Meditation is not an Art but most Meditators are Artists – 12 Nov 13

I yesterday explained why I thought it was impossible to empty one’s mind completely and think nothing at all, something that many people call the aim of meditation. Today I want to take a look at those impressive things that people actually do achieve with the help of meditation – and I will also mention why I believe that these people are actually artists, not meditators.

I am sure that you have already seen this kind of thing, most probably on television: a man can bend iron rods with his bare hands, a woman can hit right through a pile of hard bricks or a man can pull a truck by a rope just with his teeth. These and other, sometimes record-breaking stunts are done with extreme concentration – and lots of meditation teachers claim that this is what one can achieve only with the practice of meditation! Their theory is that you bring all your energy together at one point where you are able to channel it and display superhuman strength!

I don’t believe in this. I don’t see anything spiritual or meditative in these performances. It is a performance, maybe even these people’s business and that is fully fine. It is, in my eyes, art. You practice and practice to achieve something that not everyone can achieve. You have reached a level of practice that gives you a certain qualification, that enables you to make others look in amazement at what you do.

Now if you tell me that this is what meditation does, I won’t agree with you. I won’t say that these people don’t meditate, they probably do, but by displaying their achievement merely as a result of meditation, I believe you reduce the value of these people’s practice and you try to present meditation as something terribly difficult that only great meditators can do. Only those who have spent years in the Himalayan caves in meditation, those who were born in special families or those who have reached enlightenment. The message that you give others is: these people are great and could reach to this point of meditation but for everyone else, for the normal human, it is near to impossible to meditate so well and properly to have an effect like this.

If you hear someone say this and point you in that direction, you will notice that they always try to sell you their style of meditation to guide you to this goal. They will be there with the offer to make you stronger or better in whatever way you like, to make you special and even get supernatural powers – if you just try hard enough.

No, I don’t agree.

Meditation is not an art that you need to practice hard to actually get a nice result. Meditation is not something that only selected people are able to do. Meditation is for everyone and while it may help your concentration, it is not something for being presented on a show or in a performance.

Tomorrow I will tell you in detail what I believe meditation is.

Is religious preaching a performing Art or a divine Act? – 25 Sep 11

It was not only young people in the search for partners who came to my lectures and programs in London in 2002. There were also older people who were interested in the scriptures and these were mostly those who came to me in my private time to talk a bit more about what I had said on stage. They either came to me or they invited me to their homes.

In my lectures I always gave the possibility to ask questions but some were more extensive and deeper so it was good that we had some time to talk about them in private. Questions and answers was thus a normal part of my work, too. I enjoyed that time with these older Indian Londoners, too. They spoke good Hindi, often better than their children, and they had spent 50 or more years reading scriptures, understanding religious texts and doing the ceremonies. I was young in age but I had learned from my father and from other teachers and with that knowledge and my experience of this work in India, I was able to satisfy their curiosity. I still consider myself as a student but I was good enough in my profession to satisfy their need. It happened several times that I could explain them an interpretation of a scripture which they had not understood in their long time of studying. This obviously brought me their respect.

It also increased their impression of me being a special and holy person. I was the guru and in their opinion I was divine and holy. I gave great answers to questions of life and they, the 70-year-old men could ask me, who was only 30 years old. It increased the impression that they had got when they had seen me on stage.

I actually see the stage performance as an art. Everybody who come on stage has to be an artist. Even people with much knowledge, who have made university degrees and long studies of a subject, become artists when they come on stage to present their knowledge. On stage you have to perform. You have to have a stage program, no matter in which field you perform. When I went on stage, I wore beautiful, colourful clothes, a really good outfit that made me shine. Of course I also put on the traditional religious makeup with sandalwood and tilak in the face. I am also an artist and good performer. Additionally however I had the knowledge to satisfy people’s interest and thirst for information.

The problem with religious performances is that people immediately believe that a good performer and even more a knowledgeable person is holy. If someone has learned a lot and has a deeper understanding than you which he can then present in a better way, he is not divine! He has done effort for it and he is a good artist. It may be his talent but he is not God. This happens in no other field, not in music, not in other performing arts, only in religion. And I was the guru. I had knowledge, I was a good performer and I impressed people. For them, I was holy.

Art Class to Express Feelings Freely – 17 Mar 10

It was a beautiful day for the children of our school today. First our friend Iris, whose birthday it is today and whom we send our love, sponsored the food for the kids. And right after their lunch, the three higher classes of the school were invited into the biggest of our classrooms to have a special art class: Jennifer, our friend from the US, has brought a whole suitcase full of art supplies, papers, pens, pastels and water colours. She is an art teacher and this is what she shared with our kids today, too. It was just beautiful and lots of fun for them!

In traditional art classes children get a picture of a house or an apple and they have to paint, or actually copy, exactly what they see, with the same colours and the same shape. Today they painted in a very different way. Jennifer encouraged them to express their emotions and just paint whatever they felt onto the paper and with whatever colour they wanted to. You can imagine that the children were at first surprised but then had a lot of fun filling the paper with many different colours. Tomorrow it will be the younger children’s turn. It is a fully free way of expressing yourself, maybe you can also try that sometime if you feel that you want to express a feeling but don’t really know how. Enjoy seeing and feeling the colours and the shapes. Bring yourself into the picture and make it a portrait of your soul.

See pictures of today’s birthday food

Art class pictures are here

Stable Happiness with a Stable Opinion – 15 Dec 09

If you start having your own opinion it can obviously be that some people are not very happy about it but already yesterday I wrote that those who love you will be happy about it. There are a few reasons for this.

One is that everyone who really loves you wants you to be happy and strong and stable in your happiness. It is difficult to have stable happiness if you cannot have a stable opinion because all the time you actually worry in which direction you have to change your opinion now!

It is also really more fun to talk with someone who has his own opinion. Even if this means that you disagree with this person in a few points but at least you can talk deeper about something. Imagine you are talking with someone about your favourite sport and you tell him your favourite team. He immediately agrees with you and you start talking about different players and their records. If this person actually has no idea about that team or even that sport and just said it to make you happy, you will not get even one satisfying answer. 

Now imagine this person says instead that he is actually more interested in arts. If you also like arts you will find a nice topic of common interest and if you don’t know much about it, you could learn something. I tell you, even if you find art as boring as sport is for your conversational partner, you will certainly find another topic to talk about.

In each way and whatever happens, it is better to be clear and honest about your feelings. Then everything is just clear, there are no doubts and no miracles. I promise that this is an easier way to live!

About a painter’s job to show beauty in art

A friend sent me an email and told me that she had just read an old diary entry in which I was also talking about beauty and the effort to look like models and actresses on TV. This woman who wrote to me is an artist and she said that there is often a difference between the things that she sees and that which she brings to paper. And in the same way it is with modern media. What you see is not the reality! A painter may see a person and paint the person but the art is to bring more to paper than just the shape and colour. If you look at a portrait and feel that the person who looks at you from the canvas is a very strong and charismatic person or if you immediately feel the sadness that this person has experienced, then you know that the painter saw this and had the ability to bring it into a picture. Or maybe he wanted to add this feature to the person. Not every king whose gorgeous pictures you can see today was that good-looking, tall, fierce and strong but they all had their artist portrait them in this way. You need to believe in your own beauty and stop comparing. Everybody is unique and wonderful!

Today my friend Govind was here again. His wife gave birth to his second child last week and we all are very happy for him.