Over the past year we have seen an increase in the number of community-led events that have connected passage meditators from around the world and created spaces in which they can deepen their practice. One great example from earlier this year is the New Year’s Mantram Relay for Peace.
We’re pleased to highlight another community-led event: weekly virtual meditations. Each Saturday, passage meditators from around the world use a video platform to spend 40 minutes together – 30 minutes of passage meditation and then closing with a brief spiritual reading to get inspiration from Easwaran. Read on to see what Easwaran wrote on the importance of meditating together, find out about the experience of participants, and learn how you can join in if you’re interested!
The Need for Sustained Enthusiasm
Easwaran has written many times about the need for sustained enthusiasm, especially over the long haul as passage meditators continue to practice day after day, year after year. In the first chapter of Passage Meditation he says plainly, “It helps to know at the outset that you will be running a marathon in this program, not simply jogging once or twice around a track.”
Knowing that we’re in for a marathon, it’s helpful to have many different ways in which we can keep our enthusiasm strong. We’ve heard from our friends over the years that one of the most effective ways is to meditate with others on a regular basis.
Here’s an excerpt from Easwaran from his book, Like a Thousand Suns: The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living Vol. 2:
Many years ago I was taken to the library of someone who had collected almost all the books ever published on meditation in any language. I had never seen so many books on meditation in my life, and I told my host, “You must meditate regularly.”
He coughed apologetically. “Actually,” he explained, “what with all these books to study, I don’t have time for meditation.” Then he asked politely, “You must be familiar with most of these titles?”
I, too, coughed apologetically. “No,” I said, “I don’t have time to read many books on meditation. I use the time to meditate.”
It is not enough to read about meditation, or talk about meditation, or do research on meditation; if you want Self-realization, you have to learn to meditate. And there is only one way to learn to meditate – through trying to meditate. Wasn’t there someone who said he would never get into water unless he had learned to swim?
Meditation is often presented as a pleasant experience in which you hear birds singing and see flowers blooming while you float along in a wonderland. Actually, floating in a wonderland is just the opposite of meditation. In order to learn to meditate, you have to put in a great deal of work. For a month or two the person who has just taken to meditation will tell you all about how grand it is. But it is only fair to point out that, once you really get started, this initial surge of enthusiasm is going to wane. To guard against such ups and downs, I would make several suggestions.
First, it is very helpful to meditate with others. A group of friends meditating along the same lines can meditate together and draw support from one another. As Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am present in the midst of them.”