Meditation and its benefits

Students of yoga and martial arts, athletes and healers from all disciplines have long known the underlying unity of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our being. The wellness of the body is inescapably linked to the energies and forces in the mind. An athlete’s endurance and strength is connected to will power, concentration, attitude, self-belief. An advanced student of karate will at some point begin to explore and tap into the inner force and the opening of the power centers that lay within the physical body.

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In a lifetime devoted to fostering the spiritual awakening of humanity, Sri Chinmoy encouraged a holistic approach to wellbeing, happiness and spiritual progress—exercise brings physical excellence and health to the body/temple; service to others widens our heart and deepens our oneness and compassion; spiritual music and readings nourish and illumine our minds; and meditation opens the inner gateway to the soul and the power of the spirit.

With typical clarity and simplicity, Sri Chinmoy wrote, “Our peace is within, and this peace is the harmonious control of life. It is vibrant with life-energy. It is a power that easily transcends all our worldly knowledge. Yet it is not separate from our Earthly existence. If we open the right avenues within, this peace can be felt here and now. Unhorizoned is our inner peace; like the boundless sky, it encompasses all.

Worries—mental, vital and physical—do exist. But it is up to us whether to accept them or reject them. To be sure, they are not inevitable facts of life. Our common heritage is peace. We must resolve here and now, amidst all our daily activities, to throw ourselves heart and soul into the sea of peace.

Everything depends on the mind, consciously or unconsciously, including the search for peace. The function of the mind is to remove the cloud of doubt. The function of purity in the mind is to destroy the teeming clouds of worldliness and the ties of ignorance. If there is no purity of the mind, there can be no sustained success in the spiritual life.

We own peace only after we have totally stopped finding fault with others. We have to feel the whole world as our very own. When we observe others’ mistakes, we enter into their imperfections. This does not help us in the least. Strangely enough, the deeper we plunge, the clearer it becomes to us that the imperfections of others are our own imperfections, but in different bodies and minds. We must come in the fullness of our spiritual realization to accept humanity as one family.”

If you learn to meditate, you will quickly discover many benefits for your health and well-being, because peace is a dynamic form of energy. You will have more joy in your life and more capacity to cope with this world. You may need less sleep, and yet sleep better; have more awareness and compassion for others; and lose your anger, aggression and frustration or your insecurity and fear. You will slowly gain access to your soul’s qualities, which are all perfection, and feel yourself guided from within. Your whole life will begin to change.

If you have not meditated before, try this simple exercise: find a quiet place in your home where you will be undisturbed for the 10 minutes. Remove your shoes and sit with your spine reasonably straight, but not stiff. A comfortable chair or a pillow will do. Simply notice the rhythm of your breathing for a few minutes. You will notice that your breathing becomes calmer, more regular and shallower.

When your mind is calmer, breathe in peace, a feeling of serenity and calm, and imagine all your restlessness and negative emotions leaving you. Don’t allow yourself to be disturbed by external sounds – these will always be there – just leave them where they are and focus on diving within.

Cultivate an absolute stillness in your body, mind and breath. Let your mind be like the vast, calm and clear sky. If thoughts come, don’t attach any significance to them; just let them flow away. If you can empty your mind even for a short while, you will feel more peaceful and meditative. With practice all your life can be your meditation.

As Chinmoy so aptly stated, “Our peace is within, and this peace is the basis of our life. If our foundation is solid, danger can never threaten us, no matter how high we raise the superstructure, Peace is below, peace is above, peace is within and peace is without.”