Meditation is the act of coming to rest by disengaging from physical and mental activities while remaining in a wakeful state of awareness. In meditation, we have an opportunity to take a break from the incessant activity and habitual “doing” that often consumes and defines our lives. By coming to rest physically and mentally, we can begin to observe and uncover a depth and calmness of being.
With regular practice, meditation provides the master key to our well-being — unlocking our true potential and enabling us to meet the world with renewed energy, authenticity, wisdom, creativity, compassion and equanimity. The remarkable benefits of meditation include an expanded sense of awareness, clarity of thought, lasting peace and happiness, as well as an understanding of our innate ability to resolve the challenges of everyday life.
In the School, a traditional system of mantra meditation is made available to all students who have taken Philosophy Works followed by the Foundation Courses. Seated comfortably in a balanced and upright position, the activities of the mind and body are brought under observation, and then allowed to fall away as the attention is directed to the sound of the mantra. This results in an experience of quiet stillness. Remaining still and listening to the sound of the mantra is all that is required. The rest unfolds naturally.
The introduction to meditation is marked by a simple, dignified ceremony. Students are asked to present traditional offerings of fruit, flowers and a gift of money that is used solely for making meditation available throughout North America. Following the introduction, ongoing assistance is offered in the form of one-on-one tutorials and classroom discussions.
Meditation fosters detachment, which allows one to gradually see that “I am not these busy thoughts I am not this constant, restless activity — I am not these negative feelings and ideas.” As a result of meditation, everyday work and activities become more balanced. Moments of calm accumulate, bringing comfort and satisfaction. Mood swings are not as frequent, and self-criticism is set aside. The energy available for work increases and one notices an ability to stay connected to the work at hand.
Modern medicine and neuroscience have been able to verify and validate the positive effects that meditation can have in our lives. These days many people use meditation as a tool to alleviate stress, strengthen memory and enhance good decision-making. The wise have described meditation as the journey home — to be oneself.