Look at the meditation forms you are using and understand their nature and function in relation to what you are trying to do. What are meditation forms? They are everything you do physically and psychologically when you meditate. For instance, some typical forms are:
- a deliberate posture, or any type of physical motion
- a breathing exercise
- a mantra, an affirmation, or other words used physically or silently
- Visualization of any kind
- A conscious line of thinking
- A type of emotional identification
The thing to realize is, that where meditation in the deeper sense is concerned, all these forms are things that may be used but are to be transcended. They are not meditation itself, but forms deliberately used to evoke true meditation. At the point or points where actual meditation begins, the form is transcended, it falls away or drops below the threshold of consciousness.
Consider the analogy of an airplane getting ready to take off. There is the readying of the plane, the fueling, the pilot checklist, applied power to move forward on the runway—all these steps are like the forms of meditation. Actual meditation is like the point where the aircraft leaves the ground, so that the Earth drops away as the plane soars into the air.
If you understand meditation only in terms of the methods or forms used, then you will never get off the ground. So in order to go deep, do really meditate means using forms, but then leaving them behind, and so no longer being occupied with them.
Understand also then, that formal meditation using methods from the above list is just meditation in the strict sense of the word. There is another sense of meditation that needs application, and that is the realization that all life is a meditation form. Every thing, every person, every right thought, is when truly lived and seen through, a meditation form, leading to meditative experience. This is the meaning of the advice “Meditate without ceasing.”
There is one final truth about meditation, without which all the forms will not work. That truth is the importance of motive. Why are you meditating? In a deeper sense, for real meditation, there is only one motive that works, and that is the spirit of love and service. Meditation is a service, and to be real any meditation must be approach in the spirit of love.