It’s easy to become a little overwhelmed by the amount of information now available about meditation and our classes try to simply focus on the essentials. The saying “you have to bite the apple, not discuss it” is a useful reminder that everything we need to know about meditation is already inside us and will simply emerge out of our practice. In Sri Chinmoy’s lovely words, “Your mind has a flood of questions. Who will answer them? Your silence-loving heart.”
Q: Why do we meditate?
Sri Chinmoy: “Why do we meditate? We meditate because this world of ours has not been able to fulfil us. The so-called peace that we feel in our day-to-day life is five minutes of peace after ten hours of anxiety, worry and frustration. We are constantly at the mercy of the negative forces that are all around us: jealousy, fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and despair. These forces are like monkeys. When they get tired of biting us and take rest for a few minutes, then we say that we are enjoying peace. But this is not real peace at all, and the next moment they will attack us again.”
Meditation is the art of silencing the mind and raising our consciousness to a more exalted state.
When we meditate we connect to the part of our self that is free of turmoil, worries and fears.
“When you meditate, what you actually do is to enter into a calm or still, silent mind. We have to be fully aware of the arrival and attack of thoughts. That is to say, we shall not allow any thought, divine or undivine, good or bad, to enter into our mind. Our mind should be absolutely silent. Then we have to go deep within; there we have to observe our real existence.“
Sri Chinmoy explains some of the basics of meditation. Useful for beginners.
An increasing number of people are taking up meditation to help deal with practical life problems.
- Better relaxation
- Stress Relief
- Better Health
- Improved Concentration.
- Overcoming addictions and bad habits
Meditation can give us these benefits and also more. Through practising meditation, we can learn to have a clearer sense of self and who we really are. Meditation can become part of a lifelong spiritual journey.
Questions and Answers on Meditation
What are the benefits of meditation?
- Ability to relax mind and body
- Better concentration
- Detachment from small worries / anxieties
- Peace of Mind.
- A better understanding of who you are and what you wish to achieve
How long should you meditate for?
It depends on your level of experience. A beginner should try to meditate for 10-15 minutes. Over time you can lengthen this period. The important thing is to be focused on meditation. If you try to meditate too long – beyond your capacity, the mind will rebel. Meditate for as long as you can do so productively.
How do I stop thoughts that come and disturb our meditation?
This is the real test of meditation. It will not come overnight, but, with practice. There are different tecniques you can try:
- Meditate on the spiritual heart
- Use of mantra or music
- Breathing exercises which focus the mind on a very simple but particular exercise.
- Feel yourself is separate to your thoughts. Feel that the real I can decide whether to pursue or reject thoughts.
What do I need to meditate?
- Very little. Basically, you just need yourself. However, your meditation will be helped if:
- You meditate in a quiet corner of your room, you keep just for meditation
- It is helpful to meditate after showering
- It is not recommended to meditate after eating a heavy meal.
- It is recommended to meditate with a straight back. Sitting in a chair is fine.
What is the best time to meditate?
The best time is whenever you will be undisturbed and you will be fully focused on your meditation. Meditating at the same time every day helps.
Early in the morning is a very good time because the atmosphere is quiet and conducive to meditation. It is said the best time for meditation is 3am in the morning. But if you think you might be a bit sleepy at that time, try 6am or 6.30am. Evening meditation is also very good.
The classic book on meditation.