A deep meditation is one of the most peaceful and fulfilling of all possible experiences. Once we have learn how to find our way into that desireless inner stillness that is always there inside us, our life can never be the same. Here in the sanctuary of the heart, free of time and the burdens of the mind, everything is clear, everything is already done. Out of this silence comes wisdom, understanding and delight.
In many ways our teacher Sri Chinmoy taught us to take our practice of meditation out in to the everyday aspects of our life – karma yoga – and to sustain the meditative feeling as long as possible. Walking through a park, sitting on a bus, waiting for somebody, travelling to the next moments of our life, learning to string these moments of calm together as a necklace of day-long happiness moments.
A wave rider makes the effort to reach and finally catch the wave that will carry him ashore….the student of meditation also strives in his practice and eventually his own slow awakening grows into a wave of spirit that sweeps him beyond thought and technique. He finds and rides the forgotten ocean of joy that has always been there inside him. This is why we need to commit to regular practice, the accumulation of all the tiny breakthrough moments; and to have patience and discipline, to find and catch the rising wave.
At first, the experience of meditation itself relies upon environment and some combination of time, place and correct technique. But then it goes beyond these needs. We begin to realise that while our increasing moments of ‘success’ have been possible through some combination of factors – a workshop we attended, group practice, a new exercise we tried or inspiring music – in reality they merely reconnected us with our deeper self, and that ‘self’ is always there inside us, where ever we are.
Sri Chinmoy, like the many great teachers before him, wanted us to understand our own capacity to uplift and serve the world, reminding us that ‘every human being is a very special dream of God’. And that meditation will take us past our identification with our body, thoughts, personality to a deeper understanding of our ultimately God-like nature. The space in our lives where we put aside the burdens and preoccupations of the day’s dramas, silence our thoughts, venture past the many attachments and distractions of the mind to a growing stillness, this space allows us to rediscover the very source of all our creative, intuitive, spiritual capacities. The closer we move towards this ‘intelligence of silence’, our ‘inner pilot’, the more perfect our outer lives become.
Meditation comes easily today, sitting on the grass in a park in Auckland under a wide blue summer sky, a sky of such startling clarity and endless transparency as to illumine things and gather close the silhouettes of far-off, familiar mountains. There is this lovely sense of stepping outside of the story of one’s life into a state of just ‘being’, at rest in the here and now, a lovely inner space of pure consciousness. Over in the western corner of the park the tai-chi practitioners are also touching the lives of passers-by and strollers, their calm and gentle movements reminding of other realities beyond the ordinary. And I remember Sri Chinmoy’s words, reminding us that we co-create this world and that “Just one smile from my gratitude heart immensely increases the beauty of the universe”.
Sri Chinmoy was very inventive and very practical in training us. In response to the common lament that it is hard to be meditative and spiritual in the ‘ordinariness’ of daily life, he once conducted the following exercise. He would tell a joke, at which we would all smile and laugh – then he asked us to immediately go up into our highest meditative consciousness. After some minutes, he again told another joke, and again we were all invited to laugh, to ‘come down’. Following this second joke we were instructed to once more ‘go into our highest’! And then another joke, then back down into the mind, the world, the commonplace, followed by another effort to soar up into the soul, the silence, the eternal.
This happened seven times – seven jokes and seven consecutive meditations, up, down, up, down….. We were learning to go from our everyday consciousness into the inner world of meditation – very quickly – and being shown that these two worlds are only one world, a thin veil apart. We were running up and down the ladder of consciousness, from mind to soul to mind to soul, being shown that inner peace, stillness, soulfulness are quickly accessible through practice and intent, that meditation can be found and practiced anywhere. All of our life is our spiritual life and through proper understanding and practice we can consciously part the veil, bring mindfulness and spirit to each passing moment, stay close to the Self while living in this challenging and changing world.
True we cannot live without taking a breath; it is an integral part of
our natural being. Controlling the breath gives life to the human voice
or holding the breath can help support us to lift heavy objects. We use
the breath in so many ways. Breath is powerful.
When it comes to discovering the most profound aspects of human life; like “Who am I?” then use the power of the breath to expedite the
I have my meditation to gain access to the inner reality and the breath to help me dive deep. There is no push or pull when it comes to meditation, rather a letting go on the wings of the breath. The breath gently transports me in silent rhythmic waves to a deeper reality. The feeling is both expansive and energising while experiencing an infinity joy and peace.
Editor’s Note: Niryana has been practising meditation for over 20 years as a student of Sri Chinmoy. He works in the IT department of a large telecommunications company.
Millions of people are searching for inner peace. Despite the advances of technology, the basic human longing for fulfilment remains. Even though the modern Westerner can afford to live in palatial splendour compared to the rustic days of the past, there is still great hunger for something more. Our bellies may be full, but our spirits cry out for nourishment. Our minds have access to an endless sea of information, but our hearts thirst for the eternal Truth. We have everything we want, but not the very thing that we need. As Sri Chinmoy once said, “this world of ours has everything save and except peace”.
Meditation provides the answer to our search for peace. This is not the peace of self-annihilation or escape from the world. This is the peace which allows one to live in the world and for the world, while remaining unshaken by its volatility and uncertainty. Meditation can tell us who we are and why we are here. According to meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy, we reach a state of inner peace when we become less self-centred and more in tune with the greater reality of which we are only a small part. He says:
As one of humanity’s leading peace visionaries, Sri Chinmoy showed in his own life how it is possible to live a life full of peace when you feel truly at one with those around you. Peace is within the grasp of every person, and our own meditation can show us the way.
