Meditation Word of the Day
Meditation is invisible inner behavior, so it is challenging to describe. It's not visible to other people. And within ourselves, emotions, thoughts and sensations move rapidly. Many different experiences come and go in less than a second. How do you describe what happens in your body when you listen to music or receive a massage?
There are times when we can express some of what we experience, through in dance, music, the visual arts, and even spoken language.
Spoken language is mysteriously useful with regards to meditation – you'd think that for something so silent, words would not be of much use. But only precise and evocative words are useful. Meditators have been amazingly articulate over the ages, composing tens of thousands of texts on meditation technique and experience. They seem to have developed Sanskrit as a tool of thought for expressing meditative insights.
One thing you can do for yourself which will be helpful for your meditation and your whole life is to learn the meanings of the words you use. If you are going to use the words awareness, consciousness, attention, heart, love, desire, detachment, then look them up and go deep into the mosiac of meanings each word can have.
The more aware you are of where in the realm of human impulses a word comes from, the more aware you can be of the silent realms beyond the word. In meditation, less is more. The less you read, the more you will understand.
To get a sense of the basic impulses that move meditation, take a look at the instincts.
The word vak is obscure but very useful.
Here is an essay on the four levels of language, often referred to as the Four Levels of Vak.
"According to the rishis (seers) the mantras are the living body of the luminous inner truth of which they sing, a truth which does not reveal itself to the busy conceptual mind as readily as to the more receptive inner audience of unbounded awareness unfolded through meditation.There are four different levels of languages describing four domains of Vedic experience.
1. Language of communication or everyday speech. The gross physical level of articulate speech (Vaikhari).
2. Language of ritual, the rhythmic sacrificial language of chant. Language as `thought', which is not yet spoken (Madhyama).
3. Language of illumination, of vision.
4. Language of eternity, of imperishable silence. The silent, unbounded, absolute level of speech (Para).
Speech reveals herself only to the seer, the one she loves.
Speech is born of tapas (austerity) and throughout the Vedic literature is related to Agni (fire). Mystics of all ages have discovered the relationship between the repetition of sound and an inner fire, and these take the mind to profound depths and eventually spiritual illumination. The rhythmically formulated word, with its tendency towards rhyme, its alliteration, assonance and other types of repetition make it an instrument of power. The sound of such words is often of greater importance than their meaning, which has often been lost. Intoned speech becomes experienced as inner light.
The Veda is eternal and of non-human origin. The transcendance of the seer might give birth to an entirely new utterance, a new mantra, finite and localised when heard by the mundane sense of hearing, but with its origins in the infinite, and capable of again revealing the Infinite to the seer.
The function of the Vedic mantras is to reveal their own inner being.
The entire body of Vedic knowledge is Vac-(goddess of speech, Sarasvati)- with combinations and permutations of sound- in all its various degrees of manifestation. The meaning of the mantra is known not by attending to the semantic meaning, but by attending to the tendencies- the dynamics of sound. One of the Vedic or Yogic method of gaining knowledge is organised on the level of sound. Within the tendencies of the sounds of the mantras lie the method of gaining knowledge of the 'object' the mantra describes.
The Vedic mantras possess the impulses or tendencies which constitute the knowledge of these 'objects'. Thus there is a close relationship between sound and form. This knowledge is on the level of pulsating consciousness. The Veda is a supreme example of a type of poetry in which the life of the symbol corresponds so intimately with the truth it clothes that it is indeed the living form of that truth. There are, residing within the language of the Veda, a hierarchy of potencies, indwelling powers of speech which inspire by means of sound and a transcendental logic.
Image, sound and sense were indissolubly united to forge luminous language- symbols capable of conveying the most orient hues of the imperishable. The mantras are secret words, seer wisdoms, which utter their indwelling meaning to the seer prepared by tapas. The uncanny longevity of these hhymns (mantras) can be attributed to the fact that they are in such intimate contact with the eternal. The mantras are self- revealing, preserved by the imperishable for those who would seek their indwelling dimensions.” found at http://www.hinduism.co.za/mantras.htm