Maestro Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007) was an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, artist, author and meditation teacher whose haunting melodies captivated audiences worldwide in the almost 800 hundred free Peace Concerts he performed around the globe, all of them free of charge, in the belief that the inner peace and happiness he sought to convey through music was everyone’s birthright. He played at many prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House and also performed at Auditoriums, Universities and Schools, any places he thought maybe receptive to spiritual and peaceful music. “Music will play a most important role in bringing about world oneness,” Sri Chinmoy commented. “For music embodies the Universal Heart, the Oneness-Heart .” We are proud to continue that self-giving tradition by offering our Perth concert free of charge.
Music for the Inner Journey offers listeners the chance to be uplifted and enchanted with his compositions. He composed over 20,000 devotional songs during his lifetime and the concert features accomplished world musicians performing classical and contemporary arrangements of some of these songs. Together the performers have put together an evening that will create a richly diverse and inspirational experience.
Holland’s Vapushtara Jongepier began playing piano at age 6. He studied piano and jazz at a conservatory in the Netherlands and began performing the music of Sri Chinmoy in 1995. Vapushtara has orchestrated a number of major musical works of Sri Chinmoy as conductor of the international Gandharva Loka Orchestra.
Alap Jetzer is a Swiss award-winning multi-instrumentalist and new age musician who specialises in creating haunting melodies on duduk, an ancient Armenian double reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood.
Adarsha Kelly, from Glasgow Scotland, is an accomplished vocal performer who has sung in concerts around the world. An online website streaming his music has written: “Adarsha’s singing is something to be felt; it resonates in your entire being, until it reaches your heart’s core. Once there, it breaks open the door and moves you in your very depths.”
Monk Party is a father and son duo consisting of session musician Pragunya Myers-Daly and son Nelson. They have emerged as one of the best outfits of their world music genre around. NZ Musician Magazine has written: “It may be devotional, ancient, hauntingly Middle Eastern and involve (Indian) mantras, but ultimately it is timeless and true World music. Recommended if you’re trying to lead a better and calmer life.”
Monk Party uses a number of instruments darbuka, riq, frame drums, badhran, cajón, pennywhistle, nylon guitar, gongs, bansuri flute and Vocals. Pragunya has become an expert at the oud and it is heard in many of the songs. Nelson has been playing on world music instruments since he was four. “I was never pushed into to playing music but rather I learnt music like a language by always being around it and being absorbed in it,” he says. “Pragunya had a wide variety of types of music he played and listened to which has really helped colour my approach to creating art.”
They have performed in North America and Europe and collaborated with Krishna Das. Monk Party (and yes they are monks, practicing daily meditation to keep themselves in a creative flow),
Overall all the performers are offering music for meditation. Meditation Music is really helpful in helping to quieten the mind, still thoughts and experience meditation. The artists are touring throughout Australasia with the Perth concert on Thursday 14 November at 7pm at the Octagon Theatre of UWA. The concert is free so come along and be inspired with the uplifting sounds of the international guest musicians and be filled with inner peace. “Only soulful music gives wings to the heart,” says Sri Chinmoy. Reserve your tickets and hear samples of the performers at www.innermusic.org or phone 61614156 more registration also and more information.
Much of the hard work of learning to meditate is done in the preliminary stages. After you have learnt how to sit and breathe correctly, it is time to perfect the art of concentration. Sri Chinmoy explains it like this:“All along the route to our destination are doubt-trees, insecurity-trees, hesitation-trees, anxiety-trees and worry-trees. They are lying across the road blocking our path. Concentration clears the road of these obstacles. It transforms doubt into faith, insecurity into security and so forth. Everything discouraging becomes encouraging and helpful as we move towards our destination. And that is only the first step. After concentration clears the road of confusion, meditation will purify and illumine our mind so that we see that the goal is not only right in front of us but also within us.”
There are many exercises to help you concentrate. One of our favourite guided meditations is this:
Place a lighted candle on a table in front of you.
Settle into a comfortable position with your spine upright. You can be seated on the floor or in a chair. Your hands can be on your knees or in your lap.
Breathe slowly and very softly.
To begin with, just gaze at the candle as a whole until your breathing establishes a gentle rhythm.
