Meditation is not a rehearsal

When we strive to meditate, we are urged to practice it, that is, do it repeatedly to get better at it. However, the word ‘practice’ has a connotation that doesn’t apply to meditation. For example, if actors do drama practice, that means they do repeated rehearsals of their words, gestures and actions so that they can do their best at the time of the performance, which is what really matters. Thus, in drama practice, the practice is a rehearsal for the real thing. 

However, the practice of meditation is not a rehearsal for some eventual performance, for the practice itself is the performance. Each time we attempt to meditate, striving to stabilize and spiritualize our consciousness, we are actually doing the real thing, for the ultimate reality is already present with us, always. 

The Bhagavad-gita (15.15) explains that the supreme spiritual reality is forever dwelling within us; we just need to attune ourselves to that divine presence. Meditation is essentially the devotional tuning of our consciousness. When we strive to tune ourselves to the ultimate reality, Krishna, by practicing devotional meditation, we are doing what we are meant to be doing eternally. The notion that what we are doing now is a practice run for something better that may happen sometime in the future distracts us from wholeheartedly offering ourselves in the present moment through our present practice to the divine who is omnipresent. 

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita urges us to patiently and persistently refocus the mind, whenever and wherever it wanders (06.26). When we reconceptualize meditation as the real thing, then we can go deep during our every attempt to meditate and thus increasingly relish Krishna’s transcendental presence. 

Think it over:

  • How is meditation practice different from drama practice?
  • When we practice meditation, what are we doing?
  • When you meditate, do you treat your practice as a rehearsal? How can you remind yourself that it is the real thing?

One-sentence summary:

The practice of meditation is not a rehearsal for the real thing — it is the real thing


06.26: From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.


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