Meditation Matters

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Welcome to “Meditation Matters” – a weekly journal and podcast published each Thursday, exploring the many worlds of meditation.

Meditation is the gateway to the infinite, the spiritual realm, the reality within us. Meditation can energise our life, transform our outlook, solve all our problems and unlock hidden capacities.

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Everyone can meditate: it’s simple, it’s natural, it’s powerful … and it’s free.

Meditation is self-discovery, self-awareness of all that lies within us beyond the thinking, rational mind. As we go deeper within, we discover that what lies within is also the key to understanding and appreciating all that lies around us as well.

We can read about meditation, talk about meditation, think about meditation – but for the many benefits of meditation, we have to PRACTISE … daily.

“Meditation Matters” will explore the theory and philosophy of meditation, but will mostly focus on the practice; the lived experience of meditation.

We’ll introduce simple, practical exercises that anyone can enjoy at home on a daily basis, and the steps to establish your daily meditation practice: how to incorporate meditation into your everyday life and make it a part of your very living – for meditation has to be a lived experience that flows into every heartbeat, every thought, every intention, every feeling, every breath of our life, to transform not only the way we see and feel, but our very way of being.

We’ll share our knowledge of meditation, our passion for meditation, our experience of meditation and our love of meditation.

“Meditation Matters” will explore all matters meditation: we’ll look at the challenges and obstacles facing someone starting a practice of meditation for the first time, and maintaining that practice. We’ll also explore the many benefits of meditation, and most importantly, delve into the infinite reasons why … Meditation Matters.

171: Music and Meditation (15) – Sound and Silence

Music arises out of, and leads back to silence.Silence is the canvas on which music is painted, the stage on which music is performed, the backdrop against which music poses, the air which music breathes. Silence sends forth music as its emissary, to reveal its secrets – love, sweetness, joy, harmony, perfection. Silence is the sun’s power, music the moon-beauty.
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167: Music and Meditation (11) – Usha Bala Elo (a)

The dawn is one of nature’s most glorious mysteries and life’s most magical, auspicious moments. The transformation of night into day, darkness into light, despair into hope and promise, one state of being into its polar opposite, is at once exquisitely beautiful, thrillingly wondrous and utterly exhilarating.
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166: Music and Meditation (10) – Love as Song

Every spiritual quality can be felt, nurtured, enlarged and intensified by singing: sweetness, tenderness, sympathy, love, aspiration, longing, joy, ecstasy, courage, determination, devotion, valour, vigour, enthusiasm, self-offering – all respond to the right song as a sunflower to the sun.
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161: Music and Meditation (5) – Music as Spiritual Teaching

For a spiritual Master, music offers a vast realm of opportunity for spiritual teaching. Where lectures, discourses, questions and answers must navigate the perilous pathways of doubt, fear, prejudice and misunderstanding in the seeker’s mind, music has an access card directly to the listener’s heart and soul, carrying with it inspiration, aspiration and ever-unfolding realisation.
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160: Music and Meditation (4) – Angels of Peace

Peace is the most urgent, desperate need in the world – peace between nations; between religions, cultures and ideologies; peace within society; within classrooms, workplaces and organisations; peace in the family; above all peace within ourselves, between the various needs and demands of our own body, vital, mind, heart and soul.
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159: Music and Meditation (3) – Sri Chinmoy’s “Flute Music Meditation”

Music is imbued with consciousness. In spiritual music, the consciousness of both performer and listener are of utmost importance. Music composed and performed from a state of deep meditation will be saturated with a meditative consciousness the way fragrance pervades a rose garden in full bloom. The more open and aspiring the listener, the more of that consciousness can be received and assimilated.
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158: Music and Meditation (2) – Levels of Consciousness

Orpheus, the Sirens, the Magic Flute, the Pied Piper: myth and folklore abound with tales of music mesmerising and leading us to other realms – some good, some not so. Music seemingly has the power of a drug or talisman: it charms our mind into quietude, rouses our will to action, calls forth our emotions, touches our heart and might even reveal our soul.
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156: Not Mine, but Thine

If we are meditating, we acknowledge the existence of a higher force or consciousness within us. If a higher being or potential were not within us, meditation would be a pointless pursuit. We meditate to discover this deeper self, to access and utilise this greater power, to become this fuller reality.
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155: Spiritual Wisdom and Meditation

Sound cannot exist in a vacuum. It might be formulated, but cannot be heard. Atmosphere is needed to carry the vibrations or waves and in effect, give life to sound.

