Ten Days Journey Into The Self: The Experience Of Meditation

Published: 24.07.2012
Updated: 24.07.2012

The whole tree is in the heart of the tiny seed

Friends. Without the seed of divinity within us, no human being would exist. Because of the divinity within us, we move, think, love, give and receive. Do not be misled by what you see in the world around you, the passing show with its violence, commercialism, greed for possessions, and lust for power. We are incarnations of the Life Energy of the Cosmos, evolving as we, here and now, transform ourselves. For this transformation which is Self-realization, we need meditation. In meditation, we enter, we experience, we prepare to express our divinity. This seed of divinity within each of us is the Creative Force, but each of us must contact it. Each of us must commit himself to living as a source of love and of light. There are many forms of meditation. Often the start of meditation is concentration on a point of light, or a word, or a mantra, or a phrase, or all idea, or an image. However, concentration is not meditation. Concentration can take us to the threshold, but we must go beyond.

Meditation takes us beyond mind, beyond words beyond ego. In meditation, the confirming shell of the ego is split. When the shell of the ego is cast off the core which is within, which is your true Self your spirit, your soul shines forth with dazzling brilliance. When will the ego shatter? When you enter deep within yourself; when you reach the core of your being. The kernel of the coconut, its sweet milk, can be had only when you break its outer shell ego is the shell; within it is the nucleus, the essence of your real Self. Self love belongs to the ego love of all living beings, to the nucleus. The ego aims to get what is coming to me; the nucleus aims to give all that it can to the world. The ego is a facade-become-prison. When we shed it, the essence, or nucleus emerges in freedom, offering itself and contributing to the bounty of the universe.

We glide into meditation. We cannot force thoughts from our minds, or force bliss to come. It is as though we are seated on the balcony of our apartment, or on the porch of our house, and see people passing in the street. We let the many strangers pass. If a friend appears, we invite him to join us. Now we are not even aware of strangers in the street, as we concentrate on communicating with our friend. Then, finally, we become silent. Communing with our friend in the silence, we find we are communing with the Infinite.

First, let us concentrate on the concept of the seed, and then glide into meditation.... The glory of the earth includes almost limitless varieties of plants and trees, all of which start from tiny seeds. We share this richness of diversity, this divinity in many forms, each individually unique. The seed is nourished by the dark earth which is broken up by earthworms, watered by rain, warmed by the sun, cooled by the gentle touch of the night. The seed splits its shell, and a form of life emerges which begins to expand and actualize its potential. Now go to the law behind the maturation of the seed. There is a benign harmony in the cycle of its flowering and bearing fruit and its decay --- Only to grow again. The interrelatedness of seed and sun and earthworms, of birds that eat the superfluous seeds, of people who eat the fruit, and of all that lives on the earth is the interrelatedness of one with all. Without this inter- relatedness, this harmony of the whole, we would not be here. We not only eat the fruit of the tree, we rest in its shade and we also enjoy its beauty, which completes the tree.

Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Mahavir said, Since you receive so much more than any other form of life, it is inevitable that you should want to give more." We not only have senses that open the whole expanse of the universe to us, but we also have articulate language, the capacity for abstract thinking, and the freedom to choose and to move ourselves in the forward direction. But we have to recognize the forward direction, we have to confront ourselves, come to know ourselves.

So now, having concentrated on the object, the seed, we must turn to the subject, which is ourselves. The eternal question that stands before man in all ages and in all parts
of the world is this: "Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? "For centuries, all the seers, saints, sages, prophets and philosophers have been pondering this one question. Circumstances have changed, but the question has not changed. Civilization has been going through many stages and great turmoil, but this question remains standing before each and all of us, like a mountain. For this question, there is no purely verbal answer. If there were, we would have a beautiful statement and we would not have to keep searching. The secret is that we have to go deeper than mind or words. Those who have seen, become silent. For the answer, there is no vocabulary, no verbal expression. We find it in the silence of meditation.

Friends, the universe wants something from you. You have your place in this cosmos. You are significant. Each day you are adding something to the world --- your thoughts, your emotions, your words, your actions. The same light that was in the enlightened masters and great teachers is in you. The same spark, the same flame is there, only they used it to their full capacity. I believe that you will not find out who you are without meditation. I do not mean any one specific form of meditation, for according to the Jain principle of relativity, different meditations open different doors to reality as realized during certain epochs and in certain places. However, meditation is that which leads us from the small self, the ego, to the large Self. Ego is perverted power. We need the love and the light of the larger Self that reaches out to all mankind, to all living beings. With this light and love we grow the fruit we were meant to bear and are capable of bearing, as our gift to the world.

Constantly we need to keep in mind the immortal question of who we are, for at various stages of life our purpose may be different. At one stage it may be to grow alone; at another it may be to raise a family. All levels and varieties of human effort and contribution are necessary to consume karmas --- bearing children, raising them, letting them go; studying art, composing music; or perhaps deciding, as Albert Schweitzer did, that music is not enough, and going on to establish a hospital in Africa. We may leave the world for an hour a day, or for ten years, and then return. Having learned who we are, we are ready to give all we feel by making our contribution to building the earth.

Only you can decide on your focus. You may change your mission, or retire from one and go into another one more satisfying. Do not think about age. Some of you will find your goal earlier, and some later. Only not to find it at all is the tragedy! It is the intensity of experience that matters, not the length of time. Moments can often be more enlightening than years. But each of you is here to nurture the seed of divinity within yourself.

Now let us glide into meditation, and enter the divinity within.... We are one whole, one with the seas and the stars, one with life.... Let us meditate and find the bliss of being part of the whole, the full inspiration of our receiving and giving....

Let us enter meditation by first concentrating on the thought, "The whole tree is in the heart of the tiny seed."


  1. When the shell of the ego is cast off by entering deep within the self, the spirit will shine forth with dazzling brilliance.
  2. "Since we receive more than any other form of life on the planet, we should strive to give more." -Mahavir
  3. As unique individuals each of us must commit himself to living as a source of light and love.

Title: Ten Days Journey Into The Self
Compiled by: Elizabeth Cattell
Publisher: Jain Meditation International Center, New York

1. Edition 1974
2. Edition 1978
3. Edition 1998
5. Edition 2002


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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Abstract Thinking
  2. Albert Schweitzer
  3. Concentration
  4. Greed
  5. Karmas
  6. Mahavir
  7. Mantra
  8. Meditation
  9. Soul
  10. Violence
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