By SWAMI KRIYANANDA
I began meditating 52 years ago. Since then i haven't, to the best to my recollection, missed a single day of practice. No stern-minded self discipline was needed to keep me regularly at it. Meditation is simple the most meaningful activity in my life. I wonder how people live without it.
Meditation gives meaning to everything one does. The Bhagavad Gita says" To the peace-less person, how is happiness possible?" Inner peace is like Lubricating oil: It enables the machinery of our lives to function smoothly. Without mental peace, our emotions and the various demands placed upon us in our lives grind together and create inner stress, leading eventually to a physical or nervous breakdown.
Psychometric studies have shown that meditation produces a healthy ego, that it expands a person's world view and enables people to cope better with the stresses of life. Meditators, in addition, have shown significant gains in overcoming depression, neurotic behaviour, and feelings of social inadequacy.
Meditation develops concentration, so essential for success in every activity. Often I have found, by meditation- induced concentration, that I can accomplish in an afternoon what others have taken days or even weeks to complete. In three days, some years ago, I wrote melodies for eighteen of Shakespeare's lyrics in single day.
Inspiration, which many highly creative people consider out of their hands, can be summoned at will by one- pointed concentration, and by magnetising the flow of thoughts and ideas in meditation. Physical fatigue can be banished also, by putting ourselves in tune with inner abundance, flowing to us from infinity. The deeper this attunement through meditation, the greater the abundance we experience in every aspect of our lives.
It was from great master of yoga, Paramhansa Yogananda, that I learned the art and science of meditation. I read his Autobiography of a Yogi in 1948, and was so moved that I took the next bus from New York to Los Angeles, where he had his headquarters. The day I met him, he accepted me as a disciple, and I lived with him as a monk for the remaining three-and-a-half years of his life. i have been his disciple ever since.
The path of yoga that he taught was the ancient meditative path of raja yoga. The teachings of raja yoga are the best guide to meditation that I know. They are completely non-sectarian, and can be practised with equal effectiveness by anyone regardless of their religious affiliation. Their goal is super-conscious realisation: the realisation of who and what you are in your highest, spiritual reality. It is, as you can see, a very personal goal for each seeker.
They are for the beginner-meditator who wants an easy-to-follow, self-consistent system based on the practical experience of a great master. They are also ofr experienced meditators, to bring them to a deeper level in their Practice, and to offer them answers to problems they may have encountered in their practices.
Third, they are for people who are on a spiritual path but don't realise the importance of direct spiritual experience. As a Paramhansa Yogananda put it, " Meditation is to religion what the laboratory is realising it, seek a deeper meaning in life. Finally, they are for those who, while not ready to take up meditation, desire deeper understanding of the nature of consciousness.
I am aware that some people prefer to omit God from any effort at self-improvement, including the practice of meditation. And yet, without aspiration towards some higher reality, one is left meandering mentally. Whether you call that higher reality God, it is infinitely above your normal waking state of awareness. It is, in fact, your own self, and offers the fulfilment of all your deepest longings.
Ananda sangha will hold meditation workshops based in teaching of paramhansa Yogananda on April 4 in Delhi, Gurgaon, and Noida. Please call 9899014209 or (0124)405-9550. www.anandaindia.org
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi