Meditation Matters

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.

Read more

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.

321: Meditating When Tired (4)

Tiredness, like age, is mostly a phenomenon of the mind. More often than not, we ‘feel tired’ because we imagine we are, or think we ought to be tired. We can all recall instances when we felt we were dog tired, then received a phone call, or saw, remembered or imagined something that instantly revived us, after which we continued with surging energy and enthusiasm. If tiredness can so utterly abandon us, we have to wonder: was it real in the first place?
Read and listen more

320: Meditating When Tired (3)

Bookend your sleep with meditation. While meditating for a few minutes before you go to bed, consciously imagine your meditation continuing and expanding the next morning. Promise to your heart that you are taking a brief time-out, and will return to take up and continue where you have left off. Place an imaginary bookmark in your meditation, to “save” the place you have reached.
Read and listen more

319: Meditating When Tired (2)

Imagination has tremendous power: use it to your advantage. Imagine your house is on fire and your morning alarm is a real fire alarm; or a ghoulish monster is coming to devour you if you stay in bed one moment longer; or you will be rewarded with infinite inspiration, satisfaction and bliss if you get up to meditate this very moment.
Read and listen more

318: Meditating When Tired (1)

We know it is essential to meditate every day. And to be sure of meditating every day, it is of paramount importance to meditate at a set time, preferably early in the morning. Yet early in the morning is usually when we are asleep, or just waking up, so it is inevitable that we are all going to face occasions when we feel we are too tired to meditate.
Read and listen more

317: Today

It is said: “Never put off till tomorrow, what can be done today.” More than anything, this applies to aspiration, meditation, self-transformation, perfection and God-realisation.
Read and listen more

316: The Heat of Inspiration

Sitting down, focusing and going through the motions of our meditation practice, is like preparing a meal and placing the pot on the stove. For our meditation to become a delicious cooked meal, we also need the heat of inspiration.
Read and listen more

315: A Window to the Soul

Intuitively, we feel we have a soul – though we only sense our soul as a vague presence, light, power or assurance: we have not seen our soul, and have no direct access to our soul.
Read and listen more

314: My Occupation

Once we launch into meditation and the spiritual life, our all-consuming occupation becomes our ever-climbing aspiration and wholehearted dedication – to the search for inner and outer peace, for happiness, truth, self-conquest, life-transformation, integral perfection and God-satisfaction.
Read and listen more

313: Thoughts in Meditation (18)

God is our highest Self. Whatever we experience, God is experiencing in and through us. If thoughts are bothering us and disturbing our meditation, they are bothering and disturbing God; they are blocking us from communicating and connecting with our God within, our own Source.
Read and listen more

312: Thoughts in Meditation (17)

Thoughts are intermediaries between ourselves and reality; mental instruments we employ to perceive, comprehend and make sense of our jumbled, confusing world. Our minds assume there is no other way of knowing.
Read and listen more

311: Thoughts in Meditation (16)

The most potent disinfectant and protection from thoughts, is the experience of thoughtless meditation. Here is a chicken and egg: to meditate, we need to clear away thoughts; to clear away thoughts, we need to meditate.
Read and listen more

310: Thoughts in Meditation (15)

Thoughts are intimately connected with desire: thoughts and desires both attach us to, and enmesh us in the finite and the unreal. They direct us away from the destination of happiness and fulfilment, our infinite soul, our true self.
Read and listen more

309: Thoughts in Meditation (14)

It is useless to follow a strict diet for 2 hours each day, if we consume junk food for the remaining 22. Strictly disciplining our thoughts during meditation cannot be of much help, unless we carefully monitor and control our flow of thoughts while we are not meditating.
Read and listen more

308: Thoughts in Meditation (13)

On our own, we are no match for thoughts. Only by taking the help of a higher power, can we overcome them. Thoughts have their own astonishing velocity and immense power. To transcend thoughts, we must be faster and/or vaster than thoughts.
Read and listen more

306: Thoughts in Meditation (11)

Once we realise that thoughts are not something we are, but things we have, like clothes from our wardrobe, or tracks selected from a playlist, only then can we imagine existing apart from our thoughts. Once we conceive ourselves as separate to our thoughts, we realise it is not inevitable that thoughts dominate us.
Read and listen more

305: Thoughts in Meditation (10)

If we keep our house spotlessly clean, pests will find no food source and cannot make a home there. Whenever we are bothered by thoughts – either in meditation or any other time – the most effective remedy is to make our minds spotlessly pure and sparkling clean by blocking out, flushing away or sweeping aside all thoughts.
Read and listen more

