Spiritual Enlightenment: The Groundwork Needed for Seekers

When it comes to spiritual enlightenment, whether you will really reach self-realization or not depends on how much you are seeking or how deep your seeking is. Some people have just a thought-induced seeking. They see ‘spiritual seeking’ as an ideal quality to have and spiritual enlightenment as kind of a ‘cool thing’ to attain. But this curious seeker will reach nowhere. He still sees spiritual enlightenment as something to gain or attain. But spiritual enlightenment is really a profound rediscovery of what you already are!

The seeking should come from a longing at the bottom of heart to become liberated rather than just a thought-induced craving. When there is such a deep longing to be liberated from the bondage which makes a person be prone to suffering, you are ready to proceed on the spiritual path. Every one has such a longing but he or she believes that this longing can be fulfilled by the objective outcomes of life and by improving one’s self-concept. Once a person realizes the futility of it, he will be ready.

Non-Doing and Doing

There is a direct approach to spiritual enlightenment. It doesn’t involve doing anything but abiding as a non-doing witness (click here to read more). But this is not possible for everyone because people have invested too much in their dreams and the self-concept. They have a lot of conditioning to break and their minds are too heavy. So for almost all the seekers, it is necessary to do certain practices as a groundwork. The practices help you to attain certain inner purification and develop discrimination (Viveka).

meditation

So basically there are two kinds of spiritual practices. The first category is everything that involves doing something. The second category is not really a practice but a non-doing. Self-inquiry, mindfulness, and witnessing belong to this category. If you find witnessing a difficult thing to ‘do’, you must focus more on these ‘doing’ practices which mainly involves concentration.  These practices can help you to prepare the ground. In other words, doing leads to non-doing.

Many traditions advocate implementing these two simultaneously. For example, Buddha advocated Samadhi to prepare the ground and Vipassana as the non-doing meditation. He called them as SammaSamadhi and Sammasati. Devotional practices such as chanting are also said to prepare the ground but only if they are practiced with a complete sense of surrender and not looking for the fruit of such actions. Such a devotee personifies the truth or the inner guru and engages in chanting, singing etc.

Preparing the Ground

Here, I will suggest three different systems of practice to prepare the ground. You can pick any one of these three but don’t mix them together. It is very important to not get attached to the techniques. The techniques themselves cannot help you to reach liberation. Liberation is only possible via non-doing, a direct approach such as ‘witnessing’.  So, you need to let go of the techniques at some point and focus more on the direct approach.

Osho’s meditations

Osho has developed certain techniques for modern men. I recommend these meditations the most than the other ones. They constitute different kinds of meditations that involve many activities. You can try them all and do them from time to time but pick one meditation that works for you and try to do it every day.

Here are the links which describe each meditation in detail:

Dynamic Meditation

Kundalini Meditation

Nadabrahma Meditation

Nataraj Meditation

Gourishankar Meditation

Mandala Meditation

Whirling Meditation

No-Dimensions Meditation

Chakra Sounds Meditation

Chakra Breathing Meditation

Kriya Yoga

I usually don’t recommend Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga has many pitfalls. The main purpose of any Yogic Kriya is to abide as long as possible in the after-poise-effect of Kriya once a Kriya is done. Whatever technique you follow in a kriya is only meant to still the mind and help you abide as the witness. But most of the organizations who teach Kriya Yoga today give more importance to the techniques and make it way more complicated than it  actually is. You also end up spending way more time, money and energy than you have to.

If you are already practicing Kriya Yoga through another organization or you are interested in learning Kriya Yoga, I strongly recommend the book Kriya Yoga Exposed by SantataGamana. This book will give you the essence of Kriya Yoga. Click here to read more about the book.

Samatha

Samatha is the Buddhist Practice that helps to achieve the stillness and purification of the mind.  It is just a close monitoring meditation in which you maintain an unwavering attention to a certain object of meditation. You need to sit in a comfortable posture, close your eyes and fix your attention on the object of meditation. Whenever your mind wanders you need to bring the attention back to the same object. This is the essence of Shamatha. It is pretty similar to the meditation in Ashtanga Yoga.

