughts. Before you are your thoughts. So what happens when you meditate is that you’re turning your attention on yourself as awareness. 

True meditation is not a practice or a mantra or a chant. It is the turning of your attention inward on that which is your awareness, on that what you are.

When meditation starts happening the consciousness begins to turn its focus outwardly and inwardly. We don’t necessarily know it is that, but there are stages to that inward turning. 

The first stage is to notice how outward you are. The second stage is a kind of a relaxing about how hard it is to meditate. How restless you are. You relax into it and there is a sense of calmness, a quieting of this fighting trying to meditate. The third stage of meditation that occurs is the sense of silence, a sense of inward quietude. The fourth stage of meditation is that quietude deepens into a sense of peace and tranquility.

As you turn fully inward you merge with yourself. Maybe you disappear when you merge with yourself. In that moment of merging with yourself as awareness we call Samadhi. Samadhi is taking our attention from the outer world, the noise, the cacophony of the sound churning, and the monkeys jumping. We’re turning it inward onto that which we are. 

What we are is an inward presence that is silent and still. When we are there in this silence and stillness then all this outer activity can be experienced as a delight. It can be experienced without control or need or fear or reaction that normally is the preoccupation of the egoic self. 

We can just be with what is without a personal referencing to what’s going on around us: how good we are, what people think of us, what we think of them, and our evaluation of the situation and of ourselves. All of that quiets down and all we are is in an immediate presence with whatever is around us. 

This is to be awake in meditation. It’s called Sahaj Samadhi in Sanskrit. Sahaj, which means to be awake in the Samadhi. Where otherwise maybe you disappear in meditation, but in Sahaj Samadhi the silence and stillness is there even though outwardly you are in action.

This is from a talk by Sat Shree in Tiruvannamalai, India in 2013