Why there is meditation in the world

 
Meditation has been practised for centuries. Its outer form changes with time and place but in essence it is always the same. It is the way of self-discovery − discovery of that fundamental aspect of our existence that does not change. This inner-self goes by different names according to who is doing the naming and for what purpose. Over time it has been called the Self, the soul, the inner nature, the heart, the ultimate reality, the being of mankind and many more names for what is constant − that indivisible certainty experienced as the feeling of ‘I am’. 

We are alerted to an awareness of this inner sense of being by questions like ‘Who am I; where have I come from; where am I going and what am I doing here?’ None of these are new. They are as old as mankind itself and can be approached in more ways than one. However, if all that one does is debate and discuss in the end there is rarely a complete resolution. Unless self-knowledge becomes practical − which in this context means made real − it has little lasting effect. Meditation is an age-old and well tested approach through which one can turn inquiry into something practical and lasting. It opens up a new and fresh outlook on life. This affects the way life is experienced and our responses to it. Doubt and frustration diminish, not because they disappear entirely but because such conditions can be seen for what they are − temporary and based on transient assumptions. This is the realm of insight rather than just the accumulation of ideas. From this perspective the heart feels warmer and daily life becomes fulfilling; enjoyment takes on a new meaning, action is more effective and experience feels new and fresh. Love and knowledge act in combination.

The method of meditation taught in the School comes from an ancient Indian tradition suitably adapted to the type of life being led in the modern world. Indeed, Mindfulness which is currently extremely popular, is based on the practice of meditation. Although the contact was made in India it is recognisable as being fundamentally the same as other methods originating in all parts of the world over the ages. Many meditators find that they had not fully understood their own cultural heritage until meditation gave it a global perspective in which apparent differences are reconciled.

Interest in meditation has been developing strongly over recent years and has steadily become recognised as a way of seeing and experiencing life more directly − without intervening preconceptions. The feeling it gives is like at last seeing the point of existence − and being happy with it. There is a slipping away of anxiety, which is replaced by a lasting sense of warmth towards our fellow humans and the entire natural world. Science is steadily acknowledging the role of meditation and consciousness and the resulting sense of well-being.

This method of meditation goes hand-in-hand with an age-old teaching from the same source – Advaita Vedanta – which is shared in the meetings and support groups that exist in the school. In this sense it really is a method of self-discovery that ultimately shows clearly what all the great traditions and wise words from the past say − that that same self lives in the hearts of all. In its most beautiful simplicity it is Being Oneself.