Meditation Begets Spiritual Wellness

Almost all books on spiritual development, psychological and now physical self-help and wellness, include some discussion of meditation. This ancient art has re-emerged for our ‘new era,’ its benefits widely recognized. Paramahansa Yogananda describes meditation as, “ . . . the most practical science in the world. Most people would want to meditate if they understood its value and experienced its beneficial effects.” Mind-body techniques are making inroads even into the corporate studies, which suggest strong links between mental attitudes and physical health.

The reasoning behind this practice is simple but potent—as revolutionary as the yeast in three measures of flour by the woman in Matthew 13:33. If we devote a few minutes daily attuning to God’s word, we can change. Note the word “can.” As we change, so does the world. Nothing dramatic is needed, just the daily smoothing of the sharp edges of selfishness and ego.

Ideas that emerge, new perceptions, emotional and mystical experiences, sensory responses—all are incidental phenomena.
Then an attitude forms within us that permeates our reality, so we may strive to live in high consciousness daily. In the beginning, we may comprehend intellectually little of what happens, but we can experience now and find explanations later. We realize we become enriched, uplifted, and blessed by spiritual experiences, even after years of personal practice. Awe-inspiring wisdom remains lightly veiled until we are ready.

As we prepare for this intimate journey, we start with fundamentals. Our attitude toward meditation is vital. We must eliminate thoughts of success or failure and allow a variation in what we encounter and feel from day to day. Ideas that emerge, new perceptions, emotional and mystical experiences, sensory responses—all are incidental phenomena. Their occurrence, or lack of occurrence, is not as important as engaging in the continuing process. Our experiences fluctuate in intensity according to how we feel, our physical energy, and demands on our time. “Doing” is all the success we need. I often say, “Just put yourself in posture.” Whatever we experience at the time is enough.

A great challenge to the practice of meditation is that we must dedicate valuable time to it. A second challenge is that it looks as though we are not doing anything. We think of our chores and falsely believe we cannot “just sit here.” We much believe we are, in fact, doing something. The effects of meditation are real—just out of sight. Consistent practice depends upon our knowing it has value and that it is accomplishing something.

As we change, so does the world.
Find an area to call your own, and dedicate it to your spiritual work. Be comfortable enough to sit for 15 to 30 minutes in a chair, on a bench, or in the lotus position. Sit straight rather than leaning back. Good posture is basic for deep relaxation. Allow yourself to become an antenna, vibrant with energy. We want to attune the physical body to be receptive to the energy we contact. Feel the altered state begin. This is a gradual process—allow it to happen.

Be prepared for resistance from the physical body. It is accustomed to the conscious mind constantly trying to fulfill its needs. Every part will itch, hurt or need to wiggle. We must handle the body gently and patiently, as though dealing with a young child, perhaps directing a few words or thoughts to the body to help it adjust. If you are accustomed to sitting quietly, the body will usually have less difficulty.

For many, it is the mind that revolts and will not be still. Repeated calming work teaches ego it is safe to rest, to trust, to learn, or, as we hear so often today, to “go with the flow.”

The effects of meditation are real—just out of sight.
Learning to be centered then involves calming the active side of the self and becoming increasingly sensitive to the subtle self, whom we may never have met. Passive in nature, this quiet self awaits until invoked. Allow the sense of soul energy—love in its truest sense, Lots of Vital Energy—to flow into the personality, clearing and cleansing, that personality might be molded to its soul purpose.

As the inflow of energy blesses the personality, it reaches every level of our nature. The body is touched by the energy—centering, aligning, and healing. We bless the body, directing healing energy to wherever the need may be. Allow the love you contact to permeate your body. See it as light moving from cell to cell, from organ to organ and system to system. Bless your body, and thank it for the service it gives.

Adopt and use a closing gesture—perhaps bringing your palms together, a slight bow of respect, and closing word: Shanti, Shalom, Amen, or another word of your choice. Feeling refreshed by your inner contact, celebrate the joy of peace and high consciousness.
Excerpted from Volume 1, Adventure in Meditation—Spirituality for the 21st Century

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