The nature of meditation and its conditions

By Avatar Meher Baba

Meditation has often been misunderstood as a mechanical process of forcing the mind upon some idea or object. Most people naturally have an aversion to meditation, because they experience great difficulty in attempting to coerce the mind in a particular direction or to pin it down to one thing. Any purely mechanical handling of the mind is not only irksome but is bound to be unsuccessful. Many persons who do not technically meditate are oftentimes found to be deeply and intensely engrossed in systematic and clear thinking about some practical problem or theoretical subject. Their mental process is, in a sense, very much like meditation, as their mind is engrossed in intense thinking about a subject to the exclusion of all other irrelevant things. Meditation is often easy and spontaneous in such mental processes, because the mind is dwelling upon an object that it is interested in and that it increasingly understands.

The object of real meditation always has to be carefully selected and must be spiritually important; it has to be some divine form or object, or some spiritually significant theme or truth. In order to attain success in meditation, the mind must not only get interested in divine subjects but also try to understand and appreciate them. Such intelligent meditation is a natural process of the mind; since it avoids the monotonous rigidity and regularity of mechanical meditation, it becomes not only spontaneous and inspiring but easy and successful.

Meditation should be distinguished from concentration. Meditation is the first stage of the process that gradually develops into concentration. In concentration, the mind seeks to unite with its object by fixing itself on that object, whereas meditation is thorough thinking about a particular object to the exclusion of every other thing.

In concentration there is practically no movement of the mind, but in meditation the mind moves from one relevant idea to another. In concentration as well as meditation, there is a peaceful intermingling of love and longing for the divine object or principle on which the mind dwells.

An important condition for attaining success in meditation is adoption of the right technique for handling disturbing thoughts and mental influences. It is useless to waste energy by trying to combat and repress disturbing thoughts directly. Any such attempt involves giving further attention to them; they feed upon the very attention given for repressing them. It is best to ignore them and turn to the object of meditation as early as possible, without attaching any undue importance to the disturbing factors. By recognising the irrelevance and worthlessness of disturbing thoughts and the relative value and importance of the object of meditation, it becomes possible to let the disturbing thoughts die through sheer neglect, thus making the mind permanently steady in the object of meditation.

One has to be serious about meditation but not grave or melancholy. Humour and cheerfulness not only do not interfere with the progress of meditation but contribute to it. Meditation should be something like a picnic on the higher planes. Like excursions into new and beautiful natural surroundings, meditation brings with it a sense of enthusiasm, adventure, peace and exhilaration.

Today is the 127th birth anniversary of Avatar Meher Baba. For details on the anniversary celebrations, visit 



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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