Meditation Guide


Just as it is necessary to release the tensions in the muscles, it is also essential to release the tensions in the mind. Usually, mental tension is caused by preoccupations about the past or desires for the future. If we would live completely in the here and now, it would be very easy to stay relaxed and happy. Meditation helps bring us into this state, but we must relax, at least partially, before we can begin to meditate effectively.

"How to Meditate", Jyotish Novak

Sitting still might seem easy, but it actually makes a tremendous demand on the body and mind. Most of the time our bodies are in motion, so much so, we hardly notice it. But once we stop moving, it can be very hard to maintain stillness. Allow for the fact that it takes time, each time you meditate, to go from motion to stillness, from outwardness to inwardness. This is true on every level of our being. Every moment of our lives we are usually active, unless we are asleep, and even then there is a certain level of movement of the body and mind. Meditation is being, not doing. Think of a lake, turbulent on the surface, but the depths are still and calm. To get to the depths you must dive through the restless surface.

An important rule in life is: Don't be impatient. This rule is doubly important for meditation, for whereas the general stricture against impatience gives hope of finding inner peace in meditation, that hope is demolished if one applies to meditation itself attitudes that we've developed in the "rat race." To find God, it is better to be a long-distance runner than a sprinter. Today's meditative efforts will have to be renewed tomorrow, and again the day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on for as long as it takes to achieve the consciousness of the Eternal Now.

Don't let your approach to meditation be so achievement-oriented that you end up mentally tense. Yogananda, noting my own tendency toward impatience, once said to me, "The principle of karma yoga applies to meditative action also. Meditate to please God. Don't meditate with desire for the fruits of your meditations. It is best, in the beginning, to emphasize relaxation."

The more you seek rest as the consequence of doing, rather than in the process of doing, the more restless you will become. Peace isn't waiting for you over the next hill. Nor is it something you construct, like a building. It must be a part of the creative process itself.

Learn to be restful, even in the midst of activity, and you will be able to relax better when you sit to meditate. As Paramhansa Yogananda put it, "Be calmly active, and actively calm."

From: "Awaken to Superconsciousness", by J. Donald Walters

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