Benefits of Meditation
When giving meditation classes on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, I am often asked what are the benefits of meditation. It is an interesting question and there are a few things worth mentioning.
In meditation we are trying to quieten the mind and detach ourselves from our everyday thoughts and emotions. By sitting still we can feel a greater relaxation. Even if we don’t stop our thoughts completely, by sitting quietly, we can began to feel more relaxed, also just focusing on our breathing helps alleviate symptoms of stress.
However, if we can develop our practise of meditation it can offer more than just relaxation. The nature of the mind is to offer judgement, criticism and analysis. When we are constantly judging things, ourselves and other people it is difficult to have peace of mind. The nature of the mind is to feel a sense of separativity. However, meditation enables us to go beyond the intellectual mind and enter into the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart is a term we can use for where our inner self or soul resides. The nature of the heart and soul is not to separate and criticise. The heartby nature identifies and feels a sense of oneness with other people and other things. Real meditation allows us to identify with our inner self and thus will not be subject to our usual myriad of never ending thoughts. Instead we will feel an expansion in our consciousness, we will feel inner peace and inner joy. The unusual feature of this kind of happiness is that it does not depend upon outer circumstances; this happiness is self generated, it comes from our own souls spontaneous joy. As Sri Chinmoysays:
True inner joy is self – created.
It does not depend on outer circumstances.
A river is flowing in and through you carrying the message of joy.
This divine joy is the sole purpose of life.
From: Wings of Joy by Sri Chinmoy
There is also a passage in the Upanishads that illuminates our real nature.
From Delight we came into existence.
In Delight we grow.
At the end of our journey’s close,
Into Delight we retire.
This passage is quite striking but maybe our instinctive reaction is to feel is how can this be? Rarely do we feel inner delight from life. However, meditation is a most effective tool that helps peel away our layers of ignorance so we can once more bring to the fore the light of our soul.
Benefits of Meditation over Time
Meditation is not like taking an instant fix. If we sit down to play the piano we cannot expect to play a Rachmaninov concerto at our first sitting, it takes practise. In this sense meditation is no different; the more we practise meditation then the greater the benefits that will occur. People often find that their first efforts of meditation are not particularly productive; we become aware that our mind is very restless (some liken it a mad monkey) However, if we practise exercises of concentration and meditation then our mind will lose its strength and we will begin to attain greater peace of mind.
But, meditation it is not just about spending a lot of time sitting still. There is nobody who will reward you for sitting in a chair for many hours every day. The most important thing is to meditate with enthusiasm and intensity. If we can focus wholeheartedly on our meditation then we will make the fastest progress.
Benefits of Meditation in our Daily Life
Another question often asked is whether meditation is practical? If we can attain peace of mind in our morning meditation then this peace will to some extent remain with us for the rest of the day. When we become more aware of our inner source of peace we will also be able to easily detach ourselves from minor irritations and minor problems. The mind can be tricky and exaggerate small problems into seemingly large and unconquerable problems. However, the fruits of meditation give us greater detachment and inner poise, this will naturally percolate into our daily lives, our friends and colleagues will also begin to notice this.
Ultimate Goal of Meditation
We can pursue meditation as far as we want. Many people may be satisfied with meditating for greater relaxation and peace of mind. However, if we want, meditation can be part of a spiritual quest which ultimately leads to the goal of ‘self realisation’, ‘nirvana‘ or ‘God Realisation‘ This is a concept that has been given various names by different religions and spiritual paths, but in essence ‘enlightenment’ or ‘self realisation’ occurs when we lose our sense of attachment to the individual ego and instead we become aware of our real nature which is inseparably one with the transcendental consciousness.
View: Writings on Nirvana and Samadhiby Sri Chinmoy
- Music for Meditation free meditation music
- Meditation: The Inner Teaching a talk on meditation by Sri Chinmoy
- Q.A on What Benefit can I get from Meditation?
External Pages on Benefits of Meditation
- Prisoners benefit from Meditation – News Item from the BBC
- Meditation Mapped in Monks – Benefits of meditation scientifically monitored
Andrew Newberg, a radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, US, told BBC World Service’s Discovery programme:
“I think we are poised at a wonderful time in our history to be able to explore religion and spirituality in a way which was never thought possible.”
“Perhaps that [spiritual] sense of reality is more accurate than our scientific everyday sense of reality”
Benefits of Meditation at Meditation Workshop