In meditation, we have an opportunity to take a break from the incessant activity and habitual “doing” that often consumes and defines our lives. By coming to rest physically and mentally, we can begin to observe and uncover a depth and calmness of being.
With regular practice, meditation provides the master key to our well-being — unlocking our true potential and enabling us to meet the world with renewed energy, authenticity, wisdom, creativity, compassion and equanimity. The remarkable benefits of meditation include an expanded sense of awareness, clarity of thought, lasting peace and happiness, as well as an understanding of our innate ability to resolve the challenges of everyday life.
The School offers meditation three times a year. You begin by registering for an information/Q&A session. By the end of the meeting, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether or not to proceed.
If you wish to take up the meditation, two weeks later you’ll attend a preparation session where the practical arrangements will be finalised and the meditation support program outlined. The meditation commencement ceremony will take place a week after this preparation session.
Attendance at all three sessions is a required part of the process. You cannot proceed with the meditation if you’ve not attended the two preliminary meetings.
By going into meditation, one recharges oneself with finer energy and comes out with extra energy imbued with consciousness and bliss - Sri Santananda Saraswati (1913 – 1997)
The system of meditation is not religious; therefore, it does not clash with anything. It is designed for the spirit of man, which is not bound by any religion.
- Sri Santananda Saraswati (1913 – 1997)
Scientific evidence about the physiological, mental and emotional benefits of meditation speaks for itself. Although it originated in the East for spiritual purposes, in the West it was initially limited to the clinical treatment of anxiety and stress. Meditation is now applied to the fields of neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence, elite sports performance and leadership training.
Research into various meditation techniques has shown how sustained practice develops self-awareness, resilience, social intuition, sensitivity and attention-control; speeds up the brain’s capacity for sensory processing, strengthens memory and improves the executive functions of the brain.
Meditation has been prescribed by wisdom-teachers for millennia. Contemporary research data supports the findings of ancient philosophy. Life requires energy, and energy is restored through rest. Just as resting in bed at night is essential for one’s physical well-being, so too the profound rest available in meditation is essential for the well-being of one’s mind and heart.
With the profound rest and total immobility of deep meditation, the human spirit flourishes. Efficiency increases. Creativity flows. Mindfulness and compassion grow.
The School has been training people in meditation for more than fifty years.
Initially in the 1960s not much was known about the practice in the West, but this has changed. Although meditation has embedded itself in our culture, the variety of techniques available can be daunting for anyone seeking an authentic way forward.
The School received the meditation practice in the 1960’s. Instruction and guidance was given by the head of the Advaita Tradition in Northern India, Śrī Śāntānanda Saraswatī, then the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math. He continued to provide instruction and guidance until his death in 1997. The School’s commitment 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 over fifty years ago. It is an authentic and utterly simple practice, natural, easily learnt and can be practised within the demands of daily life.
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 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 still and listening.
The meditation is given in a short, traditional ceremony designed to bring the mind and heart to rest. The ceremony is non-religious and is there to ensure the precise passage of the mantra from generation to generation and to support the significance of the event. It is carried out by a trained instructor, an experienced meditator who has undergone a period of careful preparation.
You will be asked to bring four things to the ceremony, each one symbolic: some flowers, some pieces of fruit, a piece of white cloth and a donation of money. The donation is not a fixed amount and depends on individual capacity. The donation symbolises the surrender of material things. It is an expression of value and is used to make meditation available to others. There is no fee for receiving the meditation.
Once you’ve commenced meditating, the School will support you in the practice with one-on-one meetings, small group sessions and meditation retreats if you wish. This support will be available for as long as you wish. In providing you with the meditation, the School undertakes the obligation of supporting you for life.
Master one thing to master all, and to lose everything try to master all. The meditation is the master key to all measures and full realization - Sri Santananda Saraswati (1913 – 1997)
The ultimate end of the 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 - Sri Santananda Saraswati (1913 – 1997)