Today meditation has embedded itself within our culture and its immense benefits are increasingly recognised. It is applied across fields as wide ranging as leadership training, elite sports performance and emotional intelligence.
Just as resting in bed at night is essential for one’s physical well-being, so the rest available in meditation is essential for the well-being of the mind and heart.
The School has offered the same authentic and utterly simple meditation practice for over forty years. It is natural, easily learnt and can be practised within the demands of daily living.
With the profound rest and total immobility of deep meditation, the human spirit starts to flourish. Inner peace and stability grow. Life becomes more harmonious. Our awareness expands. Efficiency increases. Creativity flows.
The demands of life can make it seem as if there is no space for anything or anyone else.
With meditation it is possible to come to a point of stillness, in which we may experience our real Self, which is unchanging.
This helps to bring a steadiness into life. This allows anyone to deal with life, without being unduly buffeted from one place to another.
It relieves the stresses, the pressures and the difficulties.
Remaining at a point of stillness and of equilibrium enables us to respond to the world and live in the world without being harassed and overcome by the world.
Meditation leads to peace. The peace of our own true Self.
It is a peace which is sorely needed in the world where there seem to be so many conflicts and tensions: within individuals, families, and in and between nations.
This inner peace is a most valuable and important commodity.
If we can experience that peace regularly and deeply it can in various ways help to rehumanise us, dissolve our inner tensions and conflicts, enabling more harmonious living and relationships.
Meditation is not just a case of withdrawing from the world; it is a way to engage more fully with it. It is essentially practical.
It helps a person to be more capable – to come to a fuller appreciation of their talents and their abilities and to deploy those talents and abilities more fully and more creatively.
The School offers a system of mantra meditation that has been in use for millennia. Practice consists in the gentle repetition to oneself of a one-syllable sound and bringing the attention back to the sound again and again.
Meditation starts with the physical body being still, balanced and upright. As it proceeds, the breathing naturally slows down, the senses withdraw and gradually the mind becomes deeply still. Then the mantra takes you to the still centre of yourself.
In its simplicity, the practice of meditation is nothing more than sitting and listening.
For those students pursuing the Practical Philosophy course beyond the Introductory Course, they are offered the opportunity to take up meditation in their second or third year (with the possibility to take it up earlier if the student requests). The practice gradually helps to bring about inner peace, stillness and clarity of mind, and also to generate finer energy for practical use in daily life.
The School has been training people in meditation for more than forty years. At the time it was introduced, not much was known about the practice in the West, but this has now changed. Meditation has become well-known and widely practised in our culture, even if the wide choice of techniques available can be quite bewildering for anyone seeking an authentic way forward.
The School received the meditation practice through the instruction and guidance of the head of the Advaita Tradition in Northern India, the then Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math. He continued to provide instruction and guidance until his death in 1997. The School’s responsibility from the beginning has been to make meditation available for whoever was seeking freedom, fullness of life or a deeper understanding of themselves.
Today, the School continues to offer the same simple practice it received all those years ago. It is an authentic and utterly simple practice. It is natural, easily learnt and can be practised within the demands of daily living.
“Unless one has rest in love and happiness, one cannot survive, just as the body cannot survive without sleep. Meditation is to provide rest, to take people to bliss rest with the Self, so that they may have new and fresh mornings of life.
"Meditation is the activity that ends all activities so complete peace may be experienced. In the end one realises that there is no activity at all. Everything is calm, still, full of joy and bliss." “When one establishes the meditation, one gets to the source of all bliss, consciousness and truth. Then one realises one’s wholeness.”
“By going into meditation, one recharges oneself with finer energy and comes out with extra energy fill with consciousness and bliss.”
“The ultimate end of meditation is to reach this total immobility or the profound stillness and this is very deep. No meter could measure it, it is without end”
“In meditation one goes deeper, and comes to a stage where there is almost nothing moving, but this is not to be equated with nothing, for it is the most potent of all that this universe knows. Such a person has reached unity and risen above duality. He or she is at rest, from where all actions may arise and be fulfilled.”
Śrī Śāntānanda Saraswatī (1913-1997)
“When forced, as it seems, by thine environment to be utterly disquieted, return with all speed into thy self, staying in discord no longer than thou must. By constant recurrence to the harmony, thou wilt gain more command over it.”
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”
T S Elliot