Imagine the full expressive range of a cello: rich, resonant, yearning, commanding, desolate, playful, soaring, sumptuous and satisfying. Now remove the body of the cello so only the strings, fingerboard and tailpiece remain, and imagine the same music being played – there is just a thin sound with no depth, warmth or soul.
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153: Eagerness (a) – Each Moment Your First

Eagerness is a universal currency of the inner realms: an executive force of love, commander of immediate action, impelling current of progress, dancing partner of newness and identical twin of delight.

Eagerness is always fresh and enlivening. Eagerness keeps us always positive, open and receptive. Eagerness is always creating, elevating, expanding and enlightening.
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152: Gratitude versus Aspiration

We are told that gratitude is a miracle, essential for fastest spiritual progress. Surely we shall be most grateful for what we have and what we are when we have achieved perfection, so the fullest expression of gratitude will blossom once we are perfect.

We are also told that aspiration is a spiritual miracle, indispensable for fastest spiritual progress. Aspiration is an intensified longing for as-yet unachieved perfection.
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151: Keinen Bequemen Stuhl

The source and only source of all peace, love, joy, wisdom, light, satisfaction and fulfilment is our soul. Our soul is more than ready and eager to offer all these qualities to us in infinite measure – as long as we show that we need them and value them. All happiness can be ours – for the asking.
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150: Freedom from Attachments

Persistent thoughts, desires and emotions are huge impediments to our progress in meditation, and we would like to be rid of them – but how?

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If we would have our attachments release us so we can finally enjoy peace and freedom, we must first release our attachments so they too can fly free.
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149: Your Visitor-Child

Right in front of you is the most beautiful child, more beautiful, more perfect than you have ever seen in this world or could ever have imagined.

This child is an emissary from a far-away realm and will be here on earth for just 15 minutes, in transit to another even further-away realm.
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148: The Eternal, Ever-New

Our minds are preoccupied with dividing, ordering, controlling and possessing our environment, including our own lives. The concept of time is a mental phenomenon: we focus much on the past and the future, to the detriment of our enjoyment of the present.

Through meditation we learn detachment from our minds’ preoccupations, including our obsession with past and future: as we enter deeper into our hearts, we become more centred in the moment, in the Eternal Now.
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147: The Eternal Beginner

In the outer world, at a certain point knowledge of a subject might be considered complete. Not so in the infinite spiritual realms, for here where all is ever growing and transcending, nothing can ever be complete.
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146: A New Goal, New Vocation, New “I”

Meditation redefines our very being.

There are many reasons for starting to meditate – seeking to reduce the stress in our lives, sharpen our concentration, improve our physical and mental health – yet all who continue with meditation, soon find that it beckons us far, far beyond anywhere we could possibly have hoped or imagined.
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145: Roots and Fruits

Our life-fruit and our soul-root need each other.

Roots are the source, fruits the goal. Roots represent raw materials, fruits the finished product. Roots are the inner world, fruits the outer world.
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142: An Empty Mind (2) – The Goal

If our daily meditation practise is an endless train of thoughts because we have surrendered to them as to an oncoming illness or to old age, then we might as well as be chatting or watching television. To compromise in this way is to accept weakness and admit defeat.

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141: An Empty Mind (1) – The Challenge

To constantly progress in meditation we must always strive for a silent, empty mind. Only in a thoughtless mind can we experience the true peace, beauty, vastness, clarity, light and joy of our inner being; otherwise though we may have glimpses of our deeper reality, we are selling ourselves short and will never realise our potential.