Recently I became inspired from reading a new book: “Rabindranath Tagore: The Moon of Bengal’s Heart.” This book was released August 2011 for Sri Chinmoy’s 80th Birth Anniversary and coincided with Tagore’s 150th Birth Anniversary year. As a student of Sri Chinmoy, we would often meet great and good people from all walks of life and through Sri Chinmoy’s love for them, we would get to know of and love them also. Although I obviously never met this great Bengali poet and song-writer, Sri Chinmoy spoke of his tremendous love and admiration of Tagore and he himself listened to Bengali vocalists singing songs by Tagore almost daily.
On Sri Chinmoy’s path I am fortunate to be in “Gandharva Loka” – a wonderful international orchestra with many varied instrumental musicians – as part of the accompanying choir. This August whilst performing in New York, we honoured this love-connection between Sri Chinmoy and Tagore’s souls and their respective birth anniversaries by performing songs by Sri Chinmoy about Tagore and also joining a talented and soulful Bengali singer to sing a few of Tagore’s own compositions. I had such a beautiful meditative experience whilst singing these songs. The feeling arising from bringing forth this music was very deep and soulful.
Once home in Auckland again, I continued reading Sri Chinmoy’s new book which is a collection of his talks and writings about Tagore and finding new inspiration and love for this extraordinary soul. The Auckland Sri Chinmoy Centre shortly upon everyone’s return home, set off on one of our “Joy Weekends” where we gather together in nature to enjoy a weekend of spiritual inspiration through singing, meditating together, good food, sports/running, joy and laughter and putting on spiritual plays. I found myself inspired by a short story of Tagore as a young boy from Sri Chinmoy’s book and put this together as a play for the weekend away. Such a sweet and touching story was Sri Chinmoy’s reflections on Tagore’s talent at even a tender age. We ended our play by inviting all our friends to join us in singing a beautiful song of Tagore’s “Ananda Loke” – meaning The Abode of Delight.
I find on Sri Chinmoy’s Path of meditation and spiritual fulfilment that I often find myself doing all kinds of varied things out of the norm. Two months ago I knew very little of Tagore and now through a collection of Sri Chinmoy’s reflections and tributes to this great soul in India’s music and poetry heritage, I find myself once again inspired in a new way… and eager to discover what will come along next in my spiritual life of finding happiness, joy and delight from within my true Self.
So its morning, an average workday, and you’re up and wide awake and contemplating breakfast. But today let’s step out of the normal routine a little and try something different. You’ve probably had moments in your life when you’ve felt inwardly happy for no apparent reason, or suddenly peaceful and unburdened by the usual preoccupations and stresses – now you’re going to try to relive those moments consciously.
Sit in a chair, your back reasonably straight, and focus your eyes on a nearby candle, a flower or something attractive. If you prefer, close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath at the very tip of the nose – only the breath exists. The mind is a river flowing – daydreams, thoughts, desires – but now you are only an observer, undisturbed by the ceaseless energies of the mind, the flowing river. Feel that you already have a place, a space inside you where stillness and silence and peacefulness are natural, like the bottom of the ocean or a tranquil inner garden. Someone once described meditation as ‘swallowing the sky’ and this is also a useful image, drawing in with each inflowing breath its vastness and calm.
Now breathe in the feeling or quality of peace for a few minutes, drawing its calm into every part of the being like a pure white light. Then the quality of stillness – breath, mind, body as still as possible. See how deeply into that inner stillness you can go. And finally breathe in the feeling or quality of happiness. At first we use our imagination – but imagination slowly becomes reality, you can consciously feel these qualities growing inside you.
Incense helps to create a meditative space in your home – and simple meditative music also helps. Since meditation simply reconnects us with the forgotten spiritual part of our nature, the quietness within once the mind is switched off, the learning is more about emptying the mind than filling the mind with theory and ideas. Your own soul will become your best teacher – the knowledge of it is already inside you!
There are many methods and techniques in meditation, but they all lead us to the same destination, like paths up a mountain that converge at the same summit. Your sincerity in practicing regularly is the one secret that will help you to find your way. The various Sri Chinmoy Centres in Auckland and around New Zealand offer excellent free introductory meditation courses year round, and share their love of meditation with seekers from beginners to advanced levels.
Deadlines, budgets, demanding clients and just too little time to complete the million tasks that I had on my ‘to do’ list had turned me into a basket case one Wednesday. I just couldn’t escape from one particular problem. Whenever I noticed I realised that it was crowding in on me – how an earth could I finish this project this week. Driving home from work I couldn’t face going to our regular Wednesday night meditation at the Sri Chinmoy Centre. I was just too tired. Maybe just this once I would stay at home and have a night off.
But when I got home something deeper in me would not allow me to give in to the tiredness and I forced myself to go to our Centre to meditate. Two hours later not only did I feel better but I couldn’t even remember what I had been doing at work. A deep inner beauty, simplicity and tranquility had permeated my whole consciousness, completely washing away all the darkness, stress and tiredness. Love and joy had replaced the anxiety, fear and frustration that a few hours before I had been almost overwhelmed by. I went home a different person, feeling so grateful that even though I sometimes have to make forays into the world of worry and anxiety I could return to this real world where everything is just so different. For me this is the real miracle of the spiritual life.