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.

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

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
button link=”https://www.canberrameditation.org/articles/204-imagine-your-highest” type=”big”]Read and listen more[/button]

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…
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

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.
Read and listen more

192: The Power of Thoughts (3)

Imagine the whole stream of thoughts is being projected onto a screen and you are merely an observer, watching them pass by. They are not yours, and you are not theirs. Feel your own existence, happy and complete, separate and independent from what is happening on the screen.
Read and listen more

191: The Power of Thoughts (2)

To control our thoughts we first must accept responsibility for our thoughts. Many of us feel that thoughts just appear from nowhere and are not our responsibility – yet even if a thought does appear from nowhere, it is still our choice whether to accept or reject each thought. If we do not take responsibility for our thoughts, we are fated to remain merely their puppet and parrot.
Read and listen more

190: The Power of Thoughts (1)

Most of us do not meditate in order simply to have an enjoyable experience during meditation: we meditate to find and cultivate peace, happiness, love, patience, tolerance, compassion, wisdom and creativity that we might grow in these qualities and express them in our daily lives. We spend time in meditation in order to improve the quality of all the rest of our time we are not in meditation.
Read and listen more

189: The Past is Dust

What is dust? Useless, meaningless, annoying waste matter, discarded remnants from previously useful, meaningful things and events. What is dust good for? Nothing. What do we do with dust? Get rid of it.
Read and listen more

188: Forgiveness

Forgiveness is both a product of and prerequisite for fruitful meditation and spiritual progress.

Meditation opens and expands our hearts, as a slow-motion blossoming of a flower petal by petal. As our hearts expand, the quality of forgiveness grows naturally and spontaneously, without any conscious effort on our part, for forgiveness is inherent to the heart as fragrance to a flower.
Read and listen more

187: Group Meditation (4)

We may be inspired to attend a group meditation for what we will gain from the experience, yet just as significant is what we offer the group. Our very presence offers positive reinforcement and encouragement.
Read and listen more

186: Group Meditation (3)

As one candle can ignite many, so the presence of just one person meditating well, may inspire others to a wonderful meditation.

Some days we are up and some we are down. Sometimes we are the candle lighting many, other times we are in need of igniting. For both roles, the only essential need is our presence.
Read and listen more

185: Group Meditation (2)

The discipline of attending a meeting at a set time and place creates momentum, which is essential to our progress. It takes more effort to attend a session on the other side of town than simply meditating at home. Each time we make that effort we recommit to our purpose, we place more store in the value of our meditation and hence, the more likely we are to give our all to the meditation itself. The more we give, we more we invariably receive.
Read and listen more

184: Group Meditation (1)

Meditation is self-discovery. Hence the experience of meditation is always inner, and personal. Meditation itself is not a social activity. Nevertheless our inner experience, and our overall spiritual wellbeing, can benefit greatly from meditating with others who are following the same spiritual Path or have the same focus and goals.
Read and listen more

183: Patience

Patience is our goal in disguise. The more we develop patience, the closer our goal approaches. Surrender of our own timeline immediately hastens our progress, whereas impatience always slows us down or grinds us to a halt.
Read and listen more

181: Dry Spells (7) – A Spiritual Journal

On holidays we take photos of scenes and events we want to remember, and store these photos in albums. When the holiday is long over, looking through the photos we revive the memories, feelings and sensations of those scenes and events. The photos keep the memories of the holiday fresh and alive in our consciousness whenever we turn to them.
Read and listen more

180: Dry Spells (6) – Practise and Persist

If we could meditate well under all circumstances and conditions, then we wouldn’t need to meditate – we’d already be perfect! Once we are fully illumined, then meditation without effort is our natural and spontaneous state, our default setting. Until then, practise – and persistence – makes perfect.
Read and listen more

179: Dry Spells (5) – Most Delicious Food

We cannot eat most delicious food every day – yet we still have to eat every day to sustain ourselves on earth. Some days we may be fortunate to dine at the finest restaurant; while on others we have to subsist on dry crackers. If that’s all there is, we’ll eat those dry crackers and be sustained by them, and see what tomorrow brings.
Read and listen more

175: Dry Spells (1) – How to Respond

Every meditator endures dry spells.

Like writer’s block or an athlete’s form slump, these spells arrive without warning, with no apparent cause and no clear remedy. Like the weather, a dry spell might last a day, a week or months on end.
Read and listen more