3 fun mental-models for deeper meditations !

Aditya Barrela
5 min readApr 11, 2020

Many experienced mediators often seek to dive deeper within to find the pearls of peace, wisdom, poise, etc. Many new meditators simply aspire for inspire peace and a balanced state of mind. As a daily meditator of Heartfulness for over 4 years (1200+hours), I can testify that there is indeed an infinite peace and joy within our hearts waiting to be discovered. I sincerely hope that this article inspires aspiring meditators to meditate and experienced meditators to meditate deeper!

I developed these 3 mental models from my own readings, practice, and reflections. Some of the insights are from many wonderful mentors of mine for whom I’m very grateful. Ofcourse the interpretations can vary and I hope you take them in the right stride.

1. “Deal with thoughts as you would do with stray dogs”

If you are from the developed world, this analogy might be hard to relate to. Nevertheless , it’s quite easy to understand. This mental model is critical in discerning between meditation and concentration. Meditation leads to the development of a naturally concentrated mind but doesn’t involve concentration.

Most people find it difficult to meditate precisely because they put in efforts to control thoughts – even fight them. The resulting pressure from all of the concentration gives us a head ache – gets a piece out of our mind instead of giving peace of mind!

In the book Designing Destiny, Daaji (Kamlesh Patel) depicts an effort-focus matrix elucidating that meditation is an act of “effortless focus”.

So, how to deal with stray dogs barking loudly at us? Try and fight them? too dangerous. Try and control them? who are you kidding? Try to run? they will certainly follow? In India we are taught to ignore them, with courage, without reacting, and simply move on!!!

This is what we need to do with thoughts as they arise in our meditations – ignore them and remind ourselves of the object of our meditation (In Heartfulness it’s the love and light in our hearts). Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur (fondly known as Babuji) founding teacher of Heartfulness Meditation advised that we treat thoughts as uninvited guests.

2. Be like a “Cat waiting for a rat”.

This is a particularly funny one yet with a profound subtlety to it. This too was a quote of Babuji (Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur). And firstly, I’m not suggesting that like a cat we are aggressive and have expectations of some reward when we meditate – both of these can be hindrances. When we meditate we must have an attitude of “waiting attentively” with a lot of patience just like a cat in anticipation of its food! We cannot demand or predict the outcome of any meditation to a certain time – the state of blissful oneness with our source can dawn at any moment or even take multiple meditations or years to fully manifest. At the same time we have to be attentive – fully alert to what may happen! This explains why setting a meditation timer does more damage than good – you might end the meditation too early and fail to enjoy the full potency of a meditation.

3. Alexander and his famous stallion, Bucephalus.

This one is probably fictitious and it’s more of an inspiration than fun. You might know this story already, as Bucephalus till date is one of the most famous horses of antiquity. Bucephalus was loved by Alexander that he even named a city after it: Bucephalus.

Well, as the story goes, Alexander the Great as a young boy of only 16 participated in the contest of taming a wild horse. This particular wild horse which was bought in threw away and beat down many of the greatest soldiers in his fathers army. So the young and seemingly naive Alexander, against his mothers will (mothers!), jumps in and tries his hand at taming this wild and majestic beast. Instead of adopting the usual strategies of over-powering the horse or luring the beast with food, both of which have been tried and failed, Alexander does something totally unexpected.

He observes the horse and notices that the horse is in fear deducing that it is afraid of its own shadow and also has a lot of energy.

So he simply turns it towards the sun making its shadow disappear and runs along with it. He befriends it allowing it to come out of its fear.

So, what’s the parallel here? The horse Bucephalus, represents our mind: our greatest strength or a very real threat. Just like in the story, the mind has many fears (shadows) which usually arise from its past experiences or projections.

Like Alexander, instead of beating down or overpowering the mind, we need to observe it with patience, understand its needs, and be kind to ourselves. With a lot of love, if we can turn our mind towards the truth and the light (the sun). We can let go of the fears which burden us and experience that special love which elates us and frees us. Ofcourse, fear is not all bad as it keeps us cautious, nudged is towards the right path and prevents complacency.

Take-away insights:

1. During meditation, it’s natural and normal to get thoughts. Instead of fighting or following them, simply ignore them and remind yourself of your meditation.

2. With an attitude of love and surrender wait patiently and alertly in meditation completely free of expectations or fantasies. Be free and open to what might happen! Be in a state of wonderment – like a child!

3. Befriend your mind, it is your best friend, your Bucephalus, as your conquer your inner world. Instead of trying to overpower it, turn it away from its fears and towards love and light. To move forward there is no need to see our shadows.

Heartfulness meditation is aided with Yogic Transmission which allows you to experience profound states of expanded consciousness right from the get go. Try out the Heartfulness Masterclasses here for free : https://heartfulness.org/en/masterclass /

During this COVID19 lockdown, I’m also offering guided Heartfulness meditation sessions (they’re always free!) over Zoom everyday. Feel free to reach me at aditya.barrela@heartfulness.org

Happy meditating!



Aditya Barrela

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