Individual meditationThere are quite a few ways to meditate, but no matter whose path you follow, mine or somebody else's, there is a general rule: You cannot allow your mind to be restless or agitated. You have to try to make the mind calm and quiet, like the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. This advice all the spiritual Masters will give.
How will you make the mind calm and quiet? The mind has its own power, but right now your determination does not have the same degree of power. The mind's power is now stronger than your present eagerness to meditate. But if you can get help from your heart, then easily you will be able to control the mind. The heart gets constant assistance from the soul; and the soul has all light and all power. If you take help from the heart, then you won't allow all kinds of silly rubbish — unlit, undivine thoughts — to enter into your mind. I always tell my disciples to begin their meditation by repeating the word 'Supreme' a few times. The Supreme is our eternal Guru: my Guru, your Guru, everybody's Guru. I am representing the Supreme only for my disciples, who think that I can be of service to them. There are other Masters who are representing the Supreme for their disciples. So think of the Supreme and repeat the word 'Supreme' a few times early in the morning. If you can chant 'Aum' soulfully, it will also help you during your meditation.
Also, you have to take help from the outer world. If you take a shower or a proper bath in the morning, it adds to your meditation. If you keep flowers in front of your shrine and burn incense and candles, it will help you. When you look at a candle flame, immediately you are inspired, and this inspiration has to enter into your aspiration. In this way the outer flame helps the inner flame.
You people may say, "I don't know how to meditate." But I wish to say that once you become a disciple and enter into my Boat, then it is the problem of the Boatman to take you to the Golden Shore. After you are safely seated in the Boat, you can lie down, you can sing, you can dance, you can do anything. But first you have to enter into the Boat. Occasionally I have given instruction outwardly to some of my disciples who needed it. But to most I don't give individual meditations: each one is allowed to meditate in his own way. When I accept a disciple, I concentrate on his soul and bring the soul forward. Then I give some inner meditation to the soul. At that time, the disciple is bound to receive my inner instruction. But if the disciple can consciously create a pure vibration and keep a sincere attitude, then it is easier for his soul to remain at the fore and to receive everything from me. In the early days I was very liberal in giving the disciples individual meditations. I had one disciple who never got satisfactory results from the meditations I gave her. She would come back after I gave her one meditation and ask me to please give her another one. Then I would give her another and she would come begging me for still another. That particular disciple used to go to all sorts of other spiritual Masters and she used to go to movies, parties and nightclubs. Then she would complain that the meditation I had given her didn't work! What could I do? The first one I gave should have been effective. Only out of compassion I kept giving her different meditations. Finally she accused me of not having any inner vision.
If you feel that you are inwardly drawn towards me but you have not got an individual meditation, do not worry. The best type of meditation comes when you enter into my consciousness by looking at my Transcendental picture and throwing yourself into me. Just concentrate on this picture of me when I am at one with the Supreme and enter into me through the forehead, where my Eye of Vision is located — the Eye which sees the present, past and future. You also have this Third Eye, but in your case it is still veiled. If you find it difficult to enter into my Third Eye, then try to breathe in slowly and steadily and imagine that I am also breathing rhythmically with you. You can be a few feet away or as close as possible to my picture, but try to feel that we are breathing at the same time.
When you meditate on my picture, you have to try to throw yourself into me with your utmost aspiration. Then I can take full responsibility for your meditation. When you enter into me, you should not feel that you are entering into a foreign element or a foreign person, but that you are entering into something which is your true self, your own highest part. But sometimes you may look at the ocean of Light inside me and feel, "Oh my God, if I enter into the ocean, then I will be drowned. I will be overpowered, destroyed." Here the Light trying to enter into you in abundant measure and you are trying to hide. But what have you done? Have you committed any crime? Only if you have done something wrong will you try to hide. You have to know that the light will not expose you: it only wants to illumine you. The more light that comes, the sooner you will be illumined. But if you feel fear, then it is better for you not to enter into me. Instead, you should allow me to enter into you. You will say, "Let the ocean come into me in one very, very small drop, or let just a few drops of its water and Light enter into me." This is another way. It all depends on your strength and receptivity and how much of my spiritual food you can eat. If you feel that you are strong enough to swim in my sea of Light and Bliss, then enter into me. If you have great inner strength, then enter into me. Otherwise, let me enter into you.
When you look at my Transcendental picture, try to feel that this person you are seeing is your very own. You have a husband or wife, you have children, and now you can add one more person to your family. You have to feel also that here is someone who is not only your own for this life, but who will be your own forever. If you feel your oneness with me, if you feel that I am not a foreigner but a member of your own family, then automatically you will try to mix with me and your consciousness, your soul, will try to mix with mine. This very mixing is called meditation.
When you meditate on me or on my Transcendental picture, you are becoming one with me. If you look at a tree, you become one with the consciousness of the tree. If you look at a flower, you become one with the fragrance of the flower. Similarly, if you look at my Transcendental picture, you become one with my inner divinity and reality. If you are sincere, at that time you get Peace, Light and Bliss in boundless measure. That is real meditation. But this is only for seekers who want to follow my path.
Those present here who are not my disciples may be thinking that it is the height of folly for my disciples to meditate on my picture. Perhaps they feel that I am proud, conceited and shameless because I allow them to admire that picture. But I can assure you — as my devoted disciples who have faith in me know — that my Transcendental picture does not represent my physical body. It does not represent me, Chinmoy Kumar Ghose. The picture was taken when I was in my highest consciousness; and in that consciousness I am totally one with the Supreme. So that picture represents the Supreme for each seeker who has accepted me as his Guru. When my disciples concentrate, when they meditate in front of that picture, they feel that they are meditating in front of the Supreme.
