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.

What the experts say…

“Your mind is like a mirror in which you see your face. When the mirror is dirty, you cannot see your face clearly. Similarly, when your mind is moving and impure, you cannot know who you really are. The purpose of meditation is to purify your mind and stop its modifications so that you may be aware of your own essential Being and be established in It.” (Chandra Swami Udasin)

“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)

“If you do practice, that is enough.  All that is required is that you control your mind.  You will get whatever is required if you just control your mind. Qualities that people think are important will themselves lead you astray. You will keep getting thoughts trying to check whether you have the right qualities instead of just meditating. You will keep getting doubts and you will not be able to do your practice….. If you do the meditation, automatically mistakes will be taken care of. You will have control of the mind.” (Sri Shivabalayogi)

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)