What Is Meditation?

Sri Chinmoy meditating

Meditation is a life-skill that has been practiced in various forms throughout the ages. It is something that most people will have experienced during their lives, albeit unconsciously, and especially during childhood when the mental faculties are still undeveloped. Have you ever had moments when your mind is quiet and a feeling of tranquility floods your being? Inner calm often springs from some outer catalyst – for instance, being in the beauty of nature or gazing into an open fire. There may be many other examples but during these moments, the worries and trivialities of life seem to dissolve into the background and we have a momentary experience of spontaneous inner-peace.

Unfortunately the strong currents of our lifestyles and attitudes often sweep us away and dictate that these peaceful experiences become random events that are not easily replicated. But a tranquil and calm meditative state can become a permanent reality in our lives and need not depend on outer stimulation or circumstances. For that to happen, we need to develop the ability to regularly and consciously still the mind and access the vast reservoir of clarity and poise that exists within the spiritual heart. This is most easily accomplished through the daily practice of meditation.

"Meditation simplifies our outer life and energises our inner life. Meditation gives us a natural and spontaneous life, a life that becomes so natural and spontaneous that we cannot breathe without being conscious of our own divinity." – Sri Chinmoy. (source)

The Benefits Of Meditation

Meditation has numerous positive benefits. Often we suffer from the negative patterns in our thinking. The mind is not necessarily a bad thing but very often we misuse it and develop a negative mental culture. This in turn attracts adverse situations to our lives that can sometimes cause confusion and even physical illness. Yet, if we can learn to still the mind and tap into the deeper resources that are available within each of us, we can bring forward our abundant positive qualities: peace, joy, light, confidence, love, compassion, selflessness, creativity and so forth. With the regular practice of meditation, we learn to retrain the mind and bring light into our system from within the spiritual heart. Some of the many benefits of meditation include:

  • Less mental tension and improved relaxation.
  • Better health and general wellbeing.
  • Improved clarity and concentration.
  • An increased confidence in our abilities, creativity and decision making.
  • Improved relationships with others – generally we become more patient, loving, accepting and kind.
  • An increased awareness and understanding of our spirituality and that of others.
  • A heightened appreciation for our lives and the world around us.
  • More joy, happiness, love and peace in our lives.

There are no negative aspects to meditation provided that the individual finds a way to meditate that suits their needs. Then we can progress with our meditation in a natural and spontaneous way that makes us feel safe and confident that what we are doing is good for us and is bringing peace and joy into our lives. The best way to accomplish this is to practice at keeping the mind as still as possible and to place ones focus on the safe haven that is the spiritual heart.

"First we have to enter into the heart and see the difference between the heart's capacity and the mind's capacity. It is we who have to differentiate between the two. It is we who have to see the capacity and the quality of the heart and the capacity and the quality of the mind. [...] The heart has limitless capacity on the strength of its oneness with the soul." – Sri Chinmoy. (source)

Do you want to be happy?
Then do not overestimate
The power of your mind,
And do not underestimate
The light of your heart.
    – Sri Chinmoy. (source)

Self Improvement Equals World Improvement

Sri Chinmoy prayerfully meditating

A happier and more peaceful world is something that most people long for in some way or another. Most of us find that it is difficult, if not impossible, to improve the world around us, but we can easily improve ourselves by bringing our innate divine qualities to the fore. By developing the capacity to meditate, we learn to silence the limited mind and access the unlimited resource that abides within the spiritual heart. In doing so, we find that the world around us has changed because our capacities and perceptions have been transformed through the process of personal effort and inner awakening. In Sri Chinmoy's words,

"Lasting peace must begin within the depths of the individual and from there spread in ever-widening circles as a dynamic force for world change." (source)

Do you want to change the world?
Then change yourself first.
Do you want to change yourself?
If so, remain completely silent
Inside the silence-sea. (source)

A River Flowing To The Ocean

Meditation is very much like a river that is flowing and flowing. When we enter the river, its current carries us to the ocean – the vast ocean of inner peace in this context. Words can only take us so far. To truly know how meditation can benefit us, we have to begin our meditation journey by practicing some simple techniques for a few minutes each day. Please feel free to explore our upcoming free meditation classes or to contact us if you are interested in having classes in your area.

Flowing River

The waters
Of my heart-river
Are all peace.
    – Sri Chinmoy. (source)

The life-river enters
The ocean of peace and bliss
At an unknown hour.
    – Sri Chinmoy. (source)

O vast ocean of peace,
In you I see all perfection,
For your infinite expanse
Easily engulfs
All my imperfections and limitations
Inside the silence-sea.
    – Sri Chinmoy. (source)

Talks By Sri Chinmoy

During his lifetime Sri Chinmoy offered hundreds of illumining talks which were often recorded and published in book form. In the recordings below, Sri Chinmoy talks about the related topics of meditation and spirituality.

Talk on meditation.

Sri Chinmoy speaks about meditation during his 1989 Peace Concert at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, as part of the Silver Jubilee marking his 25th anniversary in America (April 13, 1964).

What is spirituality?

This is an excerpt from a series of fifty concerts that Sri Chinmoy offered in 1995 to honour the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.