Do you need to be religious to meditate?
Namaste & Welcome, in today’s video, we’re going to explore the question — do you need to be religious to meditate?
I wanted to do this video because I know that it can be confusing for a lot of people, especially when you hear about mantras, Gurus, different deities etc etc.
Ok — so let me simplify this for you completely.
In the Vedic tradition, where meditation originated from, there is a principle of oneness.
It is said that we are all one. And that we are not the body, or the mind — or the ego — but the self within.
This self that is within me, is within you, and within every other being — and that is why we are all one.
This is why Yogis practice non-violence — because they know that harming another being is the same as harming themselves.
And the nature of this “self”, is pure love, pure bliss.
The description given of this self is SAT CHIT ANANDA — The truth is that we are pure consciousness, and its nature is pure love.
Now the PROBLEM, and what is said to cause human suffering is that as human beings we are ignorant of this. We have forgotten our true nature, and we think that we are the body and mind.
It’s like — when you’re playing a video game — and if you were to forget that you were you, and instead think that you are the character in the game.
The reason we are ignorant of this, is that our true self is hidden beneath all the mental clutter that we hold. Our thoughts, worries, anxieties, fears, our desires.
SO meditation — essentially, is the process of REMOVING that clutter, and realising our true nature.
So religion has nothing to do with it.
So here — the answer is NO, you do not need to be religious to meditate, it has nothing to do with it.
BUT why does religion come in?
I think the main reason is because how popular mantras have become, as objects of meditation, and a lot of mantras represent different deities or Gods.
This is where we have to apply the teachings of oneness.
These different deities are simply a symbol representing the ultimate truth — oneness.
Because, if I ask you to meditate on the ocean — which is infinite, you cannot. Your mind cannot comprehend it. But, if I put the sea water in a bottle, and I told you meditate on the image of a bottle, now that is easier. That is all. We are humans, we need symbols. Companies have logos, so when people see it, they remember the whole company.
So you see, you have plenty of options.
The deities and the mantras are there to remind you of the self, but they are not a superior object of focus.
In fact, in the Yoga Sutras — Patanjali has been SO liberal. Although he has given some recommendations for objects of meditation, like the OM mantra is one, but eventually, he says you can focus the mind upon anything you desire.
Ideally it should be uplifting, and should remind you of the self.
There is the breath. There are universal mantras like OM, or SO HUM, which means I am.
There are qualities of the self like love, peace, abundance.
You are free, and you need not be tied down to anything you don’t like or don’t enjoy — because your mind will not be able to concentrate on it.
I’m happy to do more specific videos on what these objects are, and how to use them.
So please comment below, and let me know what specific questions you have, that are perhaps bugging you, and I’ll answer them.
In conclusion — you do NOT need to be religious to meditate.