The Eight-Point Program of Passage Meditation


Easwaran developed an eight-point program of passage meditation so we can lead the spiritual life and make our contribution, right in the midst of our homes, workplaces, and communities.

The eight-point program is based on meditation, and includes seven other tools for training your mind and living at your best. Each point is linked to the others, and together they form a complete spiritual practice.

“To lead the spiritual life, it is not necessary to give up our job, leave our family, change our religion, or travel to distant lands. We start wherever we are, not running away from society, but right in the midst of life.”
– Eknath Easwaran

If you’re new, we’d recommend starting with meditation, and then learning the other seven points over time.

In Easwaran’s method of passage meditation, you meditate by focusing your attention on uplifting passages, or texts, from the world’s wisdom traditions. Many of these inspiring passages have endured for hundreds or even thousands of years. They come from deep and authentic sources – from men and women throughout the world who have become aware of the unity of life.

When you meditate on these passages, you gradually absorb the profound wisdom of these saints and sages. The high ideals, love, and compassion conveyed in your chosen passage begin to influence your thoughts and actions. Over time, with consistent practice, you can become the kind of person you want to be.

You start by choosing an inspirational passage, and then memorizing it. You could start with a short one, such as “The Prayer of St Francis”, “The Best”, or “Let Nothing Upset You”. Then

  • Sit in a chair, or on the floor.
  • Sit upright and close your eyes.
  • Go through the words of your memorized passage slowly and silently in the mind.
  • Do your best to concentrate on the words of the passage – when distractions come, just bring your attention back to the words.
  • At the end of the passage, go back to the beginning, or start a new one.
  • Practice passage meditation for 30 minutes every morning.

“The secret of meditation is that you become what you meditate on.” 
- Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

Find out what passage meditation is like by taking our 10-minute online workshop, including a sample five-minute meditation.

Meditation in More Depth

Instructions, inspiration, tips, and FAQs

Read Easwaran on Meditation

Instructions, tips, and benefits

Story: LB on Starting a Meditation Practice

Tips and inspiration from the community

A mantram, also known as mantra, is a powerful spiritual formula which can be repeated at any time outside of meditation. It will steady your mind when you’re feeling angry or agitated, and give you calm and patience throughout the day. Another ideal time to repeat the mantram is when falling asleep at night, or if you wake up during the night. 

The practice is simple – you choose a mantram, and then silently repeat it in your mind, over and over. The more you practice, the more it becomes a habit, which means it will come to you when you need it.

“Repetition of the mantram is a dynamic discipline by which we gain access to our inner reserves of strength and peace of mind.”
– Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

Choose a recommended mantram and start trying it out a few times today when you’re waiting, doing a mechanical chore, or feeling agitated. Notice if it changes your thinking process in any way.

The Mantram in More Depth

Instructions, inspiration, tips, and FAQs

Read Easwaran on the Mantram

What a mantram is, and what it can do

Story: Chris on the Mantram in a Challenging Work Relationship

Tips and inspiration from the community

We live in a fast-paced world, and it’s natural to feel hurried and pressured by all the things we need to do. Slowing down is about changing the rapid pace of our thinking, as well as choosing to spend our time wisely. 

When we slow down the mind, we have time to work better, to reflect, and to act in freedom. The quality of our work will improve, we’ll feel more fulfilled, and we’ll be able to contribute to our families and communities more effectively. We’ll be living with a deeper level of awareness.

“Even to see life, we need to go slow. To enjoy life, we need to go slow. To understand people, to understand situations, to arrive at considered conclusions and to make wise decisions – for all of these, we need time.”
– Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

Notice when you feel yourself speeding up today. Take a moment to stop what you’re doing, and then resume at a slower pace. What does that feel like? 

Read Easwaran on Slowing Down

“Slow Down your Mind: An Experiment”

Story: Merritt on the Benefits of Slowing Down in a Busy Workplace

Tips and inspiration from the community

One-pointed attention is training the mind to focus on one thing at a time. When you focus your attention during the day, you’ll be more productive, become a better listener, and find greater fulfillment in your work and relationships.

