When I was a little girl I used to wait at the corner bus stop for the bus that would take me to school.
There were buses that took students to grade school, junior high school, and high school. Sometimes the older kids would be talking about their classes, a test, math problems. I used to wonder, with a little trepidation, how I was ever going to learn all they were talking about. It seemed so complicated, so grown up. While I did very well in school, this thought would sometimes cause me to worry.
Many years later, when I was listening to Swami Kriyananda giving a talk, he spoke of how we learn largely by osmosis. His meaning was that we don’t have to learn point by point through the intellect. We can learn through our intuition, absorbing higher consciousness by being in proximity to it, both in consciousness and in environment.
His explanation made me recall my childhood experience and the fear I felt at that time, and I was greatly relieved by what he said. I knew it was true. Knowledge is not gained by shoving information into our brains; it is learned by inward assimilation of truth and consciousness. In this way, meditation is the vehicle of the highest kind of learning.
When we learn to meditate we are given a technique. The technique is meant to help and guide us—it is invaluable in getting off to a good start with habits that will support us and see us through. But Yogananda added to this the importance of practicing the “art of meditation.”
Meditation is a science and also an art. Successful meditation requires an understanding of both.
An artist is fluid, his senses keenly aware. He is listening, using his eyes, sensitive, and seeking to be inspired as well as to channel inspiration. When we meditate, we need to be an artist, keenly aware of our subject, and then inwardly, from our center, seek to express that awareness in the best possible way.
Meditation is the expression of who we are on a soul level. Some of us will need to be more diligent in practicing the elements of the technique, perhaps being more regular in our practice. Others may need to cultivate a deeper devotion or meditate longer. As we try to understand the art of meditating, we will feel, like the artist, which pigment we need to color the canvas of our unique practice. The more we can fully establish ourselves within our soul-self in meditation, the more deeply we can commune with the Divine and receive an understanding of the very mysteries of the universe itself.
In his book, Secrets of Meditation, Swami Kriyananada says, “Meditation is the necessary complement of prayer. Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening for His answer. Without both of these ingredients, divine conversation is impossible.”
When you sit to meditate, make a strong connection with God in whatever form you honor Him. Greet Him with the fullness of your heart. After all, this is a special time that you share together, you and your dearest friend.
Ask Him to be with you, to reveal Himself, to speak to you, to love you, to help you grow and understand. Offer Him your deepest love. Then, practice your preparatory exercises and techniques of meditation. Try to inwardly attune yourself to what you are doing. Afterwards, practice being in the silence, your full concentration at the spiritual eye.
Listen, feel, and be alert with an open heart! This is the art of meditation. Experience who you really are. Let God guide your life and consciousness moment by moment and discover your true Self.