304: Thoughts in Meditation (9)

It is wise to know one’s enemy. Thoughts in themselves are not our enemy – it is their hold over us, and our helpless attraction to them, which stand as a ruthless barrier to our meditation and inner peace. In our quest to control thoughts, to keep them at bay, it is well to consider the nature of thoughts, and our obsession with them.
Read and listen more

303: Thoughts in Meditation (8)

Thoughts have their own pride. When a thought comes with the intention of disturbing our meditation, if it finds our door is locked, it may knock and try to get our attention. After a while of being ignored and shunned, it will feel unvalued and beneath its dignity to persist wasting its time on such a rude and ungrateful fellow. As it departs in a huff, we are free to meditate in peace.
Read and listen more

302: Thoughts in Meditation (7)

To help extricate ourselves from thoughts, we need to depart from the negative in favour of the positive; to shift the home base of our consciousness from our mind into our heart. So, whatever we choose to focus on must be positive, and imbued with the qualities of our spiritual heart.
Read and listen more

301: Thoughts in Meditation (6)

All our lives, we have been thought-bound, thought-defined and mind-confined. How then can we possibly do without thinking and thoughts? The notion is almost inconceivable, for our thoughts are as much our identity as our own skin.
Read and listen more

300: Thoughts in Meditation (5)

We meditate to enter into, bring forward and enjoy the spiritual qualities of our heart – peace, love, light, joy, oneness. To gain access to our spiritual heart, we have first to calm and quieten our mind. To calm our mind, we must reduce our flow of thoughts. To enter the deepest meditation, we must go beyond the mind’s domain altogether, where no thought can reach.
Read and listen more

299: Thoughts in Meditation (4)

We are familiar with the consequences of not being able to control our thoughts: our thoughts instead, control us. Most of us, most of the time, are guided by our thoughts or emotions, rather than our heart and soul.
Read and listen more

298: Thoughts in Meditation (3)

Every level of our existence below the mind – body and vital – and every level above the mind – heart and soul – exist and operate without thoughts. Thoughts are exclusive to the thinking mind: they are its food, bricks, language, currency, secret service and armed forces.
Read and listen more

297: Thoughts in Meditation (2)

Desperately yearning the comfort and power of knowledge, yet having set itself apart from the infinite Real, and unready humbly to accept the heart’s light as its own, the mind wants to know and possess truth as an observer. It seeks to objectify reality, to section the infinite and define the indefinable, to ‘figure out’ Truth.
Read and listen more

296: Thoughts in Meditation (1)

We identify as “mankind.” The root word “man” derives from the Sanskrit “manas”, meaning: “mind.” Our mind is the principal executive force of our present conscious awareness. We are the “mind-kind.”
Read and listen more

295: Ignorance as Opportunity

Darkness persists as long as light and darkness stay apart, fearful of each other. When we perceive ignorance, weakness and limitations as included in our own greater being – not as external foes – we accept responsibility to care for and illumine them, as our thumb helps our fingers.

Read and listen more

293: Purity as Power (3)

Purity is a most valuable, reliable spiritual currency. As in the desire-life, we yearn for money as a means to acquire all the material possessions, comforts and status money can buy; so, in the aspiration-life, we yearn for purity for all the inner wealth and riches purity opens and reveals to us.
Read and listen more

292: Purity as Power (2)

We know that the more purity we have, the clearer our mind will be, and the better our meditation; the better our meditation, the more purity we will uncover, the clearer our mind will be, and the deeper our meditation. Purity is an indispensable link in this cycling chain of inexorable spiritual growth.
Read and listen more

291: Purity as Power (1)

In meditation, we aim first to clear the mind of thoughts. The best detergent to remove unwanted thoughts, is inner purity. So, to meditate well, or even to meditate at all, purity is of utmost importance.
Read and listen more

288: Newness (2)

Every day, invoke newness before and during meditation. The old, even yesterday’s joy, has not brought us our ultimate fulfillment, so we must forever turn to the new. Newness houses our every goal; only in newness can our fulfillment abide.
Read and listen more

287: Newness (1)

Our goal is always ahead; we are never there yet. To grow into our goal is to eagerly embrace an ever-new being within ourselves, seeing, feeling, thinking, experiencing, imagining, growing, giving and becoming in ever new ways.
Read and listen more

286: Am I Meditating Well?

