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How to meditate continuously for 24 hours?
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
11 min
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Questioner (Q): A couple of days ago, I asked you a question regarding thoughts at the time of meditation, and you completely destroyed me, and I’ve been trying to assimilate what you had said. So, the point you had mentioned is that Meditation cannot be only a one-hour practice a day or two-hour practice a day. It has to be something, which… throughout the day you are able to be in a state, where you don’t engage in actions that develop thoughts that bother you during meditation. And, I’ve been listening to you and I’ve been trying to understand this, but I am not able to get the full grasp of it.

The mind keeps coming back saying, “How can you be in action during the day trying to do things, trying to achieve things, and the purpose of meditation is that you want to sit probably for one hour a day just to be calm, trying to do some prayer, trying to do some listening to keep yourself down”.

The effect of that you can see that after you do the prayer and meditation, you’re able to feel calm, but during the day, unfortunately, it slips out, the mind slips out. You get aggressive, you want to prove things. Your identity steps in. So probably, the question which I have is, is there a way that you be in a meditative practice throughout the day?

So, through the last two, three days of Satsang with you, which have been very useful, I see that you need to engage in actions that do not create conflict in you. So, that is something which I am taking away from the Satsang, but I am not able to get it clearly.

Acharya Prashant (AP): You don’t need to do anything. This one special hour of meditation is something that you do. When it is something that you do, then it remains a function of the doer. So, the doer expresses himself as another doing called ‘meditation’.

You're anyway doing a lot of things. See what is it that you are doing. And, if you see no peace in that, good for you. If you are saying that you have tried to observe your daily actions, thoughts, emotions, etc., and you have seen anger, and conflict, and distraction, and therefore you feel that meditating twenty-three hours a day is difficult, then your Meditation is actually succeeding. And, I’m talking of the twenty-four-hour Meditation. At least, now you’re able to see how your entire day actually is.

And, our nature is such that if we really encounter noise and acknowledge noise as noise, we will no longer be able to support noise. If we encounter conflict and do not try to give it a made-up name or decorate it, instead if we just acknowledge it as conflict, then we’ll no longer be able to support it and therefore we’ll not sustain it. That is Meditation. It’s just that real Meditation is a dirty thing. It’s a dirty thing because it needs you to plunge directly into the dirt and filth of your daily life. Artificial meditation of the one-hour type is a very clean thing. Having spent the entire day in the - pardon me the usage - gutter of common life, we come back to the one clean, holy place that we have artificially reserved for meditation; take a shower, use some incense, play some mystical music, and sit down to bathe in the divine. What nonsense!

Real Meditation will be tricky, dirty, and quite hurtful. It involves seeing things for what they really are. It involves acknowledging your own face. Real Meditation is showing a mirror to yourself. False meditation, of the kind that is very popular, is all about putting up the most artificial, the most made-up, and the holiest face possible. Look at people when they are meditating. Is that them? Seriously? Look at people when they are strutting around with their yoga mats, and sitting in this Aasan (yogic posture) or that Aasan . Is that them?

(Sarcastically) Returning from his yoga class, he seriously relishes a piece of chicken leg. In fact, the chicken feels even more delicious after the yoga class. Having meditated, he immediately sets off for his shop. And, he’s a champion black-marketer. And, meditation helps him in staying calm and quiet while he’s fleecing the entire world. What kind of meditation is this? This is meditation just to sustain the Ego, right?

Real Meditation is dangerous. Therefore, real Meditation is neither practiced nor taught. And obviously, it cannot sell. Real Meditation is a daylong, lifelong activity. It’s a love affair. You cannot be a lover one hour a day, or can you be? But, you can be a customer of flesh one hour a day. That’s something you can do just on weekends. Or, every night after 10 PM, just before you go to bed. Your daily dose of flesh, right? Love is not something that you can have only at 10 PM at night.

Tricky? (Laughs)

But, 10 PM love is convenient. Meditation is not 10 PM love or 7 AM love.

What happens is that most of these famous, or fashionable, or popular spiritual practices just make the same old Ego start feeling good about itself. The Ego does not change, it just starts feeling good about itself. And, that’s very dangerous. Because now, all the possibility of change has been totally blocked. You change only when you are dissatisfied with the way you are. But, instead of bringing you to change, if you are given some technique that helps you be as you are and yet feel divine, and blissful, and whatnot, then who can save you?

