Week 4: Living a Meditative Life


Self-mastery
And God-discovery
Are the only two things
That each human being on earth
Must take seriously.
Everything else
Can be taken lightly.

- Sri Chinmoy


Goals

In this fourth and final week you will:

  • Learn how the power of mantra can help your meditation.
  • Learn how the power of words can improve the quality of your life.
The Power of Words

You’ve come a long way in the last three weeks. We hope by now you are feeling more comfortable with meditation. This week you will be continuing all of your exercises from Week 3, plus you’ll be adding one more important technique: mantra.

Simply put, mantra is the repetition of a word or a phrase. Traditionally, mantras are specific words or phrases that invoke or embody some spiritual power. In a broader sense, any word or phrase that you use on a habitual basis is a kind of mantra. In either case, the power of mantra comes from repetition and from the qualities of the words themselves. Therefore the effect of the mantra on your consciousness depends on how often you repeat the mantra and the words you use. If you use positive, spiritual, uplifting words, your life will be positively affected. If you use negative words, your life will be negatively affected.

This week you’ll be trying a few traditional mantras during your meditation, using spiritual words that contain tremendous power. But you need not limit your use of mantra to meditation. Mantras can be used any time you need them. For example, if you are feeling stressed out and you are in a situation where you can’t meditate, you can always silently chant a mantra.


If you make a mistake
In spite of your best intentions,
Remember this mantra:
“The past is dust.”

- Sri Chinmoy
 


 

Tips for a Meditative Life

Does this mean you need to drastically change your life within the next ten minutes? No. Your own meditation will naturally, gradually, and gently make the necessary changes in your life. In fact, you may have noticed some of these changes already.

However, you can encourage and accelerate the process by consciously engaging your body, mind, heart, and soul in sup-port of your meditation. There are countless things you can do; here are a few suggestions:

  • Exercise: By cleansing and strengthening your body and mind, exercise can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your meditation.
  • Diet: Many people who meditate find a vegetarian diet to be especially beneficial, from both a physical and a spiritual point of view. To learn more about the relationship between a vegetarian diet and meditation, see pages 29-30 of Meditation.
  • Inspirational Reading: Many other spiritual seekers have passed this way before us, and their writings are a valuable source of inspiration, consolation, and direction. Try to make inspirational readings a regular part of your mental diet.
  • Music: Music is a universal language that speaks directly to our heart and soul. Try to surround yourself with meditative music—in your car, at work, at home, even while going to sleep. Singing and playing meditative music can have a mantric effect. Your HomeStudy instructor can provide you with sheet music for easy-to-learn spiritual songs written by Sri Chinmoy.
  • Spiritual Friendship: Friends provide strength in our moments of need and affirmation in our moments of joy. That’s why it is so important to have friends who live a meditative lifestyle, and can share in your experiences as you progress in your own meditation. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to enjoy group meditation—if the group is practicing a form of meditation harmonious with your own. The collective energy and inspiration of the group will be an invaluable aid to your own meditation practice.