Meditation is a state of consciousness that can acquire information that the senses and intellect cannot reach.
That state of consciousness called meditation can only be reached by withdrawing consciousness from the conditions that limit its perception and understanding.
When the consciousness is unconditioned, liberated from the conditions that limit it, meditation occurs spontaneously, immediately.
So, to enter meditation, we only have to remove the conditions that prevent it.
First, one withdraws attention from the physical senses and the exterior world. In this way, the consciousness is withdrawn from those external conditions.
Then, one withdraws attention from thoughts, emotions, fantasies, dreams, etc. which are internal conditions that trap our consciousness.
The more one can withdraw from conditioning factors — whether external or internal — the closer one gets to experiencing the state of meditation.
Raja Yoga explains that withdrawal from the senses is required before one can develop concentration and then meditation. In other words, to enter the state of consciousness called meditation, our attention has to be totally focused internally.
If you are paying attention to the external environment, whether to sensations in your body, to music or other sounds, or to someone "guiding your meditation," then your attention is still in the physical world, even attached to it, and thus the sensory perceptions remain the focus of your attention. This prevents withdrawal from the senses. So, your consciousness remains conditioned by physical limitations. In that state, you can never experience the actual state of meditation. You might develop concentration, but that is not meditation,
Paying attention to the physical world is enough to prevent the consciousness from entering the state of meditation. Attention to physical sensations of any kind keeps the consciousness bound to the physical level.
So long as our consciousness remains conditioned by the senses, thoughts, emotions, daydreams, etc., meditation cannot occur.
That is why Samael Aun Weor said:
"During interior profound meditation, it is urgent, indispensable, and necessary to eliminate perceptions of the external senses."
No genuine tradition of meditation ever taught "guided meditation." There is no guided meditation in Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other ancient method. "Guided meditation" is a modern invention, and is a misnomer.
Rather than helping people learn meditation, so-called "guided meditation" prevents real meditation from being possible.
Firstly, it requires that you remain attentive to your senses and external influences. By listening to the voice of the guide, music, or any external sounds, one does not learn to withdraw from the senses, nor to dive within, nor to recognize thoughts, dreams, and emotions as the illusions they are, thus one cannot escape all that conditioning and experience the actual state of meditation.
Secondly, the very idea of guided meditation is that you need a guide to meditate, as if someone can enter your mind and guide your consciousness out of its cage. That is impossible. Even the Buddha said he cannot help anyone in this way, so it is certain that no one else can.
Those who rely on so-called guided meditation remain dependent upon external conditions, weak, and lacking experience. Worse, they can be manipulated, hypnotized or otherwise misled, and remain convinced that one needs some external crutch or assistance in order to reach the state of meditation, which is not true.
To reach the state of meditation, you do not need anything outside of you; in fact, you need the opposite: to forget the external, and go inward.
Guided meditation has the opposite of its intended effect: instead of teaching you how to meditate, guided meditation prevents you from meditating.
To rely on an external guide for meditation is to remain in the shallow water, on the surface, like a diver who needs to dive deep under the water to retrieve a treasure, but refuses to put their head into the water, or take their hand from the boat.
Real meditation is the only way we can reach the depths of our mind to deal with the causes of suffering. One needs courage to leave the superficial level, and dive deep into oneself. One also needs skill, and the only way to develop it is to start doing it on your own.
The fear of diving into meditation is only that: fear of the unknown. There is nothing to fear in real meditation. Instead, in the state of real meditation, the consciousness is free of fear, discontentment, anxiety, doubt. It experiences its true nature, which is deep peace, joy, contentment, and tremendous clarity, all of which one can utilize to discover the true causes of our suffering, so we can change and become free.
Therefore, it is best to avoid guided meditation. Instead, learn the simple, practical, and proven methods that lead to the genuine experience of meditation. Learn what has been taught by authentic meditation teachers and scriptures for thousands of years, and has been proven effective by uncountable meditators. You don’t have to pay anyone for that, or rely on anyone for that, other than yourself.
The state of meditation is easy to reach if you follow the proven steps, and practice every day.
In any genuine school of meditation, instructions for practice are given before the practice. When the meditation practice begins, absolute silence is kept so that each person will not be distracted by the external world, and they can dive within, leaving the physical world behind. This is the only way to learn real meditation.
“This is one of the Yogi’s great qualities; for he can close the doorways of his mind from foreign invasion and shut out the five senses. He can then receive direction from his inner worlds without interference.” -M, The Dayspring of Youth
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