In meditation, we bring our mind back to the passage when distractions come, and over time we develop better concentration. Similarly, during the day we can use one-pointed attention to bring our mind back to concentrating on the person we’re with, or the activity we’re doing. 

“The person who can give undivided attention is a real peacemaker.”
– Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

Find a time today when you’re doing something you feel half-hearted about, and give it your one-pointed attention. What do you notice as a result?

Read Easwaran on One-Pointed Attention

Benefits and tips

Story: Kurt on the Results of One-Pointed Attention

Tips and inspiration from the community

Training the senses is about making conscious choices in what you watch, read, listen to, eat, drink, and talk about. You can learn to enjoy what is most nourishing and beneficial, and act in freedom rather than feel driven by compulsions and habits. You’ll be able to enjoy the good things in life even more, too, because you’re choosing what’s truly healthy and fulfilling. 

“Just as the body can be trained for virtuoso skills in the pool or on the uneven bars, so our senses can be trained, immensely benefiting ourselves and those around us. Then the senses become our trusted servants.”
– Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

Notice when you next feel driven to do something small for your own satisfaction. It could be having a snack, checking your email, or browsing a website. Try delaying the activity by an hour. What do you notice?

Read Easwaran on Training the Senses

Changing our conditioning to act in freedom

Story: Sheryl on Training the Senses and Changing Habits

Tips and inspiration from the community

Putting others first is about putting the welfare of the whole first, in which our own is included. When we change self-centered ways of acting, speaking, and thinking, we become more flexible and loving. Our relationships will deepen and we’ll find greater peace of mind.

We can begin right where we are, giving a little more love and attention to our family or friends, where it already feels natural. Putting others first can also include saying “no” at times, which requires artistry and discrimination.

“If we can establish peace in our hearts, return love for hatred, and live for the welfare of our family and community, we have changed the world picture.” – Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

When you’re next working with family or friends on a small project or choosing entertainment together, try doing it another person’s way. How did that change the situation?

Read Easwaran on Putting Others First

Choose kindness

Story: Laura on Putting Others First as a Grandparent

Tips and inspiration from the community

When we spend time with people who inspire and support our spiritual growth, it helps all of our other activities and relationships. It can make all the difference to meet regularly with other passage meditators to read Easwaran’s books or watch his talks for regular inspiration, and meditate together. This is also known as satsang, a Sanskrit word. 

“In Sanskrit, this sharing is called satsang. The word derives from two smaller words: sat, meaning “the good” or “truth” or “reality”, and sanga, meaning “group” or “association”. Thus it signifies the seekers of the highest, banded together.”
– Eknath Easwaran

Try it!

Find some time today to spend with someone who inspires you. Give that person your extra attention, and notice how it affects you. This will give you a taste of how we’re affected by the people around us.

And explore our online and in-person fellowship groups for passage meditators.

Read Easwaran on Spiritual Fellowship

Support and inspiration on the spiritual path

Story: Lisa on the Power of Spiritual Fellowship in a Time of Grief

Tips and inspiration from the community

Reading the great mystics of all traditions reminds us of our highest ideals and inspires us to live them out. To help your practice of passage meditation, we also recommend that you read Easwaran regularly for clear instructions and inspiration in this practice.

“Books chosen from the annals of mysticism should be read slowly and well. We are not after information, but understanding and inspiration. Take in a little every day, reflect on it, and then try to practice what you have learned.”
– Eknath Easwaran

Try it! 

Find an Easwaran article on a topic you’re interested in. You could also sign up for our free weekly inspiration which includes new talks and articles by Easwaran. 

Read Easwaran on Spiritual Reading

Seeking the company of saints and sages

Story: Nikhil on Reading to Living

Tips and inspiration from the community

Inspiration and Stories About the Eight Points

More on living out the eight points in daily life