What is meditation?

“In the still mind, in the depths of meditation, the Self reveals itself” (Bhagavad Gita, Chap. 6:20)

“Be still and know that I am God” (Bible, Psalm 46:10)

These well-known quotations identify both the process and the objective of meditation – stilling the mind in order to experience our inherent Divinity. The everyday mind is a whirlpool of fleeting thoughts and sensations which dissipate our energies and create a veil that obscures the Reality within each and every one of us. In meditation, we gently seek to quieten and focus the thought processes thereby allowing our spiritual essence to manifest.

Meditation is Yoga (Raja or Dhyana Yoga), a systematic spiritual discipline leading to Self-Realisation. However, it also helps to harmonise our life at the mundane level, bringing peace and equanimity within the turbulence of worldly existence as well as improved health and the reduction of stress.

Despite its Eastern connotations, the path of meditation is not exclusive to any one creed, culture or philosophy: its principles are as much apparent in Christian contemplation as in Hindu dhyana or Buddhist Zen, and can beneficially be practised by followers of any religion or none. The sole criterion is a sincere desire for self-knowledge and spiritual progress.

Meditation requires self-discipline and commitment and is not an easy path. Many who try it find that they are not suited, although the effort is always beneficial and may bear fruit later. But for those who persist, meditation will bring about a total self-transformation – into an expanded consciousness and a new level of inner harmony and joy.

Click here to read three articles that introduce various aspects and approaches to meditation as a spiritual discipline.

A selection of books recommended for introductory reading can be found by clicking here.

“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within, by controlling nature external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy – by one or more or all of these – and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details” (Swami Vivekananda)

“Your own Self-realisation is the most important service you can render to the world” (Sri Ramana Maharshi)