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140: Selfish and Selfless

In meditation I sit alone, avoiding others and eschewing all involvement and even thoughts of the outside world, my focus directed exclusively within myself with the avowed goal of my own self-improvement, personal benefit and greater happiness. Meditation would appear the epitome of an anti-social, selfish behaviour.

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139: The Frog in the Well

A little frog had lived his whole life at the bottom of a well. He knew no other environment and yet was content with his life. He had abundant food from the various insects that flew into the well and small water creatures that bred there, so in time he grew quite plump and fancied himself an authority on the world.

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138: Heart-Garden

Our spiritual heart is a vast, beautiful, wonderful, delightful, sun-flooded garden we can never tire of exploring and enjoying. In the heart-garden all are welcome and all find perfect happiness.

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137: Beyond Fear of Death (2) – The Soul-Bird

On a sunny day, if we build a mud hut and close in all the windows and the doors, then inside that hut it will be dark. Remove the walls and all is light. Fear is the darkness resulting from our mind-built walls of division and ego. As aspiration and meditation gradually dissolve these walls, the darkness of fear simply disappears.

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135: Time, Energy and Sleep

Energy comes in many forms: physical energy, emotional energy, mental energy, psychic energy. We derive energy from our food and drink, from air and water, from sunlight, colour, music, art and beauty, from action, interaction, inspiration, ideals and emotions. We also expend energy in many ways: physically, vitally, mentally and psychically.

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134: Stressed for Time?

Time and stress are intimately related. The pressure of time is the oxygen of stress. Without time and beyond time, there can be no stress; stress evaporates. So the surest way to alleviate and remove stress is to go beyond time.

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133: Which Technique is Best?

The question is often asked: which technique is best for meditation? Should I practise mantra, breathing and counting, concentration on a candle, creative visualisation, singing or gazing at the sky?

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131: Samurai

When we concentrate and meditate, outwardly we are statues of the Buddha: all calm, poise and serenity.

Yet inwardly we must be samurai warriors: all focus, vigilance and intensity.
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130: Having and Being

The goal of our outer quest is to have; the fulfilment of our inner search is to be.

What we have is material, which is immaterial; what we are is spiritual, which is real.
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129: A Drop in Search of Its Ocean (4) – God-Realisation

Though the drops may have forgotten their source, they retain always an innate and compelling urge. Their urge is ultimately to return to the ocean from whence they came. Yet because they have forgotten the ocean, initially the urge presents itself simply as a yearning to transcend their drop-limitations, to grow, learn and explore, to join and become an ever-larger entity.
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126: A Drop in Search of Its Ocean (1) – Water and Consciousness

Every drop originates in the ocean; and to the ocean, every drop yearns to return.

The ocean is comprised of countless drops. Yet we don’t perceive the ocean as innumerable entities: we perceive the ocean as one.

When the sun shines on the surface of the ocean, some of its surface water is evaporated. It changes its form from liquid to gas, and so apparently disappears.
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125: How Would You Like Your Potatoes?

I was once fortunate to stay for about 10 days at a fine hotel in Phnom Penh, which incorporated an international school for chefs. The student chef’s training included preparing meals for our large group of vegetarians. It seemed that at least one dish at each meal had to be prepared from potatoes, and that no dish could be repeated over the course of our stay. Alongside a superb array of other courses, we marveled at the inexhaustible panoply of potato presentations.
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124: Who is Not God?

A seeker once came to a spiritual Master, eager to ask one burning question: “Who is God?”

The Master smilingly responded: “Who is not God?”
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123: What About God?

Talking or writing about God is pointless, fruitless frittering.

Whoever or whatever God is, lies beyond the realms of thought, analysis and even description.

God can only be felt, experienced and realised.

