Chapter 2: How to Begin
This is the second chapter of Meditation: Man-Perfection in God Satisfaction by Sri Chinmoy.
From the spiritual point of view, every seeker is a beginner. A beginner is he who has the inner urge to grow into something ever more divine, ever more illumining and ever more fulfilling. The moment you want to make constant and continuous progress, the moment you want to surpass yourself and enter into the ever-transcending Beyond, at that moment you become an eternal beginner.
If you are an absolute beginner, then you can start by reading a few spiritual books or scriptures. These will give you inspiration. You should read books by spiritual Masters in whom you have implicit faith. There are Masters who have attained the highest consciousness, and if you read their books, you are bound to get inspiration. It is better not to read books written by professors or scholars or aspirants who are still on the path and have not yet attained illumination. Only those who have realised the Truth will have the capacity to offer the Truth. Otherwise, it is like the blind leading the blind.
It is also a good idea to associate with people who have been meditating for some time. These people may not be in a position to teach you, but they will be able to inspire you. Even if you just sit beside them while they are meditating, unconsciously your inner being will derive some meditative power from them. You are not stealing anything; only your inner being is taking help from them without your outer knowledge.
In the beginning you should not even think about meditation. Just try to set aside a certain time of day when you will try to be calm and quiet, and feel that these five minutes belong to your inner being and to nobody else. Regularity is of paramount importance. What you need is regular practice at a regular time.
Every day there is only one thing to learn:
how to be honestly happy.
Some basic exercises
For a beginner it is better to start with concentration. Otherwise, the moment you try to make your mind calm and vacant, millions of uncomely thoughts will enter into you and you will not be able to meditate even for one second. If you concentrate, at that time you challenge the wrong thoughts that are trying to enter you. So in the beginning just practise concentration for a few minutes. Then, after a few weeks or a few months, you can try meditation.
When you start meditating, always try to feel that you are a child. When one is a child, one's mind is not developed. At the age of twelve or thirteen, the mind starts functioning on an intellectual level. But before that, a child is all heart. A child feels that he does not know anything. He does not have any preconceived ideas about meditation and the spiritual life. He wants to learn everything fresh.
First feel that you are a child, and then try to feel that you are standing in a flower garden. This flower garden is your heart. A child can play in a garden for hours. He goes from this flower to that flower, but he does not leave the garden, because he gets joy from the beauty and fragrance of each flower. Feel that inside you is a garden, and you can stay in it for as long as you want. In this way you can learn to meditate in the heart.
If you can remain in the heart, you will begin to feel an inner cry. This inner cry, which is aspiration, is the secret of meditation. When an adult person cries, his cry is usually not sincere. But when a child cries, even if he is crying only for candy, he is very sincere. At that time, candy is the whole world for him. If you give him a hundred-dollar bill, he will not be satisfied; he cares only for candy. When a child cries, immediately his father or mother comes to him. If you can cry from deep within for peace, light and truth, and if this is the only thing that will satisfy you, then God your eternal Father and eternal Mother is bound to come and help you.
You should always try to feel that you are as helpless as a child. As soon as you feel that you are helpless, somebody will come to help you. If a child is lost in the street and he begins to cry, some kind-hearted person will show him where his home is. Feel that you are lost in the street and that there is a storm raging. Doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, insecurity and other undivine forces are pouring down on you. But if you cry sincerely, somebody will come to rescue you and show you how to get to your home, which is your heart. And who is that somebody? It is God, your Inner Pilot.
The Inner Pilot
God can appear with form and without form. But during your meditation, it is best to think of the Supreme as a human being.
The beginner should always meditate on the personal God. Otherwise, if you try to see God in His impersonal aspect, you will be confused by His immensity. So start with the personal God and from there you can go to the impersonal God.
Today you may be a beginner in the spiritual life, but do not feel that you will always be a beginner. At one time everybody was a beginner. If you practise concentration and meditation regularly, if you are really sincere in your spiritual search, then you are bound to make progress.
The important thing is not to be discouraged. God-realisation does not come overnight. If you meditate regularly and devotedly, if you can cry for God like a child cries for his mother, then you will not have to run to the goal. No, the goal will come and stand right in front of you and claim you as its own, very own.