Meditation Articles Series
One person’s meditation experience over 45 years
Recently I talked with a man who has been meditating since he was eighteen. I wanted to find out what had led him to this practice. Before I write this interview I’d just like to say that people meditate for all sorts of reasons from wanting greater peace in their lives, to wanting to manifest what they desire. Meditation is a very personal experience and no two people will travel the same course in their meditation practice even if they are doing the same meditation technique.
I began meditation because I wanted to feel less anxious and not so confused about myself. Certainly over the years of meditating I have become a lot more peaceful and have let go a lot of conditioning and beliefs that kept me contracted in fear and misery.
You will have your own reasons for starting a meditation practice and this little interview is to simply give you an insight into someone else’s experience and what that has been like for them.
Q: Freddie, I understand that you started meditating when you were eighteen. What drew you to a meditation practice?
F: I discovered Paramahansa Yogananda in 1963. He wrote Autobiography of a Yogi and I was enthralled with his teachings. I became inspired with other great gurus of that lineage and I wanted to also experience the serenity and blissfulness that was so often described in the book. Yogananda said, “Meditation is the key to cosmic awareness.”
Q: Your meditation practice covers forty five years, so what have you found from your practice to be of benefit in your life?
F: I feel a greater sense of place in the world as a spiritual being having a human existence. I feel a greater sense of equanimity and closeness to God, to the Divine. Meditation helped me to be optimistic and loving especially at a time in my life when I lost my family and my career. Meditation has helped me to realize that I am not a separate consciousness cut off from the rest of the universe.
Q: Freddie, can I ask you what technique you use in your practice?
F: Yes, of course. When I first began I joined the Self Realization Centre based on Yogananda’s teachings. Then in my thirties I tried Transcendental Meditation and practiced with a mantra for some time. In more recent years I am doing a form of meditation that seems to be right for this time in my life.
Q: Could you please describe that?
F: I usually meditate for an hour to an hour and a half each morning. I first centre myself with some breathing and then I focus on what I want to manifest in my life for about twenty minutes. I visualize what I want to bring into my life. As I do this I am conscious of what can best be described as moments of being aware of the bliss pushing through. There are no thoughts. My body feels very high and although thoughts want to intrude I follow my bliss by just being in the body, which seems to affirm without words peacefulness and serenity.
Q: Thanks for sharing that Freddie. What advice would you give to someone new to meditation?
F: Meditating in a group or with a partner where there is focused energy can help someone new to meditation. It can also be a distraction so find out what suits your temperament. Accept and allow what is and know that there is no right or wrong way to meditate.
Q: For anyone who doesn’t go to a meditation group using the guided meditations on Fragrant Heart can be a way of meditating with someone else. What do you think?
F: Yes, I agree. Also in a wider sense there is someone in the world meditating at any given moment and that is reassuring in that anyone can sit and know that others too are joined with them in peace and love.