Now focus your attention only on the tiny candle flame. Make sure you are not staring or straining your eyes. If you can keep them half closed, that will help you to keep the candle flame in your field of vision and not be aware of your surroundings. Remember, concentration is one-pointed awareness. It does not look sideways or backwards.
Feel that there is an arc of golden light connecting your spiritual heart and the flame. Each time you breathe in, you are receiving light from the flame, and each time you breathe out, you are offering your existence to the flame.
You will feel that the flame has a living presence. Perhaps you will even feel that it represents your own existence—always reaching higher and higher, soaring upwards.
Try to dwell in that state of union with the light of the candle for 5 or 10 minutes. Then gradually become aware of your surroundings again and relax.
Concentration, Meditation and Contemplation: The Three Rungs
Sri Chinmoy says that concentration, meditation and contemplation are like the three rungs of a ladder. “First comes concentration, then comes meditation and then comes contemplation. They are like three rungs of a ladder. First you concentrate, then you meditate and then you contemplate. If any of the rungs are missing, you may lose your footing. When you concentrate, you try to focus your one-pointed attention on a small object. Then, like a bullet or an arrow, your concentration-power tries to penetrate into the object. Meditation is totally different. Meditation is vastness. In meditation you are dealing with the vast sky or the vast sea—anything that is larger than the largest. In meditation, you try to make your mind calm, quiet, tranquil and vacant so that you can become one with the Vast. When you are concentrating, you are concentrating on the smallest possible thing. Like an arrow, you are trying to pierce the veil of ignorance. When you are meditating, you are dealing with what is vaster than the vastest. All around you are seeing Infinity.”
You can see and hear some more words on concentration on this short video and also see Sri Chinmoy meditating.
It makes sense: to do well in sport, work and meditation or anything for that matter you need focus, clarity and concentration; skills that can be learnt through formal practice. Someone who achieves a lot in the corporate world for example often has focus, concentration, drive and dedication in boundless measure. But it is the spiritual qualities—peace, joy, poise, patience and compassion—that provide true, lasting satisfaction and will change ourselves the world for the better. To get inner peace you need to control the mind. Concentration is a formulatory step in doing this. It’s a precursor to meditation and a practical skill relevant to our day to day lives.
So What is Concentration? How Can You Stop Procrastinating?
Concentration is being focused, one pointed, alert, vigilant. Not letting anything distract you from your task at hand. Musicians will practice for hours. Gardeners forget time and will spend time in that meditative flow tending to their plants. Good meditators will have the concentration to focus for long periods and it is almost apparent in professional athletes. I recall watching a tennis professional receiving serve. They had exactly the same look of focus as meditation class members do when they try concentration. The eyes half open, all concentration, relaxed yet perfectly alert. Concentrate well and we can achieve anything. Poorly and we are easily distracted and take hours or days to do something that could take a few moments. Our performance is hindered.
Many great sportsmen talk about moments of absolute conviction before a major victory or event. They feel at peace with the race, game or task ahead. Nothing is forced and as a result, victory or achievement just flows. Olympic great Carl Lewis concentrated and meditated before his big races. Unusual because one hundred metre sprinters are known for hyping themselves up into almost manic states. They walk around behind the blocks, lapping the air with their tongues and generally firing themselves up, but not King Carl. He focused his mind and energies by meditating. One technique he used was focusing on the furthest sound he could hear. Whatever he did worked. He won nine Olympic track and field gold medals, broke numerous world records in the 100 metres and long jump, still has one of the world’s fastest splits for a relay leg and never false started.
“I would start 100 metres and the person would say, come to your mark, and I would get down to my mark and then I would clear my mind,” says Lewis. “Just go quiet and try to listen for the farthest sound away from you. I had generally the fastest reaction time of any of the athletes because I would clear my mind and listen for the gun. Just having my peace, where it all stops and you’re just aware of where you need to be. I think there’s a source of strength in that silence because the 100 metres is the ultimate dichotomy—it’s total relaxation and explosion. Every record I set, I knew it was a record because it was the easiest race I ran.”
“Concentration means inner vigilance and alertness,” says Sri Chinmoy. “There are thieves all around us and within us. Fear, doubt, worry and anxiety are inner thieves that are trying to steal our inner poise and peace of mind. When we learn how to concentrate, it is very difficult for these forces to enter into us. If doubt enters into our mind, the power of concentration will tear doubt to pieces. If fear enters into our mind, the power of concentration will chase away our fear….Concentration is the surest way to reach our goal, whether the goal is God-realisation or merely the fulfillment of human desires. A real aspirant sooner or later acquires the power of concentration either through the Grace of God, through constant practice or through his own aspiration.”
