Do you feel your life is missing something but you can’t quite place your finger on what it is? Perhaps you feel the need for genuine peace and happiness and in spite of all your efforts, it remains elusive.
It is for this reason why, since ancient times right up to the present day, we have sought meditation as a way of solving life’s inner and outer problems.
We are delighted to share our love of meditation with you and hope that the inspiration you receive from this site will encourage you to continue in your quest for a fulfilling life.
No matter what meditation path you choose to follow, the benefits can be felt in every aspect of your life. Through meditation, you will learn how to calm your mind, open your heart and develop compassion, poise and love in all your actions. Meditation can help you discover your life’s deeper purpose and how to realise your goals. Above all, meditation will inundate your life with inner peace and happiness.
There are a number of Sri Chinmoy Centres in Australia and New Zealand. The Melbourne Centre was established in 1975 and today it has become a major teaching provider of meditation, offering free classes and workshops throughout the year.
At Sri Chinmoy’s request, our meditation classes and workshops are always offered free of charge. It was his belief that meditation is our universal birthright. He dreamt of a world founded upon inner peace, a world where every human being can realise his or her inner potential.
What is Meditation?
We meditate because this world of ours has not been able to fulfil us. Take peace, for example. The so-called peace that we feel in our day-to-day life is five minutes of peace after ten hours of anxiety, worry and frustration. All the time we are at the mercy of the negative forces that are all around us. These forces are like monkeys. When they get tired of biting us and take rest for a few minutes, then we say that we are enjoying peace. But this is no peace at all, and the next moment they will attack us again.
It is only through meditation that we can get lasting peace. In the morning, if we have meditated and received peace for only one minute, that one minute of peace will permeate our whole day.
If we feel that we are satisfied with what we have and what we are, then there is no need for us to enter into the field of meditation. The reason we enter into meditation is because we have an inner hunger for a more fulfilling life.
Meditation is not just sitting quietly for five or ten minutes. It requires conscious effort. The mind has to be made calm and quiet; at the same time, it has to be vigilant so as not to allow any distracting thoughts or desires to enter.
When we can make the mind calm and quiet, we will feel that a new creation is dawning inside us. When the mind is vacant and tranquil and our whole existence becomes an empty vessel, our inner being can invoke infinite peace, light and bliss to enter into the vessel and fill it. This is meditation.
Heart Meditation: The Sunlit Path
It is better to meditate in the heart than in the mind. The mind is a thought jungle whereas the heart is like a lonely cave in the Himalayas. The mind is limited; the heart is unlimited. The mind complicates and confuses; the heart simplifies and clarifies.
The spiritual heart is the centre of infinite and universal love. Deep within the heart is the soul, our inner divinity. Meditation in the spiritual heart is the safest and most fulfilling path. In this meditation, we focus all our attention on the heart, silencing the mind, and dive deep within to ever deeper levels of peace and bliss and love.
We immerse ourselves in the flow from the heart and allow it to expand within us, carrying our consciousness to the furthest beyond. In our deepest meditation in the heart, we are far beyond all thought. We are merged in silent communion with the Divine Being. Meditation leads us to conscious identification with our Highest Self.
The heart is the seat of the soul. The Source and the Reality are in the heart. As you concentrate on anything—a picture, a flower, a flame—also you can concentrate on the heart.
Stages of Meditation
Proper Breathing: The first stage of entering into meditation is breath control. We try to breathe in as slowly and quietly as possible. There are two breathing exercises below that you can try. Once we have learned breath control, we then use the breath in ways to develop the power of concentration.
Concentration: Concentration means inner vigilance and alertness. There are forces all around us—fear, doubt, worry and so on—and when we learn how to concentrate it is very difficult for these hostile forces to enter into us. When we concentrate, we focus our attention on one particular thing. We feel the power of concentration coming from the heart entre and then going up to the third eye. With the power of light inside our concentration, we enter into the object of concentration and identify with it.
Meditation: When we meditate, we expand ourselves. Meditation is like going to the bottom of the sea, where everything is calm and tranquil. On the surface there may be a multitude of waves, but the sea is not affected below. In its deepest depths, the sea is all silence. When we start meditating, first we try to reach our own inner existence, our true existence—the bottom of the sea. Then, when the waves come from the outside world, we are not affected because inside us is solid peace. Thoughts cannot touch us , because our mind is all peace, all silence, all oneness.