There is a category for the objects of meditation which is called as kasina. A kasina is a device representing a particular quality used as a support for concentration. You can choose one among the ten kasinas mentioned here: earth, water, fire and air, light, space and the colors blue, yellow, red and white.  You can read more about Samatha here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html


Here, you can learn a 3-level meditation: 3-Level Meditation using Visual Meditation Aids based on Vajrayana and other Tantras.

The third level is the actual Shamatha meditation and the first two are based on different psychological concepts. You can also use this as a practice to prepare the ground and practice them whenever you can and as much as necessary. Keep in mind that all these techniques are only intended to prepare you towards non-doing meditation.

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Author: Shanmugam

I am a blogger and a self-published author. My book "The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment: Bridging Science, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta" is a guide to the ultimate freedom, bliss and oneness. The book is based on my own experience.

16 thoughts on “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Groundwork Needed for Seekers”

  1. How can a thought induced craving be coverted to deep longing for liberation? Does witnessing help in bringing the much needed clariry?

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    1. It can happen by living the life with full involvement with no repression.. As you fully understand life and understand your reactions to life, you will come to know the futility of seeking fulfillment in objects, experiences or anything that is accumulated…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I see that in the above post you have not used the term ‘desire’.. Instead you used word seeking or longing.. As far as i understand, i may be having a multiple desires and might be feeling that those desires will bring me the happiness that iam searching for… And only when i come to realise that all other desires don’t take me anywhere, then i come to have a right kind of longing that comes from understanding.. I also heard osho saying something called ‘ pure desire’. Is it right to call this deep longing for truth a ‘desire’ as well? If not so, then what is the difference between desire and this longing?

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    1. Hi.. desire arises from the same longing.. There is no difference except that desire is about something particular and something that is temporary… This longing for fulfillment is the reason for the desires to arise.. The bottom line is that there is always a feeling that something is not enough. The mind translates this sense of lack into various desires..

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  3. Is it like.. ‘Longing is the trunk of a tree and desires are the branches extending from it’. And when all branches break off only the trunk reamains.. A pure trunk… Just for imagination although weird 🙂

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    1. Yes.. But you cannot simply try to cut the branches off. Before you finish cutting one branch, there will be another branch that has grown.. The tree has to be uprooted by working on the root.

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    1. Directly working on the root is just the direct approach like witnessing/self-inquiry.. The groundwork that we do is like trying to get to the root. But don’t take the analogy too literally..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just bought the book “Kriya Secrets Revealed” by J.C. Stevens and want to start my Yoga practice.
    Do you recommend it? If not, why.

    Besides that I’m doing Hatha Yoga twice a weak in a course in my hometown. Is there any conflict in doing that while practicing Kriya the same day?

    Could you go into more detail why you find the Osho meditations more useful besides the possible pitfalls of Kriya?

    Thank you for the nice articles by the way. You are helping me alot in my process. Greetings from Germany!

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    1. Thank you for your feedback on my blog…

      From what I have heard, J.C. Stevens’s book is unnecessarily complicated. You can practice the techniques and experiment with them if you want; nothing wrong with that. You can also practice Hatha Yoga if you really like doing it. But as I have mentioned, it is more important to progress to the next stage and not to get too attached to the techniques..

      I prefer Osho’s meditations techniques because it is better for modern men. People who are living today have repressed so many things and the minds have become more heavy and complicated. Osho’s techniques help to uncomplicate those things and make you feel lighter both mentally and physically.

      If you are already doing Yoga and enjoy doing it, please continue. But I strongly recommend the book by SantataGamana which gives you a clear idea about the path of yoga. You can read more details about it here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/kriya-yoga-exposed-by-santatagamana/

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  5. Hi Shanmugam. A man who said he had been practicing meditation for more than 50 years recommended heartfulness meditation, which allegedly was created by his teacher (Babuji). He said it is less dangerous than other types of meditation (in terms of dark night of the soul). What do you think?

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