Concentration can definitely be practised and cultivated. Don’t despair if you have poor concentration. Spend some time working on it and it will gradually improve. One method Sri Chinmoy recommended was meditation on a black dot. Sounds strange but it’s not really. It is such a simple thing. It is easy to notice when your wandering mind interferes and intrusive thoughts interfere taking away from your concentration on the dot. Below is a black dot. Paste it onto a sheet of paper, print it out (don’t try it on a computer screen) and give it a go.
Below are Sri Chinmoy’s instructions on the concentration exercise using just a simple black dot.
“First wash your face and eyes properly with cold water. Then make a black dot on the wall at eye level. Stand facing the dot, about ten inches away, and concentrate on it. After a few minutes, try to feel that when you are breathing in, your breath is actually coming from the dot, and that the dot is also breathing in, getting its breath from you. Try to feel that there are two persons: you and the black dot. Your breath is coming from the dot and its breath is coming from you. In ten minutes, if your concentration is very powerful, you will feel that your soul has left you and entered into the black dot on the wall. At this time try to feel that you and your soul are conversing. Your soul is taking you into the soul’s world for realisation, and you are bringing the soul into the physical world for manifestation. In this way you can develop your power of concentration very easily. But this method has to be practised. There are many things which are very easy with practice, but just because we do not practise them we do not get the result.”
In our free meditation classes we try a number of other exercises using eyes open concentration methods. Candles for example, are effective to practise concentration. We also do other breathing concentration exercises and offer a lot of practical advice. So visit our calendar for our latest activities, meditation classes and seminars in Perth, Western Australia or phone 61614156.
This weekend’s meditation workshop in Perth with Kishore Cunningham was a great success and really got into what meditation actually involves. The free event held at Subiaco attracted a large crowd. On the Saturday there wasn’t a seat left in the house and Sunday was also extremely well attended.
The meditation class on day two.
Kishore talked about the role of meditation in day to day life. “How can we make this part of our daily life with our busy lifestyles?” One seeker asked. “The first thing to realise,” replied Kishore, “is that meditation is really enjoyable. Sitting peacefully inside yourself is really rewarding. Learning to silence the mind and to stop thoughts to dive deeper within, you’ll want to do it every day.”
Interspersed with meditation music and visual presentations, the event was unique. The video on Saturday that was produced went through the evolution of the soul. A human beings constant march forwards for progress. Meditation on the heart was explained. Avoiding the constant noise of the mind is easier when we operate from the heart and Kishore mentioned that it is like turning on a switch. We go from our mental worries and thoughts to the heart, where we experience oneness and love.
The Sunday touched on practical guidance and techniques. The first exercise was a guided visualisation using the breath. Imagination incorporates the higher or more illumining aspects of the mind which can actually help us in meditation. We imagined the breath coming from the universe or cosmos around us and breathed out any intruding thoughts or stress or worries. The audio visual content on Sunday displayed a lineage of spiritual masters and teachers and the messages they offer to world at the large and their role in teaching meditation and spirituality to the world at large. It was very inspiring and the crowd enjoyed a large free afternoon tea cooked by volunteers. Plenty of sweets and great herbal teas.
So what does meditation involve? According to Kishore the first ultimate goal is to silence the mind but initially we have to just aim at diminishing thoughts. He explained, “I have been meditating for 45 years and to be frank, I have only really entered into the higher states of meditation with no thoughts at all about twice,” he said, to the quiet chuckles of the attentive audience. He was keeping our expectations in check and encouraging regular practice, one of the keys of meditation. Sitting upright, avoiding eating before meditation, attending a regular meditation group were some of the more practical tips given. He sang a mantric song composed by Sri Chinmoy and then the audience joined in chanting ‘Shanti,’ the peace mantra. The second exercise was a concentration exercise. “Concentration automatically expands into meditation. If we concentrate on a candle flame we can identify with it. Concentration means identification. The heart can easily do this as it has the quality of oneness,” said Kishore. The audience was encouraged to sit at arm’s length from a candle at home, which wasn’t feasible in such a large meditation class. So a candle was placed on a beautiful holder around 40 centimeters high so everyone could see it. We were then guided to rest our gentle gaze on the flame without staring to hard. Keeping the eyes half open and half closed many of the meditation class members had great experiences of concentration and meditation and they were happy to share them afterwards. The table with a large selection of meditation books and meditation music CD’s was descended upon afterwards as was the remaining cakes and cookies!
