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.

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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.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.’
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…
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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.
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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.
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221: The Dangerous Allure of Criticism

Our world is a projection and reflection of our own consciousness. When we are sad, the world is ugly; when we are happy, the world is beautiful. So to see and feel peace, love and joy around us, we must first find peace, love and joy in our own hearts.
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220: A Salt Doll Went to Fathom the Ocean

A community of salt dolls lived nearby the sea. They all felt an affinity with the sea; they loved being close to the sea; all their stories and fables revolved around the sea; they would keep their windows open at night so they could fall asleep to the comforting roar of the sea and most nights they even dreamed of the sea.
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219: Knowing the One

Truth is one. Light is one. Love is one.

You are one. I am one. We are all one.

Our world is one. Our universe is one. God is one.

All that is outside and around me, is within me.
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218: Always Face Your Goal

There is a story from the Puranas, of a king who was especially fond of his pet deer. Always he thought of this deer, to such an extent that in his next lifetime, he was born as a deer.
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215: Learn Like a Baby

Babies are learning at every moment. Without using the mind. When it comes to spiritual awareness, if we are sincere, we must accept we are babies. We know next to nothing. This is our perfect starting point.Read and listen more

214: Integral Wellbeing (2)

The health, wellbeing and fitness of each part of our being – body, vital, mind, heart and soul – is crucial for its own sake, as well as for each other part and for our integral wellbeing.
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213: Integral Wellbeing (1)

The health of our various organs – heart, lungs, liver, skin – are all affected by each other, for they are interdependent parts of one whole. This same principle applies to the various sheaths of our consciousness – body, vital, mind, heart and soul ¬– which comprise our whole being. The health, vitality and fulfilment of each are essential for the wellbeing of the others, and of the whole.
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210: Never Flatten the Curve

The muscles of the fittest athlete will atrophy if not exercised. Daily-polished woodwork shines: left alone for a week, its sheen surrenders to dust. If we neglect our daily meditation, we can lose all the hard-earned benefits of years of spiritual discipline.
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207: Be Spiritually Contagious

Spiritual qualities are more contagious than any virus. Peace, light, love and joy are not constricted by social distancing; washing our hands does not remove them; they can spread from one to millions in a heartbeat, they easily span the globe in an instant.
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206: Always Test Positive

In our peculiar phraseology, in our upside-down world so enthralled with negativity, it is an apt irony that to “test positive” is a most feared outcome with all manner of negative repercussions, while to “test negative” is positively desirable and cause for celebration.
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204: Imagine Your Highest

Everything that exists, started in the realm of imagination. The words you are reading were imagined, then written down; the chair you are sitting on was imagined, then designed and produced; you imagined yourself eating breakfast this morning, then it happened. Imagination paves the way and sets up reality.
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203: The Pond of Milk

In our private meditation at home as well as group meditations, it is so easy to feel it will be OK if I offer a token, dilute effort today in lieu of my A-game. No-one will know and no-one will mind…
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202: Self-Giving (2)

Self-giving is the meeting place of meditation and action, where our inner and our outer life converge. Inner and outer self-giving go together, grow together and flow together. Self-giving in meditation is the best training for action: self-giving in action is the best training for meditation.
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200: Within

All our outer thoughts, intentions, actions, reactions, experiences and achievements arise from within. Our entire outer lives are patterned within. The wheel of karma turns from within. Our will is forged, our destiny is mapped, our future sculpted, within.
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199: Your Cone of Silence

“The cone of silence” is a figure of speech, denoting an imaginary area, pact or bond wherein certain knowledge is protected, never revealed, from which secrets cannot escape. For this exercise, let’s imagine this cone of silence is absolutely real – yet instead of keeping secrets inside, our cone keeps everything out.
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197: Silence (2)

Silence is the empty space between thoughts, desires and sensations. As thoughts and desires gradually subside, these spaces expand and blossom into fullness.
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196: Silence (1)

When we speak of silence in meditation, we speak not of outer silence, the absence of sound; but the inner silence, the absence of thought and desire. This inner silence is the womb and cradle of our meditation and all spiritual progress.
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195: Unlearning

We are accustomed to the notion that progress is the outcome of learning. In our outer lives, learning and education are fundamental values, cherished personal goals, pillars of civilisation, bedrock of our society, culture and economy.
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193: My Mind – Pure or Sewer?

If someone comes to the door of my home, I choose whether or not to welcome them: if they are a friend, I may invite them in; if a stranger, especially if dirty, crazy or aggressive, I refuse them entry.
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