Below are a selection of Sri Chinmoy’s answers to frequently asked questions on meditation.
Question: What is meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: Meditation is like going to the bottom of the sea, where everything is calm and tranquil. On the surface there may be a multitude of waves, but the sea is not affected below. In its deepest depths, the sea is all silence. When we start meditating first we try to reach our own inner existence that is to say, the bottom of the sea. Fear, doubt, worry and all the earthly turmoils will just wash away, because inside us is solid peace. Thoughts cannot touch us, because our mind is all peace, all silence, all oneness. Like fish in the sea, they jump and swim but leave no mark. So when we are in our highest meditation we feel that we are the sea, and the animals in the sea cannot affect us. We feel that we are the sky, and all the birds flying past cannot affect us. Our mind is the sky and our heart is the infinite sea. This is meditation. Inside Eternity is the moment; again, inside the moment is Eternity. It is like the ocean. Inside the ocean are countless tiny drops. Again, each tiny drop holds the essence of the vast ocean. We take a drop and immediately we have the consciousness of the vast ocean, because the drop embodies the vast ocean. And so each moment cannot be separated from Eternity and Infinity. Meditation is the only way to feel the oneness of the finite with the Infinite.
Question: What can I do to still my mind during meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: The most important thing is practice. As many times as the mind comes to you, just chase it away or deliberately place your conscious awareness on something else. If you allow it to distract you, it will only gain strength. Concentration paves the way for meditation by making the mind calm and quiet. When you want to practice concentration, you should choose something that gives you immediate joy. Select something that is very beautiful, divine or pure, like a flower or a candle flame. Concentrate on the smallest point possible. Try to breathe in as slowly and as quietly as possible, so that if you placed a tiny thread in front of your nose it would not even move. Then you will see that your meditation will be deep and your mind will be very calm and quiet. Then you can imagine something very vast, calm and quiet. When you start meditating, feel that inside you is a vast ocean and that you have dived to the bottom, where it is all tranquility. If you can identify yourself with this vast ocean, with this flood of tranquility, then it will be extremely easy for you to meditate.
Question: How do I know if I am meditating properly?
Sri Chinmoy: If you are meditating properly, you will get spontaneous inner joy. If peace, light, love or joy have come to the fore from within as a result of your meditation, then you will know that you have meditated well. Also, if you have a good feeling for the world, if you see the world in a loving way in spite of its teeming imperfections, then you will know that your meditation was good. And if you have a dynamic feeling right after meditation, if you feel that you have come into the world to do something and become something, this indicates that you have done a good meditation. There is another way also that you can know. If you are actually entering into a higher plane, you will feel that your whole body is becoming very light. If it is a really high meditation, you will feel that your whole existence, like a divine bird, is soaring high, higher, highest. While you are having this feeling there will be no sad thoughts, no frustrating thoughts and no doubt.
Question: Why do we have to meditate every day?
Sri Chinmoy: It is very simple. Every day you eat; that is how you live on earth. You cannot live on the food you ate yesterday. Similarly, the divine child in us also needs nourishment every day. Every day you have to feed the soul. Meditation means the conscious feeding of the soul. If we eat every day, we become very strong because of our regular nourishment. So also when we meditate every day the soul is being nourished.
The way to become happy
Is to think and feel
That the very best
Is yet to come.
– Sri Chinmoy
Question: How can we meditate better each time?
Sri Chinmoy: You know that each time you take exercise your muscles become stronger and stronger. If you can do one push-up one day, the next day you will try to make it two push-ups, and then you go on and on increasing daily. You come to thirty or forty push-ups. Then a time will come when you can do fifty. Let us say fifty is your maximum, that is your highest. Then what will happen? The light of the Inner Pilot will allow you to make it fifty-one.
~ Sri Chinmoy