The how to meditate books and meditation music CD’s
The whole weekend was very inspirational and fitting as well. There are further free meditation classes and workshops in the Perth area and the audience was invited to attend these meditation classes to find out more about meditation and its benefits. Also much of the music performed and composed specifically for the video productions was by Monk Party, father and son duo from New Zealand who will be visiting later in the year as part of a larger concert of meditation music.
The Sri Chinmoy Centre runs regular sessions offering practical advice on what is involved to meditate. All the classes are free and offered as a community service. Visit the calendar or phone 61614156 to inquire about a free meditation class nearby. We use a variety of locations north of the river and south of the river throughout the year. We also sell incense, meditation books and meditation music at the classes which everyone seems to like.
Music and meditation cannot be separated. If the artist is in a meditative or high consciousness it flows through the music adding to your meditation. Conversely if the artist is in a negative consciousness it will enter the music. No matter how melodic the piece is it will effect your meditation. That is why it is important to find some meditation music that elevates you and uplifts you. “Naturally, undivine music will immediately lower the consciousness,” said Sri Chinmoy, who played over 800 free Peace Concerts around the world. “But if divine music is played during deep meditation, it enhances the meditation. Soulful music will immediately help in elevating the consciousness. This is why we play music from time to time in our Centre…So, if you are fond of music, then please play soulful songs or chants during your meditations at home. Soft, soulful music will definitely help you.”
It is nice to meditate in silence also but meditation music can create ambience and block out some of the disturbing outside noise. There are many ways to use music to meditate to also. You can imagine you are a bird flying on each note of the music, being carried upwards and inwards in a vast sky. My friend who initially didn’t like music in conjunction with his meditation one day sat down determined to utilise it. He put on Sri Chinmoy’s organ music. It is very different. Powerful, inspirational and extemporaneous with no melody. He imagined that his body was a speaker and music was coming out of him. Two hours later he finished one of the best meditations of his life. You can also listen to uplifting music of a more dynamic type if you want to meditate while walking or running.
“Music keeps us alive. The sweetness and the haunting quality of music teaches us how to behave properly. Our inner music does not allow us to create disharmony. Music gives us the feeling of sweetness, tenderness and softness. The inner music always inspires us to do something good for humanity. Our inner music is a form of prayer and meditation,” says Sri Chinmoy.
A list of seven meditation music groups, meditation music performers or meditation music albums.
Sri Chinmoy: a master at meditation and a truly gifted spiritual musician. I have listened to Flute Music for Meditation around one thousand times and it is still inspiring. Nearly all the meditation class givers in Perth will play it at least once during the meditation class series.
Aum Ocean Meditation: Featuring the flute of Premik Russell Tubbs, the ocean in the background and Sri Chinmoy chanting Aum it is a frequent best seller.
Agnikana’s Group: We hosted this mainly Czech female group in Perth. Their music is outstanding and beautiful. You can listen for free on the link.
Monk Party: A professional father and son New Zealand duo that get better with each album (pictured). Their music is dynamic. Great for yoga, running, meditation, chanting, kirtan or driving.
Alap Jetzer: Playing new age meditation music long before it was fashionable, Alap often makes his own musical instruments.
Ananda: this British male meditation group have made their album free with mantric music notation available to boot!
Krishna Das: Playing devotional music, Krishna Das is a premier Kirtan performer and world renowned with his classic call and response chants.
The Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre teaches many different forms of meditation based on the teachings of Sri Chinmoy. Music features in some of the classes along with mantra. Music and mantra can help you focus and bring forward your inner peace. Particularly helpful if you have a busy mind. Visit our class calendar pages to find out when the next free meditation classes (both evening and weekend) are on both North and South of the River or phone 61614156 for more information.
