- A structured, step-by-step guide to meditation
- Techniques that anyone can learn
- Developing your power of concentration
- How to find – and keep – lasting inner peace
- The secret power of the heart to calm the busy mind
- Practical advice for work and life situations
- Breaking through negative emotions like anger and fear
- How to unfold your deepest spiritual self
Plus special sections where Sri Chinmoy answers over 100 questions on a wide range of experiences often encountered in meditation.
These teachings provide a map for the inner journey and a haven in which to find encouragement, instruction, enlightenment and peace. May this volume be an invaluable friend to you in your search for inner peace and spiritual fulfilment.
Chanting: mantra and japa
A mantra is an incantation. It can be a syllable, a word, a few words or a sentence. When you repeat a mantra many times, it is called japa. A mantra represents a particular aspect of God, and each mantra has a special significance and inner power.
If you cannot enter into your deepest meditation because your mind is restless, this is an opportunity to utilise a mantra. You can repeat Supreme or Aum or ‚God‘ for a few minutes. Also, if you get an attack on the emotional vital plane and wrong thoughts or wrong vibrations are entering into you, you can repeat Aum or the name of the Supreme. In this case try to do it as fast as possible. When you are trying to cleanse your mind of impurities, you must chant as if you were running to catch a moving train. During regular japa, however, just say the mantra in a normal but soulful way. But do not prolong it too much; otherwise, you will not have time to chant the five hundred or six hundred times that may be necessary.
The inner sound
During meditation sometimes seekers hear the sound of Aum, although they have not said it out loud and nobody in the room has chanted it out loud. This means that inwardly somebody has chanted Aum or is chanting it, and the meditation room has preserved the sound.
Chanting a mantra can be done while you are driving or walking along the street or standing in a public place. If you silently chant while walking along the street, you are not withdrawing; only you are trying to protect yourself from the unaspiring world. You are increasing your inner strength and inner capacity. Then, when you are inwardly strong, you will no longer have to chant; you can just move around and not be disturbed.
If you are trying to maintain a high consciousness when you are in a public place, it may be difficult for you to go deep within and bring peace to the fore. But even when you are surrounded by the noise and bustle of the outer world, you can easily bring forward a louder sound. This louder sound is not a destructive sound but one that contains indomitable power. It gives you a feeling of how potentially great and divine you are. If you can bring to the fore the divine inner sound, which comes from your heart, or if you can enter into that inner sound, then you will see that the outer noise of the world is no match for it. To your surprise, you will see that the sounds that disturbed you one minute ago will not bother you anymore. On the contrary, you will get a sense of achievement because instead of hearing noise you will hear divine music that is produced by your inner being.
I long to be lost
In my heart’s
EXERCISES — Using mantras
Stopping the mind.
There are quite a few ways to stop the mind. One way is to repeat the Name of God or a particular mantra which is a sacred word or incantation. When we repeat a mantra or God’s Name, there is a continuous flow. If what we are repeating is „God, God, God“ then inside the repetition itself we will forget ourselves and lose ourselves. Then the mind stops.
Purifying the breath.
Before you start your meditation, repeat Supreme about twenty times as fast as possible in order to purify your breath. Feel that you are really growing into the very Breath of God. Un- less and until the breath is purified, the mind will not remain one-pointed.
When a thought comes that is not pure, good or divine, immediately repeat the word Supreme very fast. The Supreme is my Guru, your Guru, everybody’s Guru. Repeat ‚Supreme very fast, and each time you use the word ‚Supreme, feel that you are creating a snake that will coil around the undivine thought and strangle it.
Another technique you can try uses alternate breathing. This is done by pressing the right nostril closed with the thumb and taking in a long breath through the left nostril. As you breathe in, repeat God’s Name once. Then hold your breath for four counts repeating God’s Name four times. And finally release your right nostril, press your left nostril closed with your fourth finger and release your breath to the count of two-that is, two repetitions of God’s Name. Then do it the opposite way, starting with the left nostril pressed closed. In this system, when you breathe in, it does not have to be done quietly. Even if you make noise, no harm. But of course, these exercises should not be done in public or where other people are trying to meditate in silence.
You should not do alternate breathing more than a few times. If you do it twenty or forty or fifty times, heat will rise from the base of your spine and enter into your head, creating tension and a headache. It is like eating too much. Eating is good, but if you eat voraciously, it will upset your stomach. This inner heat acts the same way. If you draw it up beyond your capacity, then instead of giving you a peaceful mind, it will give you an arrogant, turbulent and destructive mind. Later, when you have developed your inner capacity, you can do this alternate breathing for ten or fifteen minutes.
Life-energy from Aum.
When you chant Aum, please feel that life-energy, divine energy, is entering into you through your crown centre. The breath that you breathe in through the nose is very limited; but if you can imagine that there is a big hole in the top of your head and that life-energy, cosmic energy, is entering into your body through that big hole, then naturally you will be able to accelerate your purification and increase your aspiration and hunger for God, truth, light and bliss.