What is good Meditation
When learning to meditate seekers often ask. "how do we know when we are meditating well." This is a good question to ask because for a beginner it is difficult to know what to expect. Meditation can lead to profound experiences, for example Hindu scriptures give details about various states of meditation known as Samadhi in which a seeker may lose all sense of personal identity.
However a beginner should not really think about these elevated states. Although everyone has the capacity to attain such states. in practical terms in takes many years if not lifetimes of practise. If we harbour expectations of attaining enlightenment in a very short space of time then are meditation will never be fruitful.
However generally speaking a good meditation is about feeling better, raising your consciousness. We do not rely on others and outer things for happiness we get an inner joy that comes spontaneously. If you have a good meditation you will have a positive view of life. You will feel better about yourself and also others. Meditating well involves bypassing the critical mind, instead we try to bring the qualities of the heart to the fore. The heart by nature does not judge but identifies with others. We will have a feeling of sympathetic understanding with others. In our very highest meditation we get an unmistakable feeling that the heart of the world is good. Despite the world's teeming imperfections we feel these forces are only temporary. As Sri Chinmoy says:
"If you have a good feeling for the world, if you see the world in a loving way in spite of its teeming imperfections, then you will know that your meditation was good."
Meditation could appear to be a selfish activity because it is only we who benefit. However when we have a good meditation instinctively we feel it is an experience we share with others. Meditation connects us to the universal self we lose our limited ego perspective and a wider sense of identity. This oneness and wider sense of identity gives us a glimpse in to the nature of real divine love.
Meditation gives us a sense of peace. People sometimes associate peace with silence and a passive quality. Real inner peace certainly embodies silence, at least silence from the mind. But peace also embodies a dynamic quality; peace has its own energy. Again the peace we feel is something that we feel we need to share with others. gives us a sense of real gratitude. Through meditation we feel our consciousness uplifted and therefore feel a genuine unconditional sense of gratitude to the source. Sri Chinmoy says of gratitude "Gratitude means self-offering to one's highest self. Your gratitude is not going ot somebody else; it is going to your own highest self. Gratitude helps you identify and feel your oneness with your own highest reality."
Gratitude can be very helpful so it is useful to try to cultivate this feeling before and after meditation.
Even if we don't experience anything particularly striking in meditation we should not be disillusioned. If we are drawn to meditation every day this shows that we are getting something valuable. Our soul is been drawn to meditate every day and this is like being fed inwardly. This is a good sign each day we are able to make progress even if the signs of progress may not be highly visible.
R. Pettinger is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre in Oxford. He helps to give free meditation classes where he teaches the basics of meditation focusing on Sri Chinmoy's teachings of meditating on the spiritual heart.
He edits a website about Sri Chinmoy
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