To get started and begin with meditation you can do a number of things. Most of the tips for meditation below are practical meditation hints and others are spiritual meditation hints. The main thing is to start. Do not worry to much if you can’t meditate at first. Get some regularity in your practice without expecting to much and eventually you will learn to silence the mind and experience meditation. As you get better at meditation you can try it in different scenarios: meditate while running, cooking and so on. But to begin with just stick with the basics.
Tips to Begin Meditation
Avoid eating before meditation: you will just feel sleepy, restless and lethargic if you eat before meditation. Ideally you want to be alert and vigilant.
Freshen up, have a shower, get in some clean clothes: again this helps you feel alert and refreshed. Have some specific meditation clothes if you are really keen. Loose, comfortable clothing works best.
Set up a shrine or set up a meditation area: an area inside that you keep sacred, tranquil and spiritual. Decorate your shrine or meditation area with a nice cloth, fresh flowers, a candle, anything that inspires you.
Burn incense, play some spiritual music in the background. Neither are necessary but if you like them go for it or…
Meditate in silence: make sure your meditation area is somewhere quiet and free from noise as much as possible.
Avoid lying down if you can: remember falling asleep or drifting off into a day dream isn’t meditation.
Sit upright: you can sit in the lotus position or cross legged or in a chair. Keeping your spine upright helps with breathing and energy and stops you falling asleep.
Meditate early in the morning: the earlier the better but choose a time that you can keep regularly. Evening is the next best time.
Keep your body pure: refrain from alcohol, drugs and smoking and try and stay fit and healthy. It makes your body more receptive.
Join a meditation class, a regular group or find a meditation teacher. Remember it should be free meditation. You can’t buy inner peace, you have to practice it!
Do not meditate too long to begin with: five minutes is fine. As you get better you can build it up to half an hour or even an hour of meditation. Quality is better than quantity though. Start slowly with an achievable length of time and stick to it until you can concentrate for longer periods of time.
Meditation is easy with a meditation teacher.
The Sri Chinmoy Centre in Perth offers free meditation classes both south of the river and north of the river. Most of the time the classes are evening meditation classes although a number of weekend meditation seminars and workshops are also conducted. Chairs are provided in the classes and all you have to do is bring yourself. Registration for the meditation classes is necessary though. Classes take the audience through the basics of meditation. How to improve your concentration. How to visualise in meditation. Relaxation tips for meditation and so on. Visit our calendar page for the latest list of meditation classes in the Perth metropolitan region or you can phone 616 14156.
Britain’s Devashishu Torpy visited Perth for a number of free lectures and meditation workshops in early March. Meditating since of the age of nine he has found that it benefits him in all aspects of life. An accomplished actor, playwright and speaker, his Perth metropolitan tour was an exclusive, being the only place he spoke in Australia after a nearby visit to Bali then a Peace Run on the east coast of Australia. Devashishu learnt meditation under at age of nine from meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy who was one of the first Indian spiritual leaders to give a lecture at the University of WA (one of the venues Devashishu spoke at) way back in 1976 in Winthrop Hall.
“I find meditation gives me inner peace as well as happiness and energy,” commented Devashishu on his love for meditation. He uses the skill in many situations. He has acted in front of royalty, performed in front of rock stars and has also visited and lectured in over fifty countries around the world, sharing his insights into the meditation lifestyle. Participants learnt practical techniques such as breathing and concentration, how to live more in the heart and heard stories and anecdotes from his multifaceted life including the political division in his own country, a meeting with Mother Teresa and his Indian born father sculpting a statue where the public can meditate outdoors at the scented gardens in Perth. “I really enjoyed Perth. It is beautiful here and getting to talk about meditation is something very close to my heart,” he said.
The plaque inauguration
He gave lectures in Bennett and Co Law Firm, Curtin University, the University of Western Australia and his weekend workshop in Subiaco was attended by a crowd of 247 people. Overall over 300 came to his talks. A great crowd to hear an accomplished speaker. Afterwards he relaxed and visited the beautiful Caversham Wildlife Park where he spent time handling and petting koalas, wombats and kangaroos but understandably he wholeheartedly rejected the opportunity to hold a native python! Caversham dedicated itself to peace in 2013 as a Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom Wildlife Park joining with many other significant locations around the world. The plaque still looks great and the park is stunning, filled with the fauna and flora of Australia.
The Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre conducts free meditation classes in many locations around Perth both North and South of the River. Some locations we commonly use for free meditation classes include Melville, Inglewood, South Perth and Subiaco. Usually the free meditation classes are held one night a week for four weeks. We also run free weekend workshops, almost like a meditation retreat whilst sleeping in your own bed. Visit our calendar or phone 61614156 for more information on our free meditation seminars. After the classes interested people are invited to attend our regular free meditation group.
Australian and international students of Indian meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy gathered in Melbourne for the 40th Chico marathon anniversary on the weekend of March 2nd and 3rd, 2019. Chico was Sri Chinmoy’s first marathon that he completed on 3rd March 1979 in Chico, USA. He ran in a time of 4.31.34. Overall Sri Chinmoy completed 22 marathons in his marathon career but encouraged his students to continue marathon or daily running as a means to maintaining and increasing both physical and spiritual fitness. “We have to keep the body fit, and for this, running is of considerable help. If we are physically fit, then we will be more inspired to get up early in the morning to meditate. True, the inspiration to meditate comes from within, but if we are healthy, then it will be much easier for us to get up at five or six o’clock to pray and meditate. In this way the inner life is being helped by the outer life. Again, if we are inspired to get up early to meditate, then we will also be able to go out and run. Here we see that the outer life is being helped by the inner life,” said Sri Chinmoy in reference to fitness and meditation.
Similar celebrations honouring Sri Chinmoy’s Chico marathon run were held throughout the world. In Australia we aimed to honour this achievement with a marathon and celebrate the whole weekend. The joy weekend or meditation retreat coincided with the Peace Run finishing their Australian leg of the first All-Nation-Covering Southern Hemisphere Peace Run so there were plenty of fit runners around used the 37 degree heat forecast for the 3rd of March. Around 55 Australian and international members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team attended the joy weekend, it was fantastic. Four members of the Perth meditation group attended.
A meditation retreat with the Sri Chinmoy Centre isn’t really a meditation retreat. It is very active. Plenty of performances, spiritual plays and meals. On the Saturday we certainly carbo loaded the day before the marathon, eating heaps of food, an Indian meal and a massive Prasad (blessed food). We watched videos of Sri Chinmoy running his early marathons including Chico and Toledo which inspired us to think about the next morning. Some were running as teams, some as individuals and some like Goncalo from Portugal were running their first marathon. I was a bit apprehensive, I started training the week before in Perth and ran a 9k on the Saturday morning and raced a half marathon in the evening. I didn’t bode well. I could hardly walk afterwards but…grace descended, Sri Chinmoy’s Chico marathon was great. I felt awesome the whole marathon. I think everyone else had the same experience. “I can’t believe I did it,” said Rakhi Mahbuba, a former Miss Bangladesh now residing in Perth who ran 10 kilometres in a team, further than she ever had before. “Halfway through I felt so emotional. The pride. I was inwardly moved, being here was really special.”
The marathon started around 7.15am in Princess Park on a flat, scenic, cinder track that was 1.9km measured by Kishore’s Jones wheel. There was plenty of joy around and helpers to count our laps. Prashphutita Greco a professional photographer took photos of everyone. An amazing aid station loaded with coconut water, electrolyte, donuts, sea weed, crisps and so on kept us going as the day warmed up. When we finished a local volunteer Kuvarani had made a multi-storey lasagne for all the helpers and runners which was scrumptious.
We gathered for an early Sunday evening meditation before everyone departed and many tales of the day unfolded after meditation as we ate our meal: vegetarian pizza and icecream with apple pie, regaining all the weight we had just lost!
The Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre conducts free meditation classes north of the river (NOR) and free meditation classes south of the river (SOR) in a variety of locations. We also have a free two mile race every weekend in South Perth and often conduct weekend meditation workshops in a metropolitan meditation retreat like setting. Visit our calendar to see our next free evening meditation class or weekend meditation workshop or phone 61614156.
There are many different types of meditation around. Many spiritual paths and many styles of meditation. All sincere meditation groups will have a common factor, silencing the mind and accessing something deeper within. One style is Buddhist meditation.
