In the great task of finding happiness and peace through meditation, there are some simple, useful things to keep in mind. Some of these are mentioned here:
- Don’t be too concerned with finding the right technique in meditation. Spiritual master Sri Chinmoy once commented that our own souls are our best teacher – in other words the ability to meditate is already there inside you, accessible in your deepest silences and stillness.
- This is why it is helpful to understand that meditation is not so much about learning – filling the mind with theory, techniques, knowledge – but rather about remembering! All you need to know, and your own unique spiritual path, is a remembering of a forgotten part of your inner life that is already there inside you.
- One of the great secrets is sincerity – the disciplined commitment to practise. See every effort at meditation as a step on an inner journey, and progress is not measured by your lofty experiences but by the daily steps taken when you practise. Like a marathon, where even the most arduous steps are nevertheless moving you closer to finishing, every moment in meditation is a step closer to happiness, insight, peace. Every day take another step.
- This is why the struggle to quieten the mind or the restless body, the addictive habits and repetitions of thoughts, are where you make progress. Right there, that is where peace and liberation are to be won. These struggles are the coalface, the place where you confront the things in yourself that need to be transformed, where you regain mastery of your mind and access to your spiritual heart.
- One of the great secrets of meditation is the role of grace. Sincerity, mentioned above, is like an inner magnet that brings grace into our lives and into our practise. What is grace? Just as the cry of a hungry child brings the immediate response of the parent, meditation is described by spiritual masters as the cry of the soul for happiness, freedom, peace – and grace is the response of the universe, of God, of an intelligence barely understood by the mind. Grace brings to us all that we need – the people, the understandings and opportunities, the insights. It is the law of attraction operating in the realm of spirit.
- Set weekly goals and write up a chart of these goals to aim at every day – your morning meditation, perhaps a shorter evening meditation as well, some reading from a meditation book to inspire the mind, a regime of daily exercise to upgrade your sense of wellbeing and to prepare the body to sit quietly, dietary modifications to improve your health and so forth. How many ticks on your goal chart can you get each day, each week? Try for a perfect week.
- Group meditation is very helpful. The energy, aspiration and sincerity of others around you who share your journey will increase your strength, uplift and energise your meditation. Historically it is called ‘satsang’ – the community of like-minded souls that expedite our progress.