When an individual sits for meditation, does he come out of the meditation changed in some way? … or is meditation something like a state of ‘statis’ where time goes by, but nothing happens? Is the individual taking a ‘time out’ from life but not moving the purpose and focus of the life forward? These questions arise when we examine the statements of those who attempt meditation and who report they simply saw rounds of thoughts and sense impressions impinging on them, and that they wound up following these until they noticed it, and then tried to draw back, until the next ones captured them; or else, that they found they were simply ‘nodding off’. Many people who take up meditation report they may feel more relaxed or peaceful at the end, but realistically, their actions afterwards have not changed in any meaningful way.

As with anything an individual does in his life, there is a reason or motive behind it. If one begins meditation without a clear sense of purpose, without an aspiration directed toward that purpose, then it tends to simply be static and does not aid much, if at all, in the actualization of the seeker’s ultimate purpose in the life. This leads to the question of whether meditation can be dynamic and focused, without simply becoming another vehicle of expressing some form of vital ambition. Ultimately everyone acts in the world. The action can be motivated by ego and vital ambition, but it can also be directed toward a higher aspiration and the transformation of human life. It can be an attempt to deny life or an attempt to affirm life. Everything depends on the direction and sincerity of the seeker’s motivation in the action.

A disciple asks: “What does Sri Aurobindo mean by ‘a self-dynamising meditation’?”

The Mother responds: “It is a meditation that has the power of transforming your being. It is a meditation which makes you progress, as opposed to static meditation which is immobile and relatively inert, and which changes nothing in your consciousness or in your way of being. A dynamic meditation is a meditation of transformation.”

“Generally, people don’t have a dynamic meditation. When they enter into meditation — or at least what they call meditation — they enter into a kind of immobility where nothing stirs, and they come out of it exactly as they went in, without any change either in their being or in their consciousness. And the more motionless it is, the happier they are. They could meditate in this way for eternities, it would never change anything either in the universe or in themselves. That is why Sri Aurobindo speaks of a dynamic meditation which is exactly the very opposite. It is a transforming meditation.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter V Growth of Consciousness, Means and Methods, pp. 87-88

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.