Readings & Exercises
Up to now you have been meditating mostly with your eyes closed. This week you will practice concentration and meditation with your eyes open. By concentrating your mental focus on an object such as a candle or a flower, you will learn to anchor your mind and curb its tendency to wander.
Like many beginners, you may find that you are distracted by the everyday noises around you. There are a couple of ways to deal with this problem:
- You could go into a soundproof room every time you meditate—not very practical!
- Meditate early in the morning when there is less going on in the world.
Learn to integrate noises into your meditation by allowing them to pass by—the best solution of all, because then you will be able to meditate anytime, anywhere, no matter what is going on around you.
Learning to detach yourself from noises takes time and practice. But once you can detach yourself from noises and meditate with your eyes open, you will possess a powerful tool to change your consciousness at a moment’s notice. And once you can change your own consciousness, you will also have a positive effect on the consciousness of those around you.
Let’s look at a brief example to see what a powerful effect your consciousness can have on the world. Imagine for a moment that you have just arrived at work half an hour late after fighting traffic for an hour. You’re in a really bad mood, and as a result you yell at your co-worker Joe for no reason. (Yes, we know that this would never happen to you, but just imagine for now.) Now Joe is in a bad mood. Joe goes home and yells at his wife, who yells at the kids, who in turn yell at the dog. The next day Joe’s family takes their anger out on others, and soon your one action has negatively impacted a large number of people.
Now imagine that you have just arrived at work a half hour late after fighting traffic for an hour, but this time you meditate for a few moments to bring peace and harmony into your being. You smile at Joe and say something to brighten up his day. He goes home, hugs his wife and kids, and pets the dog. They all feel loved, and the next day they spread this love - which started with you - to the people around them. This circle of love spreads until your consciousness has had a positive impact on a great many people.
If it sounds simple, that’s because it is.
You and I create the world
By the vibrations that we offer to the world.
- Sri Chinmoy
All readings and exercises are taken from Meditation: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction, a collection of hundreds of extemporaneous talks and answers to questions by Sri Chinmoy, given over the past thirty-five years. Interspersed are some of his inspirational poems and aphorisms.
Meditation: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction can also be obtained from Heart-Light Distributors, a leading source for the books and music of Sri Chinmoy.
- In Meditation, read Chapter 4 and Chapter 6 up to and including exercise 5 on pages 72-73. Read these chapters carefully to fully familiarize yourself with the techniques to still the mind.
Now that you are familiar with breathing exercises, we can introduce some concentration exercises. Because you have progressed in your meditation practice, you don’t have to continue all of your Week 1 exercises. Start with your two favorite breathing exercises from Week 1. Once you have calmed your mind and body with your breathing exercises, begin the concentration exercises from Week 2.
Your longing to grow into a higher and more fulfilling reality is your aspiration. While you are practicing the exercises this week, we recommend you try folding your hands with palms together, fingers straight and facing upward with the base of your thumbs gently touching your heart—as if in prayer. This physical act will remind you of what you are doing spiritually, and will actually intensify both your aspiration and your meditation.
Chapter 6, pages 64-66, 72 (10-15 min)
As always, ensure you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably at your meditation shrine with your back straight. Light the candle and some incense, and play the meditation tape softly.
- (5 min) Practice the two breathing exercises you selected from Week 1.
- (3 min) Read pages 64-65, beginning with the section entitled “The soul’s indomitable will.” Try this exercise for several minutes with your eyes partially open.
- (3 min) Read the next section, entitled “Concentrating from the heart,” and practice this for several minutes.
- (3 min) Finally, turn to page 72 and try exercise 5, “The inner flower.”
- Don’t forget to log your experiences in your journal.
Chapter 6, exercises 1-4, pages 69-72 (10-15 min)
• During the week you can also practice these concentration exercises to help you expand your skills and to discover the techniques you prefer most. We each have our own unique way of meditating, and through your regular practice the methods which work best for you will slowly emerge.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act,
But a habit.