When we engage in any new activity, we always want to know how we are progressing – are we doing everything correctly, can our technique be improved, are we getting satisfactory results?
Read and listen more

285: Never Go Your Own Way

Going our own way, our ego’s way, in preference to following the subtler, finer dictates of our heart and soul, has not satisfied us and can never lead us to abiding satisfaction. To go my way is a revolving door, leading always back into prison. To go the higher way is to fly free from the ego-prison.
Read and listen more

284: Go Your Own Way

Don’t wait for your friends or family to be inspired to meditate, before starting yourself. If you are inspired, this is your time and you must follow your inner call. Later will be too late.
Read and listen more

283: The God-Hour (2)

The farmer ploughs the field, sows the seed and tends the crop. This is all necessary preparation and yet not sufficient to yield a harvest: the crop must be allowed to grow “all in good time.” Nature must be allowed to take its course. The farmer can – and must – wish, pray and prepare for the result, but also has to wait, for as long as it takes.
Read and listen more

282: The God-Hour (1)

While the “Hour of God” refers to a specific time, very early in the morning, when meditation is most fruitful, the “God-Hour” – or “God’s choice Hour” – can be any time of day: it is the moment when an event or outcome is ripe, ready and meant to occur.
Read and listen more

281: The Hour of God (2)

To meditate at the Brahma Muhurta, the Hour of God, is to sit down to a table already set with a sumptuous feast: we just have to eat and enjoy the meal. Peace, light and bliss crowd all around and within, beckoning; we have only to fall into their arms.
Read and listen more

280: The Hour of God (1)

In the Vedas, the prescribed time for meditation is the Brahma Muhurta, or the Hour of God, around 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. At this time, it is said the cosmic Gods commence preparing the earth and humanity for the coming day, so it is the best time for us also to start our day’s journey by attuning ourselves with the stirring of the divine creative forces of peace, light and bliss within.
Read and listen more

279: Punctuality

For our best spiritual progress, punctuality is of supreme benefit.
On the face of it, punctuality appears fairly innocuous – how can simply being on time, every time, make such a difference to one’s success and progress?
Read and listen more

278: Regularity

For our spiritual progress, regularity is paramount.

Regularity activates, regulates and liberates. Regularity is the law of the material realm, and gateway to the spiritual realm. Regularity we need to enter time and space, to exist in time and space and ultimately, to transcend time and space.
Read and listen more

277: The Bright Side

For the peace, light and bliss of meditation to grow and blossom in our lives, it is essential always – always to shun the ugly, the negative, limiting and false; and always – always to look on the bright side, the joyful, uplifting and True.
Read and listen more

276: Prayer and Meditation (5)

Meditation houses all the answer to our prayers – the prayers we have already offered and prayers of our inner being of which we are not yet even aware. All that we have sought through prayer, and all we could ever seek, and more – is born, revealed, grows and blossoms in our meditation.
Read and listen more

275: Prayer and Meditation (4)

As deep meditation subsumes prayer, so prayer fulfills itself in meditation. As the prayers of our mind dissolve into the silence-tears of our heart, our prayer-river flows into and loses itself in the meditation-sea.
Read and listen more

274: Prayer and Meditation (3)

Each breath, each glance, each thought, each task, each word, each gesture, each intention, each action can be prayer. The body and vital can pray through dedicated activity, service, exercise or sports: the heart prays naturally through silent tears of intense yearning.
Read and listen more

273: Prayer and Meditation (2)

Any concentrated intent, expression of hope, application of will or practise of discipline to achieve a certain outcome, where that outcome is beyond our conscious control, can be prayer. Prayer can be offered through words, actions, tears or smiles.
Read and listen more

271: Who Is Ready To Play?

Our soul is always eager to enwrap us in peace, immerse us in light and flood us with delight. Our soul has only us on whom to lavish its attention so it waits, and waits for us to heed its call. Our soul shows every move and guides our every step. Our part is only to open the door and allow our soul in, our best, closest friend, playmate, lover, tutor and guide.
Read and listen more

270: Remain Always a Beginner

In our meditation and spiritual life, we need always to feel we are just a beginner. For no matter how much we know, there is always infinitely more that we do not yet know: no matter how much we have experienced or attained, there is always infinitely more we are yet to experience and to attain.
Read and listen more

269: The Challenge of Sleep (3)

In the spiritual life, sleep represents ignorance. Whether we are physically sleeping or awake, whenever we are not spiritually conscious and aspiring, we are effectively enjoying ‘ignorance-sleep.’
Read and listen more

268: The Challenge of Sleep (2)