Whenever we try to describe, define or confine God, God eludes us.
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122: Breath of the Heart

Choose a quiet, uncluttered place. Sit so that the spine is straight, yet relaxed. Close your eyes and focus all attention on your breath.

Imagine the outside world has dissolved. Nothing exists beyond your controlled breathing.
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120: From One Candle

As we grow through our meditation and spiritual practise in peace, poise, clarity, creativity, purpose, joy, inspiration and aspiration, it is inevitable that we will want others to enjoy these same benefits. The practise of meditation is so simple and its effects so overwhelmingly positive, how can we not wish our friends and loved ones – indeed all of suffering humanity – to share in our miraculous discovery?
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117: Folded Hands in Meditation (6) – A Lightning Rod

When we sincerely aspire for a goal, we will take help from any quarter and explore any means to reach our goal. We will listen to advice, read books, attend classes, practise techniques, make sacrifices, travel to far places, we will adjust our diet, daily schedule, exercise regime and sleep patterns – anything to help us reach our goal sooner.
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116: Folded Hands in Meditation (5) – Thy Will

Meditation is the withdrawal of our mind’s engagement with the outer world, to enter into our heart’s realm of peace, light and delight. Our hands are the executors of our will in the world. When we fold our hands, we both practically and symbolically withdraw our means of action from the outer world.
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112: Folded Hands in Meditation (1) – Body Language

What should we do with our hands during meditation? We do not meditate with our hands: yet our hands are extremely significant parts of our being – practically, energetically and symbolically – and what we do with them can tremendously influence our consciousness, actions and environment.
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111: To Dispel Unhappiness

Meditation and unhappiness are incompatible. If you can dispel unhappiness from your system before you sit down to meditate, your meditation will be freer, easier and more effective.
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110: Chasing Shadows

https://www.radiosrichinmoy.org/wp-content/uploads/media/110-–-Chasing-Shadows.mp3 Desire is a yearning to possess the unpossessable. It juggles chimeras and grasps at thin air while feasting on reflections in its castle in the sky. The world we sense around us is but...

109: Frustrated and Empty

When we do not get what we desire, we are left feeling frustrated and empty: if only our desire had been fulfilled, surely happiness would be ours and all would be well. Yet when we get what we desire, we are again left feeling frustrated and empty: somehow the fulfilment of our desire has not given us the happiness and satisfaction we had hoped for.
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108: The Ocean of Grace

Each life is a river flowing to the sea. From the perspective of the river, its current appears to be its own doing, its own driving force. Yet when we step back and view from a larger perspective, we see it is actually the ocean that is drawing the river towards it.
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107: The Swift-Flowing Current of Grace

Each life is a river flowing to the sea. The current of a river flows always strongest in its depths. This underling current is the guarantee that the river will reach its destination. When you look at the surface of a river, you may see little eddies and swirls flowing in many different directions. Rocks and snags initiate all manner of disturbances, convolutions and conflicts in the surface flow.
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106: The Tadpole and the Frog

A tadpole and a frog appear completely different creatures. Yet they are one and the same. A tadpole can live only in water. Like a fish, it uses its tail to swim around. A frog can live both in water and on land. For the tadpole to become the frog, it must first develop legs.
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105: Where are we Heading? (4)

You live the richest, most varied and fruitful life that any human could imagine. And yet … and yet … after all, you are still no closer to answering: Who am I? Why am I here? Where have I come from and where am I heading?
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104: Where are we Heading? (3)

In addition to the senses you had as an animal, you now have that most marvellous instrument of awareness – the mind. It is as though your world has just exploded in scope, variety and possibilities. The power of the mind to perceive, to analyse, organise, classify, quantify and control is dazzling and unparalleled.
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103: Where are we Heading? (2)

Eventually you become a huge tree, with magnificent strong branches and countless fluttering leaves, offering shade and protection to all and sundry, great and small. You bear flowers and fruits. You are admired by the world. You live a long, full and fulfilling life as a tree.
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102: Where are we Heading? (1)