Lord Buddha was born around 2500 years ago in India. Known as Siddhartha before his illumination, the young prince renounced his wealth and family in pursuit of enlightenment. He was extremely austere initially. Barely eating, meditating for hours, even days on end. One day a musician floated by on a boat. “Don’t tune the string to tightly,” he explained. “It will break. Don’t have it to loose, or it won’t play a note.” The message struck Prince Siddhartha deeply and he realised it was relevant to his own pursuit of happiness and truth. If he was to achieve realisation he would have to take the middle path. A path, not as austere as he first thought but intense in aspiration nevertheless. He achieved nirvana under a Boddhi Tree after resolving not to leave the spot until he did.
Says Sri Chinmoy in prose. “Siddhartha did. He flew from his household life into the state of homelessness. The Supreme did. He placed Lord Buddha in the adoring heart of humanity, in the lap of universal Love. Temptation Siddhartha saw and shunned; austerity He felt and lived; the Middle Path He realised and offered. The Omnipotent did two things through Siddhartha. He revealed the ideal of perfection in a human being. He revealed His Enlightenment and Compassion in a divine being. Lord Buddha cast aside caste. The fallen learned from Him the value of self-respect. The unbending learned from Him the necessity of humility.”
Styles of Buddhist Meditation
There are many styles of Buddhist meditation. Some groups will focus on death and reincarnation. Some on the breath and the existence of truth within ourselves. Others on the many sutras that Buddhists follow. Buddhism is now found mostly outside India, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar and other places. Pictured below, the statue of Buddha at Kamakura in Japan is one of the most sacred Buddhist statues. Sri Chinmoy visited there many times.
“The disciples of the Lord Buddha progress steadily towards the perfect bliss of nirvana without going too far on one side or the other. The Buddha had a heart larger than the universe. He cried for the end of human suffering. His path was also very strict, but he did not want to impose undue sufferings on his followers through austerities.” Says Sri Chinmoy in his writings in Jainism: Give Life Take Not.
Ultimately Buddhists in meditation, try and reach Nirvana, an extremely high state of consciousness in their quest for enlightenment. Sri Chinmoy comments. “Hundreds of thousands of books have been written on Nirvana. We first come to hear about Nirvana from the Lord Buddha. It was he who offered to the world at large the conception of Nirvana. What is Nirvana? It is the extinction of desires, suffering, bondage, limitation and death. It is a very high state where transcendental Bliss reigns supreme. When one is in Nirvana, one’s cosmic play is done, and one no longer barters with time and deeds. On the strength of his aspiration the Golden Day dawns when the aspirant enters into the Nirvanic consciousness. He goes beyond the limits of time and space. You have to say that in Nirvana the Divine is enjoying its own self-amorous state. So Nirvana means the extinction of teeming earthly desires, sufferings and sorrows, and at the same time the Bliss and divine enjoyment of the highest trance.”
So Nirvana is a lofty goal of meditation perhaps a long way off for a lot of us! Firstly you have to learn the basics. Attaining inner peace, quietening the mind, the role of service in life, how to be happy, living more in the heart. The joy and happiness it gives you keeps you inspired for life and over time you make spiritual progress.
The Sri Chinmoy Centre offers free non-denominational meditation classes in Perth (NOR) north of the river and also offers free meditation classes (SOR) south of the river in a variety of locations. Visit our calendar to read about the latest free meditation classes and seminars or phone 61614156.
London’s Devashishu Torpy is visiting Perth for a series of free meditation workshops. The 50 year old has been meditating since of the age of nine and has found that it benefits him in all aspects of life. An accomplished actor, playwright and speaker he is currently the European director of one of the largest volunteer organisations in the world, the Peace Run, a torch relay that happens in over 100 countries each year. He is visiting Perth after supervising the Peace Run teams relay run from Brisbane to Melbourne. Exclusively, his Perth metropolitan lectures will be the only places he will be speaking in Australia.
Devashishu learnt meditation under at age of nine from Indian teacher Sri Chinmoy and has been practicing daily since. “I find it gives me a lot of inner peace as well as happiness and energy,” he commented. Devashishu has acted in front of royalty, performed in front of rock stars and has also visited and lectured in over fifty countries around the world, sharing his insights into the meditation lifestyle. Known for his disarming humour and wisdom, participants can expect to learn practical techniques such as breathing and concentration, visualisation, mantra and music and how to live more in the heart. “I am really looking forward to coming to Perth. It has been so cold in Europe this winter and I can’t wait to visit the West Australian coastline while getting to talk about meditation which is something very close to my heart. From meditation we learn to stop thoughts, gain inner peace and access a deeper part of ourselves. ”
His Subiaco weekend workshop commences on Saturday March 9 at 1pm at the Palms Community Centre and continues on Sunday. His one off University of WA presentation is on Thursday March 7 at 5.30pm in Hackett Hall. All classes are free but registration is required on 61614156 or www.meditationperth.org The classes are presented by the Sri Chinmoy Centre.
