Very few of the people who practice (on their own hand) some kind of meditation and try to be on the Path of Enlightenment, actually knows that there are levels in the process of meditation.
But there are, and they are very important since meditation is a progressive, an ongoing process. So when you start walking onto the Path of Enlightenment you should know that the Path is basically constructed from two successive and very different states of consciousness that you should become aware of, understand and properly use them so you can finally Become.
When one wants to achieve full consciousness of being who he really is, first he must start by learning the art of effortless concentration, than achieve effortless contemplation and then comes the existence of the Self in a meditative state.
Concentration and contemplation are the two basic states of awareness that one must learn to attain so he can live his life at its fullest. In some theories the meditative state is considered as a third level of the whole practice, but by my experience, meditation as a process envelops these two particular states of consciousness and all the techniques and the way of living necessary of achieving them. Meditation is the way, not the aim!
Now let see what is effortless concentration? It is a state of the mind when you are able to concentrate or fix your maximal attention towards an object of focus with minimal effort of the brain.
Most of the people think that only this stage of the whole process of meditation is the meditation they should be doing. Concentration is the ability of directing your thoughts upon only one single thing and during this process you don’t let any other object to be a center of your attention.
Thus the brain is instructed not to think of anything else but the object of concentration. This process of focusing ones consciousness upon a sole object is also known as one–pointed concentration. But remember this is not an aggressive looking into something and trying to dissolve it.
No, this is pure, relaxed concentration that comes straight from the heart, from the Soul and you wait for the object to start speaking to you.
For this to occur you have to level up your Self on the same frequency as your chosen object. Thus concentration is practicing your will-power. When you concentrate upon something you shouldn’t get a headache, but if you do than you’ll know that you have started to use your brain instead of your hearth.
So when you know how to concentrate with your hearth, then this concentration is effortlessly done, with no doubts, no fear of the result, and you can stay focused as long as you want.
When you have attained effortless concentration you enter the beautiful state of Silence in which you are starting to evolve towards the state of contemplation. Contemplation is that state of your consciousness which helps you attain the knowledge of deep-insight of all that happens to you in this very moment.
Contemplation is all about the present moment. When you are in a state of contemplation past doesn’t exist and future either, all you have is now. It is not even the present as a definition of time, but actually all your awareness is leveled with the present moment, the now!
So contemplation is the state of consciousness when you are fully present of the now, very aware of everything that is happening to you and you do not take anything into consideration. In this state you don’t concentrate upon anything, you just observe your Self and the world around you. And this is the main difference between concentration – which is one-pointed meditation and contemplation – which is meditation on the Oneness and on the Nothingness within and around you.
When we are in a state of contemplation we know that we are One and also that we are Nothing, we are timeless and infinite. In this state we are very much conscious about the eternal Absolute.
Here we discover our true Self. In concentration we observe, correct, activate the characteristics of our known Self one by one, but in contemplation we become aware of all the things we didn’t knew until then. Contemplation thus is the final level of meditation as a two-fold process.
When you practice concentration the whole human complex becomes like a peaceful surface of water, able to perfectly reflect the One Absolute Intelligence which at that exact moment starts flowing down upon us like a river of Light and brings us into the state of contemplation.
With a diligent practice and conscious way of living we become aware of the beautiful Presence of All and at the same time we attain the state of beautiful Absence of All. Only when one reaches this state he shall see and know the Light he is!
Remember that after being able to concentrate and contemplate, you are not finished, but now starts the real meditation, now you must become able to remain always into a state of Enlightenment. And keeping your Self into a balanced state is the hardest and the easiest thing to do…you must only know how to make balance between the earthly life and your spiritual life and all shall be well.