A guest post by Jogyata Dallas
A deep meditation is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling of all possible experiences. Once we have learnt how to find our way into that inner stillness and desireless peace that is always there inside us, our life will never be the same. Here in the sanctuary of the heart, free of time and the burdens of the mind, everything is clear, everything is already done. Out of this silence comes wisdom, understanding and delight.
It is helpful to extend our practice of sitting meditation gradually out in to the everyday aspects of our life – karma yoga – and train ourselves to keep the meditative feeling sustained as long as possible. Walking through a park, sitting on a bus, waiting for somebody, traveling to the next moments of our life, we can bring these feelings of calmness, poise, inner happiness to the fore, string them together as a necklace of day-long happiness-moments.
At this stage in our practice we don’t need to think about technique or meditation exercises, but simply allow the feeling of meditation to arise spontaneously like an inner fragrance of the soul. In this way we begin to free meditation from it’s initial dependence on our being alone at our shrine, or a special time and place, and begin it’s extension into all of our life. This is a very important next step in our spiritual journey, the ‘living’ of meditation, for our own consciousness is the single most powerful determining factor in the quality of all experience.
If we practise meditation long enough, there is an accumulation of all the tiny breakthrough moments and glimpses of peace, and these gather in momentum. A wave rider makes the effort to reach and finally catch the wave that will carry him ashore….the student of meditation also strives in his practice and eventually his own slow awakening grows into a wave of spirit that sweeps him beyond thought and technique. He finds and rides the forgotten ocean of joy that has always been there inside him. This is why we need to commit to regular practice, to have patience and discipline, to find and catch the rising wave.
At first, the experience of meditation itself relies upon environment and some combination of time, place, correct technique. But then it goes beyond these needs. We begin to realize that while our increasing moments of ‘success’ have been possible through some combination of factors – a workshop we attended, group practice, a new exercise we tried or inspiring music – in reality they merely reconnected us with our deeper self, and that ‘self’ is always there inside us, where ever we are.
Each human soul is so very powerful. Consider the impact of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev , or the great spiritual masters. They come to embody values and principles that transcend and outlive their own lives, personify qualities that inspire all of humanity. I always marvelled at how my own teacher, Sri Chinmoy, would walk alone on to a concert stage before audiences of up to 18,000 people, fold his hands together over his heart and simply by standing there , through the force of his love and the power of his meditation, bring a hushed, pin-drop silence to the entire auditorium. His tranquility and the great achievement of his realization were felt by everyone and for many would be life-changing.
Each one of us also has that same potential to change the world, for as Sri Chinmoy once said , ‘every human being is a very special dream of God’. Someone who has great inner peace or love or compassion can walk into a room and change the whole feeling there, simply through the power of consciousness. They embody and radiate some unique beauty of the soul, teach us about our own possibilities. And that is why many students of meditation will often seek a Guru or an advanced teacher – through even one encounter with an enlightened being we can see first-hand what is also possible for us. Their detachment and poise, their unconditional love, their freedom from suffering, their oneness with God, these will one day be our own achievement.
Meditation takes us past our identification with our body, thoughts, personality to a deeper understanding of our true nature. The space in our lives where we put aside the burdens and preoccupations of the day’s dramas, silence our thoughts, venture past the many attachments and distractions of the mind to a growing stillness, this space allows us to rediscover the very source of all our creative, intuitive, spiritual capacities. The closer we move towards this ‘intelligence of silence’, our ‘inner pilot’, the more perfect our outer lives become.
Meditation comes easily today, sitting on the grass in a park in Auckland under a wide blue summer sky, a sky of such startling clarity and endless transparency as to illumine things and gather close the silhouettes of far-off, unfamiliar mountains. There is this lovely sense of stepping outside of the story of one’s life into a state of just ‘being’, at rest in the here and now, a lovely inner space of pure consciousness. Over in the western corner of the park the tai-chi practitioners are also touching the lives of passers-by and strollers with their children, their calm and gentle movements reminding of other realities beyond the ordinary. And I remember Sri Chinmoy’s words, reminding us that we co-create this world, that ‘ just one smile immensely increases the beauty of the universe’.