Meditation is being in silence. Free from the constant unending stream of uninspiring and irrelevant thoughts that usually enter into our minds. To meditate we need to stop thoughts. It is simple to do, but difficult at the same time because we incorrectly learned from a young age that the mind is what needs to be developed. Meditation takes us away from our intellectual and analytical mind. To something deeper within. In a meditation class I attended once, I heard the instructor mention to the students: “When you are beginning, consider it a success if you can reduce the number or volume of thoughts.” True, to a great extent but as you improve, in deep meditation, you have no thoughts. Says Sri Chinmoy “The surface of the sea is a multitude of waves, but the sea below is not affected. In the deepest depths, at the bottom of the sea, it is all tranquility. So when you start meditating, try to feel your own inner existence is like the bottom of the sea—calm and quiet. Feel that your whole being is surcharged with peace and tranquility. Then let the waves come from the outside world. Fear, doubt, worry—the earthly turmoil—will all be washed away, because inside is solid peace.”
Thinking Too Much
So how do we stop thoughts? There are various practices you can employ. Below are three which we teach in our free meditation classes (as well as many others).
Concentration: this involves focusing awareness and not letting your mind to wander or drift off. “In concentration we focus our attention on a particular subject or object and do not allow our mind to roam,” says Sri Chinmoy. “Thought-waves must stop in concentration. We are like a bullet entering into something divine, or we are like a magnet: we are pulling the object of our concentration towards us. This is concentration.”
Visualisation: one of my friends liked to visualise himself ducking when a thought came in meditation, or he felt a thought to be a bird he just let it fly past overhead. Another took a more aggressive approach and imagined he had a samurai sword and was cutting them to pieces!
Access your silent loving heart: Sometimes beginners are under the impression if you have no thoughts you will be a simpleton. It is not like that. You can access more fulfilling parts of your being. The heart for instance Sri Chinmoy describes as like a Himalayan cave or a beautiful garden, peaceful and tranquil. Conversely the mind is like Times Square on New Years eve or a dense jungle. Where would you rather be?
It takes daily meditation practice and attendance at a regular meditation group to get really good at meditation. You will gradually learn the art of meditation and unlearn thinking too much! Attend some of our free classes or free meditation workshop retreats to learn more about it.
Going to a regular meditation group is really important to your practice of beginning meditation. Individual meditation is also extremely important, but having somewhere regular to attend, with like minded and inspired people keeps you uplifted. It is like anything else. If you exercise with friends it is easier, if you do yoga in a group it is easier, if you meditate in a group it is easier. You get strength from a group meditation and everything is of course better shared! Apps on meditation are good but it is not the same as meeting in a group or learning to do it with the guidance of real person!
In Perth, the Sri Chinmoy Centre has a regular meditation group. Our meditations consist of silence, music for meditation, mantra and many other activities. We use a variety of venues around Perth, where we offer free meditation classes. If seekers who come, like the free meditation classes offered (which can be in meditation groups ranging from 10 to 100), then they keep coming and start attending the Sri Chinmoy Centre on a regular basis. There is no charge for our meditation classes or coming to our regular Sri Chinmoy Perth meditation group. In the classes you learn the ABC’s of meditation how to stop thoughts, how to sit, the best time to meditate and many different meditation techniques.
So what are the benefits of attending regular free meditation group or meditation session?
it is easier to stop thoughts and quieten the mind
you meet like minded people
there is more power in group meditation
many meditation groups are free (or they should be!)
you can ask questions and learn a lot more about spirituality and meditation
So start by coming along to some of our free meditation classes done collectively, in a group. They are usually one night a week for three or four weeks. Alternatively you can begin or continue your meditation journey at one of free weekend meditation workshops. It is like going on a meditation retreat without leaving the metropolitan area! Meditation can help you reduce stress, learn about spirituality and improve your health and well being. You just have to begin!