Real Spirituality is not about pretending that you are already the Aatman (Truth), that you are already the pure Self, the Truth. Real Spirituality is about seeing that there is no way you are the Aatman . That you are the stinking Ego light years away from the Aatman . Real Spirituality is not about pampering yourself with notions like — “You are already beautiful. You are great as you are. Aren’t you already the supreme Truth?”

All this is just self-deception, right? Look at the way you live. Look at the way you relate, consume, buy, eat. Are you already the supreme Truth? Exactly how?

(Sarcastically) But, we all require teachers of the kind who can come and certify to us that we are great and pure as we are. And, such teachers will be greatly in circulation, immensely popular. So, some trick can be given to you, some technique can be given to you, some hour can be allotted, and — bingo.

I’ll repeat, real Meditation is a love affair. And, you pay for it with your life. It’s an extremely dirty business. The mind will have to bathe in its own blood. The mind will be illuminated, but only in the fire of its own annihilation. A lot of light is produced. We keep seeking light, don’t we? A lot of light is produced when the Ego self immolates. That’s the only light that can really illuminate the ego.

Q: It’s really interesting, and I’m able to assimilate what you’re saying. And, when I’m questioning myself, my mind is coming back with the answer that means, “Whatever you’re doing now is getting questioned." My whole lifestyle is going to get questioned to such an extent that I will probably really need to rethink because what you are saying absolutely makes sense.

All the current spiritual practices, when I’m logically able to see, it is only amplifying the ego saying that — “Yes, you know you have one hour of good, but then why am I here?” So, I’m back into that loop that I am introspecting into my entire lifestyle, which will be very interesting.

AP: Dangerous. Interesting from a distance.

Q: Interesting from a distance. It is scary.

AP: Very dangerous when you actually come to it. Scary! (Laughs)

Q: Thank you, Guru Ji. Nobody has given this kind of visibility, it’s good.

AP: (Laughing) You're thanking me for bringing scare to you?

Q: It’s thanking, so I stop fooling myself. Because, being on this path for some time, nobody has brought in this much amount of different perspective. This is something which is also there. So, if you’re going to go in, there’s going to be some good times, there’s going to be some bad times. Eventually, all of it should go away.

AP: It will really beat you down very badly. Let there be no consolations in this regard. Leading a false life is quite convenient. And, that is obvious from the fact that most people choose to lead false lives. Now, you see the reason why. There is clearly a benefit associated with living falsely.

When you buck the trend, when you want to deviate from the common path, then there is a price to pay. And, the bigger the deviation, the bigger is the price. It’s just that after a while if you have the patience to sustain yourself for that long, you discover that the price you were paying was actually the burden you were off-loading. So, it was not a price at all. But, when you begin to pay, it hurts. It will seriously hurt.

Let there be no doubt about it. Be prepared and drop all the fantastic notions that spirituality brings, bliss, and this and that. First of all, the experience will be of great hurt. It would feel as if you are being torn apart. And, you will have a great desire to return to your old ways, your old life. That’s why patience will be difficult.

Even if there is bliss, it is a very courageous kind of bliss. It is the bliss that a warrior earns after sustaining a hundred cuts on the body. It is the bliss that you know of when you have fought wholeheartedly and yet lost. That kind of a bliss, not the cheap kind of bliss, which is very similar to physical pleasure and mental happiness.

Ask most people who talk of spiritual experiences, or bliss, or the divine touch. Are they talking of anything other than physical pleasure in some version of the same old kind of mental happiness? No. Spiritual Bliss has a totally different quality to itself. It is the bliss of the bankrupt man who has sold away everything he had for something very intangible. As intangible as Love.

Probably, not a cutout for it. Probably, this is a realm of only a few people. That’s something very sad to acknowledge. The more you look at the world, the more you are forced to acknowledge this. Probably, not all are cut out for Spirituality. Probably not everyone has the intention to pay up. Capability is earned along the way.

So, capability is not such a big problem. The problem is intention itself. People might just poke into the Spiritual world. Peep in for a while. Window shop a little. But, when it comes to permanently settling down in the land of Truth, there are very few takers. We come to the land of Truth as tourists, with the return tickets already booked. We don’t come to belong, we don’t come to settle down. Do we?

That one hour of tourism, daily tourism, won’t work. Just as this one week or one month of Rishikesh (the location where this dialogue took place) foray won’t work. One doesn’t go to the Truth on a visa.

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