To answer this question, let us embark on an imaginary journey. Immerse yourself, allowing no outside thought or distraction to enter. Sit somewhere where you can be quiet and alone. Assume your meditation pose, breathe calmly and close your eyes.
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101: The Red and the Green Lollies

Two little boys were extremely fond of a particular red lolly. Every day they would visit the corner store and purchase their supply, served in a white paper packet. They were agreed: nothing could equal these red lollies. They loved everything about them: their unsurpassable taste, texture, colour and shape.
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99: Evolution (2)

Up to now, our evolution has been unconscious, determined by some unseen force of nature. As long as our journey is unconscious it is bound to be fraught and haphazard, with many false starts, wrong turns and missed opportunities.
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98: Evolution (1)

In school we learn about evolution. We learn about how we humans have evolved from animals, most recently from apes and chimpanzees. We learn about Charles Darwin, his theory of the Evolution of the Species and of Natural Selection. When I was in school I readily accepted and subscribed to these theories as fact.
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97: The Six Blind Men

This is a traditional story… Six blind men lived together in a forest. They had heard rumours of the elephant, which they were not able to verify since none of them had seen the elephant. They agreed one of them should find the elephant and report back.
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96: You Want a Revolution?

Order reigns even in chaos; within order, chaos lurks. All outer phenomena bear the signature of hidden forces. If you want to achieve, influence or become anything, go to its source. We regard the landscape around us as a fixed anchor of our existence. Yet even solid rock is a veneer, a thin crust floating atop a slowly seething sea of molten magma.
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95: Bird in a Cage (3) – Return

Lost in your flight, your song and the thrill of freedom, you are now drawn not by what is below, but rather what is above. Tilting your neck upward, a radiant sky beckons as you bend your being up into its heart of infinite blue. The higher you fly, the brighter and fuller the hue until even its blue is dissipated into pure light as the all-real.
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94: Bird in a Cage (2) – Flight and Freedom

In a rush of light and air, instinctively your wings engage to keep you aloft. Dazzled, your world spins in a hurtling rush of colours, shapes, scents and sounds. You are in another realm. Around the garden you fly, drinking in the array of vivid colours and sweet fragrances. Giddy you rise beyond your own backyard to discover more gardens, vibrant and abuzz with the joy and industry of life.
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93: Bird in a Cage (1) – The Cage

This is a creative visualisation exercise. Sit in a quiet place, alone, where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a few minutes, carefully regulating your breath to relax your whole body while calming your thoughts and emotions.
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92: Everything in a New Light

The world is a white wall. Shine a red light on the wall and it appears red. Shine a green light: it appears green. Like the wall, we perceive the world according to the light of our own consciousness. When we are sad, the world appears ugly: when we are happy, the world is beautiful. We shine our own light on the world, and so the world appears.
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91: Ten-Armed Goddess

Many of the Hindu cosmic gods and goddesses are depicted with multiple arms, each arm performing a different task, revealing a particular capacity or bestowing a gift or boon. We too can develop multiple arms. We too can become the 10-armed god or goddess. Our arms represent our capacities, manifest our talents and convey our gifts in the outer world; through our arms we build, create, reveal and offer.
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90: No Standing Still

Everything is in constant motion. Nothing ever stands still. Even the so-called laws of the universe are in constant flux. We are either jumping up, or falling down. We are breathing in, or breathing out; gaining, or losing fitness; growing, or decaying; learning, or forgetting. So it is with spiritual progress. There is no standing still: we are either moving forward or we are falling backwards.
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89: Expectation

“Peace begins when expectation ends.”
– Sri Chinmoy

Expectation hobbles our meditation. We are used to always expecting some result from any activity we engage in. Otherwise, what’s the point of the activity? Yet meditation is an activity like no other. Meditation is much more effective when it is practised with no expectation of any result whatsoever.
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88: Your Heartbeat

