Meditation, a timeless state
Meditation is an interesting concept. Until my senior year of college, I had never read much about it, and as a result didn't hold much faith in the idea. But upon doing a little research on the topic, I realized that it isn't as mystical of an experience as I had previously thought. For those of you who haven't read much on it, I will give a brief summary of my understanding.
Meditation can take on a number of different forms, depending on the person practicing it. One aspect seems to transcend the forms, however. In order to meditate, one must clear their mind of its normal rush of random ideas and concentrate/focus on one object, thought, or concept. This can be accomplished by a number of different methods: staring at an object (blank wall, flame), chanting the same phrase again and again ("Hare Krishna"), or focusing on a repetitive sound (breathing, ocean).
Personally, I have had a small amount of success meditating, but only for a limited time. Usually, I start by getting comfortable and deeply breathing. Eventually, I clear my mind and begin feeling the beginnings of deep concentration and meditation. I can feel my head almost "tingle", and I know it is the beginnings of "enlightenment". However, this sensation is typically short lived, being interrupted by an unsuspected sound or thought. Although I haven't mastered the art yet, I feel that I understand enough about it to put forth a hypothesis.
In the deepest states of meditation, one must retreat into the mind and lose touch with all external senses. One may still see, to be aware of who and where they are, but they do not actually "see" things in the same way as they would if they were alert. Using the flame example, one can focus on the flame without actually looking at it. For a lack of better description, one "looks through" the flame. The same thing happens with the other senses during deep meditation- neglecting to hear or listen to the sounds surrounding, and not paying attention to the smells, tastes, and feelings that one could normally detect. Instead, one turns within and focuses on the mind and its power.
Whenever someone is in a deep state of meditation, it is fair to say that they become "timeless". Without sensory input from the world around us, we no longer can/need to distinguish how much time has passed. People can be in meditative trances for hours and have no idea how much time has passed. And whenever we reach these timeless states of concentration, this is when the stages of enlightenment begin. Many eastern religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism, have practiced meditation for many millennia. Other more recent religions, such as Christianity, also include a form of meditation in their regular practice in the form of prayer. By praying, one essentially focuses all of their thoughts on one idea or awareness, that of a God. They are rewarded for this meditation by enlightenment, and can physically feel a "religious experience".
So why, then, does concentrating, or meditating, bring about the irrefutable "religious experience" that so many people claim to experience? I believe it all goes back to the idea of timelessness. We are constantly immersed in a world of time, having deadlines to meet, having to be at work or school at certain times, needing to sleep for specific amounts of time. It is very seldom that we can actually achieve a mental state of timelessness.
But what exactly is being "timeless"? It is better to think of it as being one with time, rather than being without time. Imagine a person standing beside a highway. Cars are constantly rushing past them, and they can see, hear, and feel the cars. These cars represent time, which is constantly rushing past us, moving from the future to the past (or we are moving from the past into the future, its all relative). Now lets imagine our highway person being picked up by a caring motorist. The person is now moving at the same speed as the other cars on the highway, and the cars now seem to stand still (relative to the highway person). One interpretation is to say that the cars are no longer moving, while the other is to say that the highway person is now moving with the other cars.
Back to meditation - saying that one becomes timeless whenever meditating isn't saying that time is no longer there, but rather that the person is independent of time. And gaining independence from time while still being conscious can only be attained through a form of meditation. Whenever the mind disregards the body and turns within itself, it is no longer limited by the normal physical laws. The mind is a network of electrical activity and energy. According to Einstein, all energy (light, heat, microwave, etc.) travels at a constant rate, which is the speed of light, or c. Einstein's theory of relativity also implies that if something were to travel at the speed of light (c), it would become timeless. Time stops for objects traveling at (c). Therefore, all energy knows no time (is timeless).
Whenever someone meditates or concentrates so deeply that they forget about or disconnect from their physical body, they become timeless. Only the electrical activity of their brain is noticed (the mind is concentrating on itself). It is the free flow of this mental energy that allows us to feel the sensation of timelessness. And it is this timelessness that allows us to feel what some call a "religious experience" and others call "enlightenment".
Now lets bring the concept of IGITY to what has been introduced above. Is becoming timeless really being one with God? IGIT,Y! Whenever someone prays, they focus all of their thoughts and awareness on one thing, which is their God. If focused enough, the person becomes timeless and feels the "religious sensation". Since they are so deeply focused on their God, they are expecting some sort of a response and therefore are certain that this sensation that they are feeling must be their God. This, of course, reaffirms their faith. However, to feel a religious experience or enlightenment, one doesn't need to concentrate on God. The same sensations and enlightenment can be felt by meditating on anything, from a bag of chips to a candle, from a book to a tree. From breathing to chanting to staring at nothing, there are several ways to "feel God".
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