Those who are my real disciples, dedicated disciples, need not concentrate on anybody's photograph except mine. I tell them to first look at my whole face and then gradually, gradually to try to concentrate on my Third Eye. Whatever they want, if they want a vision or anything else, then my Transcendental picture will give it to them. It has infinite Light, infinite Peace, infinite Bliss; everything it has in infinite measure.
Your Guru is the farmer. He is all the time cultivating the field, which is you. Now if you don't allow him to cultivate, if you consciously or unconsciously turn to somebody else, then you are nowhere near the Goal. It is not that I will be jealous if you put up a picture of some god or goddess in your room; I am very fond of the gods and goddesses. But if I am to carry you to the Golden Shore, then you have to be in my Boat. For concentration, for meditation, for contemplation, for everything you have to come to me and I have to come to you.
If you have a beautiful picture of a god or goddess, you can use this picture for inspiration. But if you concentrate on it, meditate on it, there will be tremendous, tremendous confusion. One day you look at this picture and pray, the following day you will pray to another goddess, the third day to somebody else and the fourth day to me. Then I will be helpless. So I always tell my dearest disciples to stick to me as I stick to them all the time. You can keep other pictures for inspiration if you want to, but not for anything else.
My true disciples and all those who believe in me should have this picture in their meditation room. Also, they should carry a small one in their wallets so that they can look at it on different occasions during the day and when they are about to make important decisions. This way they can easily come in contact with my highest consciousness at any moment. You have become my disciples precisely because you have felt something in me: some Peace, Light, Bliss or Power. Some divine quality of mine you have felt. Also, you feel that this divine quality can easily enter into you. I have all kinds of disciples: first class, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh class disciples. But, no matter which category you belong to, if you can meditate or concentrate on my Transcendental picture, then you are bound to enter into my inner divine consciousness.
Love, devotion and surrender are the cornerstones of my philosophy because I feel that they make up the true sunlit path which can lead the aspirant to the Goal very fast. If you want to enter into my consciousness while looking at my picture, the best approach is that of love, devotion and surrender. If you want to concentrate and meditate on my picture and offer your heart's love, devotion and surrender, then my highest is also your highest.
I tell my disciples that it is always best to keep the eyes open while meditating. Otherwise, you will keep your eyes closed and then you may think that you are having a wonderful meditation when perhaps you have actually made friends with sleep. Instead of making friends with sleep, you should make an eternal friendship with my divine consciousness. Always keep your eyes open and meditate on my picture. Then you will feel my presence inside your heart. When someone becomes my disciple he has to feel my presence in his heart and also his own presence in my heart. When a disciple meditates or my picture, it automatically helps him in concentrating on the heart. And if he concentrates on his heart, automatically he will feel my presence there.
In the beginning please do not be disturbed if you cannot meditate well. God alone knows how many years one must practise in order to become a very good pianist. If an accomplished pianist thinks of what his standard was when he first began to play, he will laugh. It is through gradual progress that he has achieved his present height in his music. In the spiritual life also, in the beginning do not worry if you find it difficult to meditate. Do not pull or push. Ten minutes early in the morning is enough.
If you meditate every day, you will be able to make progress in your inner life. Again, you have to feel that every day you cannot eat the most delicious meal. Today you may eat most delicious food and then for three or four days you may eat very simple food. As long as you are eating and getting nourishing food, you know that you are sustaining your body. So, if you have a good meditation one day and then the following day you do not have a good meditation, do not feel miserable. In the spiritual life your business is to meditate, meditate. If one day you can't meditate very well or according to your satisfaction, please feel that some other day the Lord Supreme will again give you the opportunity, inspiration and aspiration to meditate extremely well. But if you are disturbed or irritated, then you will lose the opportunity to meditate well in the future. The best thing is to be very calm, quiet and steady in your spiritual life. Then definitely you will be able to meditate well and your meditation will be of the highest order.
Again, you have to know that meditation is not just sitting in front of your shrine. No! When you work for me and you think of me while working, that is one of the best forms of meditation. When you work for me, my consciousness enters into you and you remain in my consciousness. One of the best forms of meditation, dynamic meditation, is soulful dedication — not to sit and go into trance, but to work for me devotedly. If you want to follow somebody else's path, that person may give you different instructions, but this is one of the ways my disciples meditate.
Once you have entered into the spiritual life, at every moment you are dealing with consciousness. When you use the word 'consciousness', immediately you will see inside you a vast ocean or a vast sky. The word itself has that capacity. My disciples should feel that the infinite consciousness is within me. My name, Chinmoy, means 'full of divine consciousness'. When you think of me during the day, feel that you are thinking only of consciousness. When you think of consciousness, you are bound to feel an expansion; the very reality of consciousness is to expand.
When you think of me, see if you can visualise or feel a vast expanse right in front of you. If on the physical plane or on the material plane the earth atmosphere gives you a sense of vastness, try to imagine it when you think of me. When you look at the ocean, you will see an expanse of water. Water means consciousness. When you look at the sky, immediately you feel an infinite expanse of blue, of vastness. So you can expand your heart by looking at the ocean and feeling that the ocean is representing my consciousness and your heart is becoming one with it. Or you can look at the sky early in the morning just for a few seconds and feel that there your heart has become one with my consciousness.
I am a spiritual teacher, but I am not the only spiritual teacher on earth; there are a few others. If you follow my path, I will be able to offer light to your soul and your soul will be able to guide you and show you how to meditate. If you study my writings, if you come to our Centre meetings regularly and concentrate on my picture, if you work for me devotedly, then you will learn how to meditate. But if you follow someone else's path, naturally that teacher will teach you how to meditate in his own specific way.