New Year Meditation

The perfect meditation is perhaps in the silent, snow-capped Himalayan peaks.

But, over Christmas, we were in a popular holiday resort, Greece. For New Year’s Eve, we lost our peaceful function hall to a New Year’s party. Our meditation group squeezed into an upper story room with the party down below.


Throughout the New Year evening we had meditations and plays – a mixture of the humorous and soulful – hopeful of a bright future after the tumultuous year of 2016. The final meditation was 11.30pm to midnight. Almost on cue, the party below got into full swing, with the volume raised to full celebration mood. Rather than the ethereal silence of the midnight calm, stale cigarette smoke seeped into the room.

With a 20 minute break before the final meditation, I calculate a better meditation may be had in my isolated hotel room – away from the party noise and smoke. I weigh up the dilemma with some friends, but they don’t share my careful calculations, seemingly enjoying the challenge. Continue reading “New Year Meditation”

Meditation in the rain

In October, I visited New York for the anniversary of Sri Chinmoy’s mahasamadhi. It is quite a meditative occasion.

With less outer distractions and the inspiration of Aspiration Ground, I try to take the opportunity to meditate more than usual.

The first few days it rained almost continuously. When in rains in New York, it can keep going for 24 hours without stopping. I like meditating outside in the rain (so long as you have a waterproof cover to keep dry). The sound of rain pouring down the sides of the canvas cover is quite peaceful.

race rain

On Saturday morning, I had agreed to cycle at a two mile race to honour Sri Chinmoy on the weekend of his mahasamadhi. So I wrapped up and cycled to Flushing Meadow. It was cold and wet, but worth going. Continue reading “Meditation in the rain”

Nature vs Nurture – Is a poet born or made?

For Sri Chinmoy, I have written an article on some personal experiences of self-transcendence. An article which bought back memories of winning Menston village fun run (under 7 category) and also coming last in a school cross country race (aged 15). In this article on sporting immortality, I failed to mention that I was also awarded “Menston Cricket Club under 13 fielder of the year”, but you don’t want to boast too much about these sporting achievements. (I think I was the only one to catch someone out in that particular season).

Early efforts at self-transcendence hampered by feet not reaching the pedals.

When I was young, I didn’t feel I was a gifted athlete. In fact, as mentioned, I came last in a cross country running race. After coming last, I “retired” and decided my genetics for sporting events must be very poor.  To be fair, my parents were not exactly sub three hour marathon runners.

But, 20 years later, and after winning the National Hill Climb Championship, many might have assumed I had very lucky sporting genetics. But, I’m not sure, what to make of the role of genetics.

I do feel that meditation and a spirituality can have a positive impact on sporting performance. I cannot quantify the impact, but it does make some kind of difference. I certainly believe there is more to potential achievement than the pre-determination of genetic ability. Whether you meditate or not, even great personal faith and inner belief can have a positive impact. Continue reading “Nature vs Nurture – Is a poet born or made?”

Meditate to remember

Yesterday was our last running race of the season. A four mile race around the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile in Cutteslowe Park. We have a ‘grand prix’ series with runners from different categories getting points and trophies.

Before driving, I have a short meditation. Sri Chinmoy advised meditating for a minute for protection from accidents. I often find that this one minute of meditation can be very useful for remembering something I have forgotten. When you have a big event, you can get a little stressed and start to ‘rush’ When you start to rush, you can forget things. When you start to worry you might be late, you rush a little more. But, then you forget something important, and it is a real problem.

This one minute of meditation can be tempting to skip. But, last night it saved me forgetting an important file with all the previous results in. If you get somewhere a minute later, it never matters, but if you travel all the way and have to come back, that takes a long time. So the moral of the story, is meditate, clear your mind, and just maybe something from within will prompt you to remember something important. It has happened many times to me. Continue reading “Meditate to remember”

The freedom of birds

When I bought a house, there was a separate garage built at the start of the garden. Initially I used the garage to store several bikes and innumerable random bits of bike components, (things which tended to lie around unused for year after year – but without ever able to really throw them away, because in principle they are quite valuable.) Anyway, after much soul-searching, I decided to convert the garage into a meditation room – out went all the oily bikes and in came a new blue carpet and insulated walls.

Back garden

It is a great boon to have a room just for meditation. An additional bonus is that it makes me go outside, even in coldest winter. Often I go out to meditate at night and see a beautiful moon, it is like on the way to your meditation, you gain a brief glimpse of the Higher worlds – something untainted by the problems of this world.

Staying indoors in the comfort of a centrally heated house, you miss nature’s free show. In the morning meditation, it is a cold journey to walk into the below freezing garden and only slightly warmer meditation room but, as ample compensation, I often eye out of the corner of my eye birds flying through the garden or least chirping noisily in the background. Ideally, I would be fully concentrated on the meditation to not notice the birds, but the feeling of meditating with nature all around is a good experience. I have put up a seed feeder near the meditation window so that I can attract more birds into the garden. When I have finished a meditation, I look quietly to see if the birds are coming for the seeds – this informal bird-watching is a form of meditation in its own right.

photo: Jonas Carlberg, flickr CC

Continue reading “The freedom of birds”

Practising Japa

When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s path, I was very keen to improve my meditation. I read the Meditation book by Sri Chinmoy and tried different meditation exercises, which were in the Meditation book. Amongst other exercises, I remember putting a picture of a black dot on the wall and staring at it for a few minutes, though that particular practise didn’t last very long.

One of the things Sri Chinmoy mentioned was an exercise of Japa. On the first day, the seeker should repeat the mantra “Supreme” 500 times. Then on the next day, increase to 600 times. Continue reading “Practising Japa”

Articles on the Benefits of Meditation

“When we meditate, what we actually do is enter into a vacant, calm, still, silent mind. We go deep within and approach our true existence, which is our soul. When we live in the soul, we feel that we are actually meditating spontaneously”

– Sri Chinmoy

I have been meditating for several years and it is one of the most enjoyable activities I do.

I learnt to meditate as a student of Sri Chinmoy, which emphasizes meditating on the spiritual heart.

I wrote an article on the benefits of meditation. here at Pick the Brain