I don't exactly remember how I got the idea of meditation. I had never heard of it growing up in India. I was born in a heavily ritualistic family and had the concept of not just one God, but many.
Anyhow, there came a point in my life when I could not believe anymore that there was a creator who rewards one and punishes one. Mostly the inequality in life was not making sense - why people are born in different conditions, why they have different desires and why there is good and bad. I thought if someone really had the power of creation, how could they allow bad to be created. Either they did not have the power to stop bad from happening, in that case, how can they be almighty OR they had the power and have created both good and bad.
Well, I looked for answers in various religious texts and could not find it. Now, it is interesting that the question was so important to me that I was spending all my free time on it. I still do and this also amazes me as to why I have this particular interest and not something else. Again, I have not yet reached the answer. Nonetheless, I came across some reference to meditation and figured that might lead me to answers. I found a teacher who was providing basic instructions and I started to meditate.
Initially, my idea was that I just need to focus my mind and somehow, magically, all answers will appear. My initial instructions were to focus on a mantra and try to get into "spaces" between thoughts. Basically, focus your mind on the mantra which will stop the influx of thoughts and slowly there would be spaces between thoughts and these spaces were supposed to be the glimpse of self or God. I did master the concentration and focus process, it took some good six months and I could get myself focused in no time and witness the so called "space".
So, what happened after then? Did I achieve nirvana in my newly found space? NO. I did not.
Actually, the reverse started happening. My brain's normal functioning was breaking down and it was going into la-la land, not good for a single person who needs to go to work to pay bills. I stopped meditating and tried to pursue other interests. But my programming, configuration of this machine that I call me, could not stay away from the question. It was still looming. So, what happened then? I will continue in part II...