Frequently Asked Questions on Meditation
Sep 30, 2013 10:39PM
By Jogyata Dallas
Sri Chinmoy, Spiritual Master
Why meditate…what is the purpose?
Most of our efforts at happiness and the usual solutions to our unhappiness rely upon external things that are unreliable and changeable—like better jobs, new relationships, material things, travel plans and so forth. But simply changing one set of circumstances for another does not solve our anxieties or loneliness or discontent, for these originate within ourselves and will never be satisfied by the ephemeral things of the world.
Meditation is an inner search for happiness and gradually brings about a desireless contentment that has nothing to do with where you are, who you are with, what you own; it is an inner achievement, the reconnecting to our deeper spiritual nature that many of us have forgotten even exists. With practice, meditation will bring about an inner peace, a life free of stress and anxiety.
What are some of the practical benefits?
They are numerous and often emerge even after a short period of sincere practice. They also cover a range of positives, from the physical to the spiritual. At the physical level you can expect to sleep better as you gradually eliminate stress and negative thought. And because our physical health is so connected to thoughts and mind, increasing our sense of calm brings about a renewed vitality and life energy.
You’ll laugh more, become more heart centered and intuitive, and feel happier. You will slowly develop what is really an inner poise, a growing calm in the face of life’s endless challenges. As our practice deepens, the benefits flow out into all of life.
At the highest level, meditation reconnects us with our deepest potentials, unveils the great mystery of who we really are—enlightenment or self-realization becomes increasingly real to us as we glimpse and feel the great joy and freedom of our souls.
How does a beginner get started?
Start with a modest and achievable goal of simply creating a space in your life, perhaps ten minutes in the morning, to practice one or two simple exercises in stilling the mind. Take it one week at a time. Set an initial goal of sitting once a day for seven days. Attend a workshop or go to some teacher or group to get properly started and inspired.
Create in your room a special place, a shrine with a flower and candle, as a focal point. Incense helps to add atmosphere and inspiration. Work with exercises to quiet your thoughts: breathing techniques, visualizations, mantras, and don’t have expectations or evaluate your progress. Each effort is progress, and the wanderings and restlessness in the mind will gradually subside.
How do we know what form of meditation is best for us?
You won’t at first, but as your practice progresses you will start to zero in on the methods most suited to your nature. There are many ways to meditate but most share in common the effort to still the mind; eventually the different paths all converge at the top of the mountain—reach the same goal.
One of the secrets of meditation is that all sincere effort seems to attract what I can only call grace—all the difficulties melt away, our path finds us, the universe shows us our way forward simply through our willingness to try.
Another secret of meditation is that this ability is already inside us – we are not learning how to be peaceful but remembering! Practice is simply creating the time and space out of which this knowledge can emerge. Our spirituality is the most natural and wonderful of our gifts and simply needs to be awakened – it has been neglected and eclipsed by our busy outer lives yet remains the greatest determining factor in the quality of all our life experience. Everything begins within!
"Do you need happiness?
Then do just three things:
Love untiringly."~ Sri Chinmoy
Jogyata Dallas has taught meditation for 27 years and is the author of several books on the subject and his encounters and experiences with spiritual Master Sri Chinmoy. See ad right.