Your heartbeat is the constant of your life on earth. Whether you are awake or asleep, healthy or unwell, your heart beats within. No matter how you look or what you wear, your heart beats on. No matter what you are thinking or feeling, what you have been, what you are or will become, your heart beats. In happiness and despair, in victory and defeat, in glory and shame alike – your heart beats on regardless.
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87: Everything Takes Time

Meditation transforms us from within. This process is completely natural and normal. If you bring forth divine qualities – peace, light, wisdom, love and compassion – your outer life has to change for the better. Being a natural process, spiritual growth takes time.
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86: Brick by Brick

Every day we cannot enjoy a sumptuous feast. Some days we might have all the ingredients on hand for a full banquet, while at other times we might go to the pantry only to find dry bread. If that is all that is available, then on that day we won’t starve: we get by on dry bread.
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85: Surfing

Meditation is like surfing. A good surfer practises techniques and hones skills. Preparation is essential; preparing the board, preparing oneself, finding the right break at the right beach.
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83: The Piano Strings (3)

Like the piano, our heart has many strings, each tuned to a spiritual quality. Whereas the piano has strings for various notes, our heart has a “Love” string, a “Beauty” string, a “Peace” string and so forth.
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81: The Piano Strings (1)

Recently I was driving along the freeway, my mind a tangled knot of problems, anxieties and stresses of the day. Suddenly, with the distant mountain range for its stage, was an unutterably glorious sunset. Spontaneously I let out an “Ah!”, my mind’s petty preoccupations arrested and banished in a panoply of glory, beauty and serenity.
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80: Two Thieves

Swami Vivekananda often told this story… In ancient times, there was a most rare and precious jewel, renowned throughout all the lands. It had many owners over the years: it was traded for great riches; bestowed as a highest reward; even battles were fought over its possession. In time, this jewel came universally to be regarded as the most precious object in all existence.
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79: Aspiration

Aspiration is the single secret of meditation. Aspiration is the inner cry, inner yearning for something truer, higher, vaster, deeper, freer, ever more perfect and divine.
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78: Two Engines

We all feel there is something missing in our lives; something subtle, indefinable, somehow always beyond our reach. This sense of missing something makes us feel incomplete. This sense of incompleteness drives us, motivates us to fill this void, either temporarily, or once and for all…
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77: Birds in the Sky

Imagine thoughts during meditation are birds in the sky. You are not the birds. You are the sky. Perhaps the biggest hurdle we encounter in meditation, is the very first hurdle: the stream of thoughts flowing through our minds. What to do with these thoughts?
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76: Am I a Failure?

We know that the goal of meditation is to enter into a completely vacant, still and silent mind. Yet even after years of practise, I am still being bothered by thoughts and distractions. Does this mean I am a useless meditator, wasting my time? Not at all! To be able to silence the mind at will is a monumental achievement requiring an enormous effort of will, practise and persistence.
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75: All These Thoughts!

We are so used to our mind’s constant clutter, that we become inured to its incessant activity. The only time we notice so many thoughts is when we sit down and try to meditate. It’s as though all of a sudden there are all these thoughts at the precise moment we don’t want any! Of course the thoughts have been there the whole time…
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74: Morning Meditation – To Serve the World

If we are inspired to feed the hungry, we must first grow and harvest some crops. If we are inspired to give money to the poor, we must first earn the money. The same applies to inner wealth: peace, love, happiness and satisfaction­. We must first find and cultivate these qualities before we can offer and share them with the world at large. Many feel a calling to save the world. There is so much suffering, unhappiness, ignorance, anger, fear, stress and despair.
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73: Morning Meditation – Instructions for the Day

All of us have a sense that there is something or someone superior in wisdom and capacity – whether part of our own being or beyond us – to which or to whom we would ideally turn for guidance, instruction and inspiration. Be it a family member, friend or counsellor, a scripture, our spiritual heart, soul, God or some other deity, we all feel the need to turn to some source greater, deeper and more illumined than our own minds and emotions.
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