Ten Basic Tips for Meditation
Here are some tips for beginner meditators.
1. Individual meditation: it is better to do your individual daily meditation alone. An exception to this would be if your partner also meditates using the same techniques.
2. Group meditation: if you have the opportunity to meditate with a group once a week, this will definitely give you inspiration and add strength to your own individual meditation.
3. Incense: the fragrance of incense purifies the air that we breathe and creates a subtle and inspiring atmosphere. There are types of incense that are smokeless, as there are essential oils that have the same effect.
4. Keeping the spine straight: it is important to keep the spine erect and the body relaxed and comfortable. If you are uncomfortable, the body will constantly change its position. Allow your inner being to take you to a comfortable position, then maintain it. It is not advisable to meditate lying down as this encourages sleep consciousness.
5. Physical exercise: If you feel restless before a meditation, it may be helpful to do some hatha yoga exercises to calm the mind. Otherwise it is better to exercise after your meditation.
6. Open eye meditation: in the beginning it is difficult to maintain alertness while meditating with the eyes closed all the time. It is best to choose an external object to concentrate on—a flower or candle flame, for example—and keep the eyes open and relaxed for part of your meditation. In this way you are focusing your conscious awareness both on the physical plane and on the inner plane
7. Best time and duration of meditation: The best time to meditate is early in the morning when the day begins. The length of meditation depends on how long we can maintain the power of our concentration. For a beginner this is usually 15-20 minutes.
8. A place to meditate: it is good to have a special place to meditate in your home such as a corner of a room, where you can place your meditation cushion, candle or flower and burn your incense.
9. Music: the right kind of music—music that elevates our consciousness—can help to create a positive meditation environment. If you are disturbed by noises in the environment or don’t have a particularly peaceful place to meditate, then playing music can definitely be helpful.
10. Eating: it is best to meditate on an empty stomach, or two hours after eating. The body has thousands of subtle nerves that become heavy after eating. These subtle nerves transport the meditation energies, which cannot function when affected by food.
Meditation Exercises to Try
Find a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. While trying these exercises you should keep your spine straight and your body relaxed. It is fine to sit in a chair or on the floor with a cushion or meditation stool.
As we have noted, breath control forms the basis of a good meditation. We use the breath to remove some of the obstacles that block our ability to meditate and to build a solid platform for developing the intensity of our concentration.
Exercise 1: Breath Purification
When you breathe in, try to feel that you are bringing into your body peace, infinite peace. The opposite of peace is restlessness. When you breathe out, try to feel that you are expelling the restlessness within you and also the restlessness that you see all around you. When you breathe this way, you will find restlessness leaving you.
After practising this for a few times, please try to feel that you are breathing in power and tremendous cosmic energy from the universe. Feel that there is not a single place in your body that is not being occupied by the flow of cosmic energy. And when you exhale, feel that all your fear and all the rubbish inside you is coming out of your body.
After doing this a few times, feel that what you are breathing in is joy, infinite joy, and what you are breathing out is sorrow, suffering and melancholy.
Exercise 2: Slowing the Breath
Try to breathe in as slowly and as quietly as possible. Then you will see that your meditation will be deep and your mind will be very calm and quiet.
Then imagine something very vast, calm and quiet. When you start meditating, feel that inside you is a vast ocean and that you have dived to the bottom, where it is all tranquillity. If you can identify yourself with this vast ocean, with this flood of tranquillity, then it will be extremely easy for you to meditate.
Exercise 3: Music and Breath
The best way to become one with soulful music is to have the firm inner conviction that while you are breathing in, the breath is immediately entering directly into your soul. And with the breath, you have to feel that the Universal Consciousness, divine Reality, divine Truth is also entering. Then, when you breathe out, try to feel that you are breathing out the ignorance that is covering your soul. Feel that the veils of ignorance are being lifted and discarded. If you can consciously imagine and feel this, it is the best way to become one with soulful music.
“Meditation is our soul’s cry for our life’s perfect perfection.”
Here are further exercises to try, including:
- Managing stress
- Stopping the thought process
- The art of concentration
- Walking meditation
- Music meditation
- Gifted ultra-distance runner Grahak Cunningham offers advice on how to combine meditation with running