In order to maintain inner peace, calm and stability regardless of external circumstances, we need a daily multivitamin of meditation and introspection. Meditation is the best medication for all agitations. People have so many troubles today, mainly related to the stress in their lives.
To address this anxiety, sleeplessness and discontent, people take pills and fill their lives with excessive, material “pleasures”. For example, when people feel stressed they frequently attempt to forget about it by going to the movies, shopping, drinking alcohol or indulging in sensual pleasures.
However, these are not solutions, as they neither address nor alleviate the underlying issues. They are simply first aid bandages to a wound that runs deep beneath the surface.
Meditation truly calms the mind, fills the heart with joy, and brings peace to the soul. The serenity and joy found in meditation last throughout the day and throughout life. Meditation is not a simple diversion which works only as long as you are actively engaged in it. Meditation is not a pill whose effect quickly wears off and carries unpleasant side-effects.
Rather, meditation brings you in contact with God; it changes the very nature of your being. It brings you back to the world from which you truly come: the realm of the Divine.
As you sit in meditation you will realise the insignificance of that which causes anxiety; you will realise the transient nature of all your troubles. You will realise the infinite joy and boundless peace that come from God and through union with your own divine nature.
Try to make a time each day that is “meditation time”. It’s no problem if you only have five or ten minutes. Don’t worry. Just do it. Do not say, “Well, I don’t have an hour to sit so I won’t bother.” Commit at least a few minutes to meditation each morning. Try to set time aside for meditation in a quiet, serene atmosphere. It’s not crucial that meditation be for an extended period of time. What’s important is that you get connected.
When you’re travelling, maybe on a trip away from your loved ones, you don’t need to talk for hours on the phone each day, but you do yearn to call and just “check in” with each other, to hear each other’s voice, to “get connected”. It’s the same with God. Even though ultimately we are one with Him―He is inside us and all around us ―until we can deeply realise this Oneness, we feel separate. As long as that feeling of separateness is there, we need meditation. It is the time in which we reconnect with Him, delving deep into the inner core of our own being, merging and melting into the Divine Ocean of bliss.
Then with practice, slowly you will see that your life becomes meditation. It will not be restricted to one time and place. Even when it is not “meditation time” or when you are away from your home, away from your “meditation place”, do not think that you cannot meditate. Take five minutes at work to simply close your eyes, watch your breath, focus on the Oneness of us all, and connect with the Divine.
Eventually, you will become a torchbearer of peace, spreading the light of serenity, love and brotherhood wherever you go.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati is the President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, one of the largest interfaith spiritual institutions in India. He is co-founder/co-chairman of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), the world’s first initiative to bring together the leaders of all the world’s faiths to enable a water-secure future.