Let me first share with you how I stumbled upon Easwaran’s
method of meditation. During my undergraduate years, I came to UC
Berkeley on an exchange program. As a pre-medical student, I certainly
needed stress relief, so I started looking for meditation classes.
Coincidentally, I was about to study at the only university in the
United States offering a meditation course for credit! The course was
taught by an experienced professor who welcomed us by mentioning that
this may be the most important skill we will ever learn. We meditated
three mornings a week at 7 a.m. with 90 students on the beautiful
Berkeley campus. In addition, we studied the book Passage Meditation,
containing all the basic instructions to start your own practice. In
this book, Eknath Easwaran says “All I ask is 30 minutes a day.” This
seemed like a reasonable demand. I could not have expected that this
small-time investment would slowly start to change my life.
the midst of a busy medical and research career, and currently finding
myself in medical residencies, meditation has proved itself invaluable
in more ways than I can express. It has not only helped me reduce stress
and increase my focus and work efficiency, but it has allowed access to
inner resources to stay balanced, healthy, and happy in an overly busy
life. Once I started tasting these ‘fruits’ of meditation, I knew I
needed to stick with it. But how do we keep up a meditation practice in
the midst of the hubbub of daily life?
Sustaining Your Enthusiasm is Key
To maintain a daily meditation practice, finding ways to boost
our enthusiasm is key. What are some of the things that have helped me
to get up early in the morning and hit the pillow?
I have found that spiritual fellowship is essential in keeping up my
enthusiasm. In many ways, meditation is going against the current,
externally in terms of what other peers are doing, as well as internally
in going against our own conditioning and undesirable habits. Finding
‘allies’ who also practice meditation is very helpful, if not essential.
During my student years, I found an established a satsang nearby that I
attended on a monthly basis. For some time we even had a YA Satsang in
Amsterdam, which was very helpful and a lot of fun. We would read, do a
video study and meditate together, and follow it with a shared dinner.
Sometimes we’d organize an entertaining event. As my YA friends found
jobs in other areas and moved away, I had to resort to alternative ways
of finding spiritual fellowship. Some of us kept up a YA phone or Skype
satsang, which was most useful, and the YA eSatsang turned out to be a
great e-replacement! Connecting with fellow YA meditators through the
eSatsang, whether actively participating myself or not, greatly inspires
Attending a retreat is another powerful way to boost your meditation practice in a fun way while also getting plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation. You can check out the website or BMCM Journal to see if any regional retreats are offered in your area. In my case, there weren’t any regional retreats, so I have given myself the advantage of attending a retreat in Tomales, California, once a year. Despite the long flight, airfare, and jetlag, it has always been entirely worth it flying over from Europe, and I would highly recommend attending retreats to anyone! There is nothing else that replenishes my physical and spiritual energy as much as a retreat. Scholarships and reduced prices are available.