Practical meditation

Today we are bringing reading from the book Meditation: Man’s Choice And God’s Voice Part 1 by Sri Chinmoy, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

Question: How can one make meditation practical?

Sri Chinmoy: How can we make meditation practical? First of all we have to know whether we are practical or not. We say somebody is practical only when we see that in the outer life he does the right thing at the right moment. He thinks and acts in a specific way so that he will not be deceived by others, and so that his outer life will run smoothly, without any major catastrophes. But no matter how clever we are, how sincere we are, how conscious we are, we see that at times we are at a loss in the outer life. We do not know what to say. We do not know what to do. We do not know how to behave. Or, despite our saying and doing the right thing, everything goes wrong. We do not know how to cope with our outer existence; we cannot manage our lives. We sincerely want to do something or become something, but we cannot do it.

walking on step stonesWhy does this happen? It happens because our outer capacity is always hound by something, and that something is our inner awareness. If we are practical in the inner life, if we are doing the right thing in the inner world, we will not be bound by anything, because we will have inner awareness. One who has inner awareness has free access to infinite Truth and everlasting Joy, and he will be able to control his outer life. What gives us inner awareness? Meditation. We are practical in our inner life, we are doing the right thing in our inner life, when we pray and meditate. A practical thing must always be natural, and what can be more natural, more spontaneous, than seeking to fulfil God? How do we fulfil God? Through meditation.

The inner life constantly carries the message of Love, Truth and God. The outer life does not do this. Where the Truth is, there is a seed. Let us allow the seed to germinate, to grow into a plant, to become a tree. When the tree bears fruit, we can eat it. And while we are eating we will know that this fruit belongs to the outer world although its source is the inner world. We will see the capacity of the inner world being manifested in the outer world. We always grow from within, not from without. It is from the seed under the ground that a plant grows. From inside we grow out.

No matter how many hours we work, no matter how many hours we talk, no matter what we do or say, we are not nearing the Truth-Light. But if we meditate first, and afterwards act and speak, then we are doing the right thing and becoming the right thing. The inner life, the inner practicality, must guide the outer life, and not the other way around. It is not that the outer life will have a separate existence. No! The life-breath of the outer life has to come from the inner life. The inner practicality must enter into the outer life of each individual seeker on earth. Only then can he be really practical in the outer life.

The inner life of unaspiring people is never practical; it is all imagination. Naturally, they don’t want to enter into the world of imagination, for they think that this imagination is going to end in frustration. But he who is brave enough to enter into the inner life and see whether it is all imagination or not, will see that the inner world is practical, real, natural. Our human way of thinking of Truth, God and Light is not the correct way. That is why the things that are normal seem abnormal to us. The divinely normal things are Love, Light, Peace. And these normal things are also eternal. Let us be brave. Let us enter into the inner world and bring forward to the outer world the things that the inner world can offer. Then the outer world will also become divinely normal, practical and fulfilling.

What is a good meditation?

From the book “Meditation: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction” by Sri Chinmoy

dog licking faceSeekers often ask how they can tell whether they are meditating properly or whether they are just deceiving themselves or having mental hallucinations. It is very easy to know. If you are meditating properly, you will get spontaneous inner joy. Nobody has given you good news, nobody has brought you any gifts, nobody has appreciated or admired you, nobody has done anything for you, but you will have an inner feeling of delight. If this happens, then you know that you are meditating properly. But if you feel a mental tension or disturbance, then you will know that the kind of meditation that you are doing is not meant for you.

If you are enjoying mental hallucination, you will feel that peace is within and restlessness is without. You are yearning for peace, light and bliss, but outwardly you are feeling a volcanic turbulence. If you are having a real meditation, a sublime meditation, then you are bound to feel peace within and without. If it is soulful meditation, you will feel your eternal existence; you will feel that you are of Eternity and for Eternity. This feeling you cannot get from a mental hallucination.

There is also another way that you can know. If you are actually entering into a higher plane, you will feel that your body is becoming very light. Although you don’t have wings, you will almost feel that you can fly. In fact, when you have reached a very high world, you will actually see a bird inside you that can easily fly just as real birds do.

When it is your imagination, you will get a very sweet feeling for a few minutes; then immediately dark or frustrating thoughts will come into you. You will say, “I studied so hard, but I did not do well in my examination,” or “I worked so hard in the office today, but I could not please my boss.” These negative forces in the form of frustration will immediately come in. Or doubt will enter, and you may say, “How can I meditate so well when yesterday I did so many wrong things? How can God be pleased with me? How can I be having a high meditation?” But if it is really a high meditation, you will feel that your whole existence, like a divine bird, is soaring high, higher, highest. While you are having this feeling there will be no sad thoughts, no frustrating thoughts and no doubts. You will be flying in the sky of delight where all is joy, peace and bliss.

dove on paper decorationsYou can also know whether you had a good meditation by the way you feel afterwards. If peace, light, love and joy have come to the fore from within as a result of your meditation, then you will know that you have meditated well. If you have a good feeling for the world, if you see the world in a loving way in spite of its teeming imperfections, then you will know that your meditation was good. And if you have a dynamic feeling right after meditation, if you feel that you have come into the world to do something and become something—to grow into God’s very image and become His dedicated instrument—this indicates that you have had a good meditation. But the easiest way to know if you have had a good meditation is to feel whether peace, light, love and delight have come to the fore from within.