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The Sound of One Hand Clapping

In Meditation techniques


The sound of one hand clapping


A significant aspect of meditation is introspection. Without that, whatever we experience through meditation and otherwise in our daily lives remains a question. Unless our intelligence is sharpened by introspecting with basic questions such as Who am I?, What is life?, Does life have a meaning? or What is God, if there is any?,  the meditative journey remains incomplete.


Introspect with spiritual questions

Instead of digesting ready made answers provided in scriptures, let these questions become a tool for introspection. They are designs with which - if you enter with sincerity and conviction - you might not reach to the answers but will definitely reach to where you should be. In fact, these questions are not really questions to be answered. For a moment, think about what is questioning? What is a question and what is it that we call an answer to that question? If we spend some time in silence contemplating about what I just asked, you should come to realise that a question is something at which your mind cannot hold itself, it cannot connect the dots yet, it cannot rest as it doesn’t find something as a response… and an answer is nothing but whatever your mind accepts as a response to a question. In both cases, mind is involved and the whole conversation of Q&A remains on the mental level. Even in case of so called spiritual questions, the Q&A is happening on the mental level. Moreover, if you go deeper into your contemplation, you will see that mind, due to its nature, has limitations. It chooses some data points, and has to reject some other data points in order to form its logic. And life cannot be contained in any logic. It is too vast, with too many dimensions to be able to be fully contained by a structure. Hence, actually no existential question can be answered by the mind. One has to go beyond the mind to see the limitations that mind raises, and once you are there, all questions appear small. Even the biggest of unresolved questions stands smaller than life itself. And the focus in such a meditative state shifts from the question to life itself. Hence, these questions are tools designed to gravitate your attention back to life.


The meaning of a Koan

In meditation practices of Japan, there are small phrases called Koans. For example, ‘the sound of one hand clapping’. An appropriate Koan is given to a meditator at a certain stage of his meditation practice, to contemplate over for days, months and years. Left alone with just a few words, the meditator goes on contemplating what these words could mean. He focuses all his energy, all his attention to this one particular Koan. By doing that, as time goes by, the meditator’s mind integrates all its capacities to conquer and decipher the meaning of the Koan. But the fact is that there is no meaning to any of the koans. Hence, after a great struggle, the mind of a meditator eventually accepts defeat. The moment it gives up, in that silence, a realisation dawns upon the meditator of what is more essential, the very taste of life…and the Koan does its job.


So, allow yourself some space and time in life to indulge in introspection as well. In the Meditation Easy (ME) Program, all 30 meditation techniques have in-built introspection to prepare your intelligence to even break free from the spiritual questions and touch the deepest silence within you.