Many people may have had glimpses of meditation unconsciously. For example
whilst walking through nature and being awed by its beauty and magnitude. Others
may have been moved by sublime music. At such moments our mind becomes still and
we feel a sense there is something greater beyond our usual perceptions. As
mysteriously as it came, such experiences may leave, giving only a fleeting
glimpse of a feeling that is hard to describe. Meditation is an attempt to make
such experiences permanent and also deepen and expand our own consciousness.
People may take up meditation for a variety of reasons which could just be
curiosity, a desire for more relaxation, peace of mind, or help in sleeping.
Others may take to meditation from a feeling of disenchantment with the outer
life. If practised with sincerity and regularity, meditation can give us
relaxation and peace of mind but it can also offer more than we ever expected.
Through meditation we can expedite our soul’s inner journey and we can become
more aware of our own spiritual dimension.
"Meditation is absolutely necessary for those who want to have a better and more
fulfilling life. If you feel that you are satisfied with what you have and what
you are then you need not enter into the field of meditation. But if you feel
that there is a barren desert deep inside your heart, then meditation is the
answer. Meditation will give you inner joy and peace of mind."
- Sri Chinmoy
To begin meditation we need to learn the art of concentration. Here
concentration is different to mental concentration. Concentration for meditation
means the ability to be aware of only one thing at a time. We need to keep the
mind one pointed and focused only on our meditation exercise. If you try sitting
still for 5 minutes and observe your own thoughts you will realise how difficult
this is at first. However spiritual teachers who have mastered the art of
meditation have offered a variety of techniques to help control the mind. If
practised these can change the inherent tendency of the mind to wander and we
can enter to silent meditation.
Meditation has significant benefits, these do not materialise in one or two
sessions, they are slowly accumulated over time as we deepen our own meditation
practise. These benefits will include a more focused and calm mind, greater
dynamism and better sleep. In addition we will find ourselves less worried by
minor irritants because we can more easily detach ourselves from these negative
Some people associate meditation with the Kundalini energies, and psychic
powers, however these are really like diversions on the path. The real goal of
meditation is peace of mind and positive changes to our inner life.
To start meditation is very easy. Just take 5 or 10 minutes somewhere quiet.
Begin by focusing on your breathing and let your thoughts drift away, if
thoughts come pay no attention to them. Next try to feel yourself diving deep
within away from the mind. If you like you can visualise a beautiful garden or
vast ocean. Then for 10 minutes try to hold this awareness with one pointed
concentration. If external noises come do not let them distract you, they will
always be there. Just concentrate on your breathing. Even if this first
experience is not fruitful keep persevering for with each try we will be able to
add to our capacity and gradually learn the art of meditation.
About the Author: By Richard
Pettinger. Richard is a member of the Sri Chinmoy centre in Oxford.