Sleep – we need it, but how much? If we don’t get enough sleep, we become tired and exhausted, and our spiritual life suffers; if we sleep too much, we become torpid and lethargic, and our spiritual life suffers.
Read and listen more

267: The Challenge of Sleep (1)

Regardless of the amount of sleep we get, the very nature of sleep presents a significant challenge to the spiritual seeker. Spirituality and sleep appear to be diametrically opposed: one a dynamic flow, the other a static repose.
Read and listen more

266: Assimilation

Meditation is food and nourishment for our inner being. Just as we need time after eating a meal to assimilate and digest our food before engaging in strenuous activity, so time and the right environment is needed after meditation to assimilate the peace, light and bliss we have received.
Read and listen more

265: Mix With Spiritual People

The best way to begin to learn how to meditate is to associate with people who have been meditating for some time. These people are not in a position to teach you, but they are in a position to inspire you.
Read and listen more

264: Finding Your Spiritual Path (7)

The obstacles to overcome are predominantly found not in the world around us: they are within, cradled and coddled by our own indulgence. Doubt, Fear, Insecurity, Pride, Impurity, Inertia – all we have built; all we must now dismantle.
Read and listen more

262: Finding Your Spiritual Path (5)

When we see people in the street, strangers whom we have never met or know anything about, there are always some to whom we feel drawn, and some we would rather avoid. There is no explanation or rationale for these feelings, other than a sense of affinity.
Read and listen more

260: Finding Your Spiritual Path (3)

As there are innumerable streams and rivers flowing into the sea, countless tracks and routes to the summit, so are there multiple spiritual Paths to enlightenment. It is said there are as many Paths to Self-realisation as there are souls on earth.
Read and listen more

257: Nothingness-Nectar

Only in nothingness – “no-thing-ness”, the absence in our consciousness of the superficial, ephemeral and unreal – do we find our soul, our true self. Nothingness holds the fullness of satisfaction, the bliss of perfection, the oneness of completion, our source and our goal.
Read and listen more

256: The Forest Pool and the Treasure

Imagine a beautiful, clear pool set in a forest glade. You sit on a bench fashioned from a large, fallen tree, shaded from the sun. A gentle breeze that soothes your brow, leads every leaf, branch and bough in gentle dream dance over a drone of barely murmured pleasantries.
Read and listen more

254: Meditation’s Dynamic Flow

Because we sit in stillness, there is a common misconception that meditation is a static activity. Not so! – just as silence houses all the dreams of the world, so stillness is the starting point of every step, every journey, every ultimate triumph.
Read and listen more

253: The Lead Bird

While concentrating and meditating, we endeavour to clear our mind of all thoughts. Yet some thoughts continue to arise, for that is their nature – so how to deal with them?
Sri Chinmoy’s suggestion that we identify with the sky, while thoughts are passing birds, is extremely effective.
Read and listen more

251: The Eternal Now

In pure meditation, there is only one moment to experience: the Eternal Now. There may be many approaches, many avenues to this moment, it may have many names and attributes, yet once we are there, it can only ever be One.
Read and listen more

250: Inner Messages

When we get a strong feeling that we should make a particular choice or pursue a particular direction, how can we know where the message is coming from? How can we know whether it is a genuine message from our heart or soul, or is just our mind or vital yet again trying to deceive and lead us astray?
Read and listen more

247: To Meditate, Remember (2)

We have all experienced how difficult it can be to maintain these sweet, pure feelings, this expansive, lofty perspective once we enter into the noise, stress and conflict that characterises our outer life.
Read and listen more

246: To Meditate, Remember (1)

Sometimes, meditation comes easily and effortlessly. Other times, no matter how hard we try, we can’t escape a maze of thoughts and distractions. We’re like a bird, which despite running and flapping its wings, just can’t get off the ground.
Read and listen more

245: Where to Find Truth?

Wouldn’t we all like to know the truth? Not just the relative truth about who pulled the trigger, what causes hay fever, or is the earth really flat – but the absolute Truth of all existence.
Read and listen more

244: New Year’s Resolutions

Each New Year we make resolutions. Sadly, like turtle hatchlings emerging by the thousands, precious few of our resolutions make it across life’s perilous beach to the ocean of fulfilment. Year on year, the same story…
Read and listen more

243: The Gift of Meditation

Meditation is the best gift anyone can ever give us – a gift we can only give, and receive, ourselves. Our meditation is also the best gift we can ever give to the world – for inside our meditation is all the treasure and answers to the world’s every longing.
Read and listen more

