Feeling trapped by unwanted thoughts and emotions can seem an inevitable of life. But Easwaran, who taught meditation for nearly forty years, shows a way to break free.
Just as a fitness routine can create a strong, supple body, spiritual disciplines can shape a secure personality and a resilient, loving mind. Writing as an experienced, friendly coach, Easwaran explains how we can train the mind not just during meditation but throughout the day. Working with difficult colleagues, choosing what to eat, and listening to a child’s needs are all opportunities to try Out different, wiser responses.
To shed light on the thinking process, Easwaran takes the timeless teachings of the Buddha and other mystics and illustrates them with scenes from contemporary life. He offers practical exercises for taking charge of our thoughts, alongwith instruction in his own method of passage meditation.
Easwaran shows how training the mind is a glorious challenge — one that brings joy and purpose to life.
Ekaath Easwaran was Professor of English literature at the University of Nagpur, India, and an established writer, when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. As Founder and Director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and the Nilgiri Press, he taught the classics of world mysticism and the practice of meditation from 1960 till his death in 1999.
All that we are the Buddha said, “is the result of what we have thought:’ He might have added, “And all we shall become is the result of what we think now.
Nothing, then, can be more important than being able to choose the way we think — our feelings, aspirations, and desires; the way we view our world and ourselves. Mastery of the mind opens avenues of hope. It means that we can begin to reshape our life and character, rebuild relationships, thrive in the stress of daily living, become the kind of person we want ourselves to be.
In this book I present the art of training the mind how to respond to life’s challenges, drawing on almost thirty years of teaching meditation to an American audience. Each chapter was originally a talk given to a select group of students. I touch on theory, but the emphasis is always practical and down-to- earth. I have written for those who want to understand not only how the mind works, but also how it can be changed which means, in this context, those who are interested in the actual practice of meditation.
Today we hear “meditation” used to describe a number of things, some of which have nothing to do with meditation as I understand it. These techniques may be relaxing, they may be inspiring, they may be good for your physical health, but as far as accomplishing enduring, beneficial changes in the mind, they have no more effect than writing on water. There are also time-honored methods of meditation which differ from the one I teach: for example, watching the flow of thoughts in detachment, without any attempt at control I respect these methods in the hands of an illumined teacher, but confusion can result from mixing instructions that come from different perspectives. If you want to become a tennis champion, you don’t take lessons from Vic Braden and Nick Bollettieri at the same time; they have utterly different approaches to the game. Meditation teachers have different approaches too, and it is good to remember that two people who say they meditate may be doing very dissimilar things.
When I talk about meditation, I am referring to a dynamic discipline that would be recognized in any of the major spiritual traditions of the world: teaching attention to flow without a break toward a single inspirational focus within the mind (in this case, the memorized words of an inspirational passage) until finally the mind becomes completely absorbed and all distracting thoughts disappear. In this profound absorption the mind is still, calm, and clear. This is our native state. Once we become established in it, we know once and for all who we are and what life is for. As the Bible puts it, “Be still, and know that lam God.
In these pages Twill often refer to the “great mystics” of the world. This word “mystic:’ too, is easily misunderstood. Mysticism is the conviction, born of personal experience, that there is a divine core in human personality which each of us can realize directly, and that making this discovery is the real goal of our lives. A mystic is anyone who has achieved this goal. The great mystics speak the same language, for they come from the same country of the soul. Their ranks include such luminous figures as Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Teresa of Avila, Sri Ramakrishna, the Compassionate Buddha, and Mahatma Gandhi, among many others equally well known and relatively unknown.
Whenever I describe the mechanics of meditation in this book, I will always be referring to the method I teach, which have practiced myself for many decades. It is essentially the training of attention. The technique is simple hut far from easy. It requires effort, and — like athletic conditioning — it can be quite strenuous. Its purpose is not to attain some remarkable experience during meditation but to master the thinking process. The rewards, therefore, come during the rest of the day. As your meditation deepens, you will find yourself stronger and more resilient, better able to face the challenges of life as the kind of person you would like to be: loving, creative, resource- hi!, and full of vitality.
At the end of this book I give a very brief summary of the Fight Point Program which I myself have followed. There you will find instructions in meditation along with an introduction seven very helpful practices, such as slowing down, which extend the benefits of meditation daily living. (this program is elaborated in detail in my book passage meditation which has a full chapter on each point) If you not already familiar with these points from my other books you might want to look now at the summary beginning on page in order to get the most from the chapter that follow.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Bhakti Yoga (16)
Hatha Yoga (67)
Karma Yoga (29)
Kriya Yoga (59)
Kundalini Yoga (44)
Yoga For Children (11)
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