MEDITATION - BACKGROUND
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ABOUT THE PHYSIOLOGICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF MEDITATION SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
Although meditation 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 AND MEDITATION
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 SYSTEM OF MEDITATION
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.