240: The Infinite Uses of Meditation

There is no limit to what meditation can achieve for us, if we practise consciously, conscientiously and consistently. Meditation is like sunlight or electricity: a latent power, available to all, which can be harnessed for an infinite variety of applications and purposes.
Read and listen more

239: Life’s Turning Point

We all feel we can be happier, better, wiser, more creative, more fulfilled. We feel there is something higher or deeper we have not yet grasped, there is more to discover, feel and experience – more for us to receive and offer to the world.
Read and listen more

234: One Drop of Poison

One choir member out of tune can ruin an entire performance; one droplet of blood summonses frenzied sharks from afar; one momentary lapse yields a car crash; one stray thought shatters a lofty meditation; one bad choice can terminate one’s spiritual progress.
Read and listen more

233: Meditation for Protection

In the spiritual life, by far the greatest threats from which we need protection are within ourselves: our own thoughts, misconceptions, fears, doubts, anxieties, jealousies, suspicions, desires and distractions.
Read and listen more

232: b) Polarity, the Heart’s Blessing

If a person standing behind a pole, shows only their right hand and left foot from opposite sides of the pole, we clearly see that the hand and foot are different and separate objects. Yet remove the pole, and we see they are of one person. Our mind is that pole, predisposing us always to perceive separate and opposing parts, and never the whole.
Read and listen more

229: Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening
“Arise! Awake! – and stop not till the goal is reached.”
– Swami Vivekananda (after the Katha Upanishad)
As we progress along our spiritual journey, we each perceive our goal according to our background, spiritual practise and inner proclivity. While some seek liberation, others may aspire for enlightenment or only God-satisfaction.
Just as we must wake up in the morning before we can pursue our daily tasks and activities, common to most paths and traditions is the concept of spiritual awakening, as a necessary precursor to conscious growth and progress. While this awakening may be observed outwardly through a ritual initiation or baptism, the inner awakening arises from a stirring of the soul, whether induced by the inner touch of a spiritual Master or the fortuitous breath of grace.
As a single spark may start a monumental forest fire, or a tremor under the floor of a distant ocean results in a massive tsunami on another continent, so the daybreak of our inner awakening – though we are likely unconscious of it at the time – is the singular moment of destiny in our lives, leading inevitably and inexorably to the complete and radical transformation of our entire consciousness.
We are the same person, whether asleep or awake: only when awake, we are more conscious. Even so, while spiritually asleep amidst the wastelands of ignorance, delusions of desire and errors of ego, all our limitless capacities, soaring realisations and stupendous achievements lie coiled within us, dormant.
We imagine it is necessary first to awake before we arise. Yet Swami Vivekananda’s injunction is first arise, and then awake. Before thinking of enlightenment, liberation or realisation, we must first arise, take up our action stations of prayer, invocation, meditation and self-giving service: only then awakening dawns, and our inevitable God-realisation – petal by petal – blossoms.
Read and listen more

228: Spiritual Writings (2)

Spiritual writings can be read again and again. As we absorb their wisdom, our inner understanding blossoms like a flower and we become more receptive to ever-deeper insights. The same book, poem or passage can be read a hundred times over the course of years, each repetition yielding a new and deeper treasure of beauty, truth and delight.
Read and listen more

227: Spiritual Writings (1)

To meditate, we need inspiration and aspiration. One of the easiest, most reliable and rewarding ways to awaken, nurture and intensify both our inspiration and aspiration, is to read spiritual writings, especially the works of spiritual Masters.
Read and listen more

226: The 27th of August

Today – the 27th of August – is Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.

A birthday is an occasion to appreciate and celebrate a person’s goodness, achievements and inspiration: to savour the flowers, fruits and bounty of their life-tree.
Read and listen more

225: The Colour of Jesus’ Beard

There is a passage in the scriptures in which one of the Prophets foretold: “He shall roar with a flaming mane”. While there is some conjecture surrounding the exact word for ‘mane’ in the original ancient Greek manuscript, scholars concur this is clear proof, offered hundreds of years before His birth, that Jesus’ hair and beard were distinctively flame-red…
Read and listen more

224: Rain

Imagine a tropical rainforest: green, dense, buzzing, pulsing, steaming and teeming with infinite intricate, parallel, interconnected leapings and twinings of one magnificent, multi-munificent life-drama.
Read and listen more

223: Floating in Love, Above

This is a creative visualisation exercise. Sit comfortably, with your spine straight. Focus on your breath for a while, bringing the flow under your conscious and careful control. Either close, or let your eyes rest on something simple, pure, beautiful and inspiring.
Read and listen more