Passage Meditation

Learn the practice and experience the benefits


Passage meditation, developed by Eknath Easwaran, is a practical and effective way to train your mind and find a more fulfilling life. With a regular practice, you’ll find greater peace and calm, and the ability to make positive changes in your daily life.

Here you’ll find everything you need to try meditation for yourself and start your own practice.

Instructions in Meditation

In passage meditation, you concentrate on the words of an inspirational text or passage from one of the great wisdom traditions. 

You start by choosing an inspirational passage and memorizing it. The passage should be positive, practical and uplifting, and there are lots of passages you can choose from. Some are short, others longer, and they’re from all different traditions. 

Once you’re ready with your passage, then

  • Sit in a chair, or on a cushion 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 passage – when distractions come, just bring your mind back to the words.
  • At the end of the passage, go back to the beginning, or start a new one.
  • Do this for 30 minutes every morning.

In our online workshop, you can try passage meditation for five minutes without memorizing a passage first, so you can get a taste of the benefits.

If you’d like more detailed instructions and inspiration, read the first chapter of Easwaran’s book, Passage Meditation. Easwaran covers all the aspects of meditation here, from choosing a passage and dealing with distractions to renewing our commitment and keeping our practice fresh every day. 

Inspiration From Easwaran

Easwaran taught passage meditation for 40 years. His articles, talks, and books offer inspiration and instructions both for getting started and for deepening your practice.

  • Read an article about the method and benefits of meditation.
  • Watch a video about the training of attention. 
  • Read the first chapter of Passage Meditation, Easwaran's complete, practical guide to the practice.
  • Buy the book Passage Meditation as a print book, e-book, or audio book.

Inspiration & Tips From the BMCM Community

Passage meditators share stories from their own lives about getting started:

Frequently Asked Questions

Many of us start out with questions. We’ve answered some of them here. If your question isn’t answered, read the last FAQ for further resources and contact information.

It’s a Very Effective Way to Improve Your Concentration

Going through the words of the passage silently in your mind makes you very aware of when you’re concentrating, and when you’re distracted. And when you’re distracted (as is normal for all of us!) you know what to do – you gently bring your attention back to the words of the passage.

By bringing your mind back like this, over and over, you’re training your attention to go where you choose. Over time, as concentration improves, you’ll have fewer distractions. Your mind is coming under your control.

The skill of directing attention at will is one you can benefit from throughout the day. For example, you may be trying to concentrate on an important conversation with a friend, but find that you keep getting mentally distracted by a work problem. You can use the same skill that you used in meditation to bring your attention back to your friend – and later, to solve your work problem with equal attention and focus. 

You Become What You Meditate On

We’re influenced by whatever we focus on. If you meditate on passages that are full of positive, uplifting words and high ideals, they’ll influence your thoughts and actions during the day. And since you choose the passages that convey the qualities that you’re seeking, over time those passages will help you to become the kind of person that you want to be. In short, life gets better – for you and those around you.

Here are some examples of benefits that you’ll see:

  • A calmer mind
  • More positive thoughts
  • More patience, forgiveness, and strength
  • Ability to make better choices
  • Increased will power
  • More energy and vitality
  • Ability to transform negative habits
  • Greater depth and purpose.

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

You start by choosing an inspirational passage, and then memorizing it. Memorizing a passage may sound difficult, but with a bit of practice it can become easy, and even enjoyable! 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 a cushion 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.

In our online workshop, you can try passage meditation for five minutes without memorizing a passage first, so you can get a taste of the benefits. 

You can start seeing the benefits right away, and they grow over time. Some examples are

  • A calmer mind
  • More positive thoughts
  • More patience, forgiveness, and strength
  • Ability to make better choices
  • Increased will power
  • More energy and vitality
  • Ability to transform negative habits
  • Greater depth and purpose.

You might like to read a couple of stories from meditators about the benefits they’ve experienced in their lives.

Choose a passage that appeals to you. We have over 150 passages for you to explore and choose from. If you’re new, you might like to start by looking at the “Getting Started” passages.

All the passages were carefully selected by Easwaran, the founder of passage meditation, because they are positive, timeless, and come from authentic sources – from saints and sages who have realized the unity of life. By choosing one of these passages, you’re absorbing deep wisdom.

You could choose one from your own spiritual tradition, or choose from different traditions. If you are atheist or agnostic, you might prefer a passage without religious words, such as texts from the Buddhist, Taoist, or Native American traditions. It’s totally up to you – and you can experiment to find the right passage for you at any given time. It can be particularly helpful to find a passage which addresses your current challenges or life situation, and gives you the inspiration and guidance to draw out the best in you. Look at our filters to find a passage that meets your needs.

There’s a deep and unbroken tradition of memorization, recitation, and focus on spiritual passages throughout the world – such as recitation of the Prayer of St Francis, and the ancient Indian Vedas. For thousands of years, people have known that focusing on inspiring and wise words is a vital and transformative practice.

Eknath Easwaran systematized this practice for the modern world. He developed an effective, interior practice that anyone can learn and practice – simply by memorizing and silently repeating the words of your chosen passage. 

It’s a universal practice, so you can absorb the wisdom from many different traditions, times, and parts of the world. It’s meaningful to see the common themes and truths in all these traditions.

Different people take up passage meditation for different reasons. Some examples are

  • A calmer mind
  • More patience
  • Less stress and anxiety
  • Meaning and fulfillment
  • Realizing the unity of life
  • An authentic path for spiritual seekers
  • Contributing better to our family, community, and the world.

You can choose your own goal and progress at your own pace. Passage meditation is practical and straightforward, and it’s designed to help you change in the way you want. You can start right where you are and go as far as you want. 

No, you don’t need to change your beliefs. This is a universal practice. People all over the world, from different backgrounds and traditions, and with many different beliefs, are practicing passage meditation.

You don’t need to make any life changes – other than making 30 minutes of time free in your schedule to actually meditate! Easwaran liked to say that it’s a “come-as-you-party.” All are welcome, and you can start from wherever you are and incorporate it into your spiritual path however you choose.

Choose a place where you can be undisturbed for 30 minutes. Ideally, it would be quiet and peaceful.

If you’re in a small room or apartment, you could keep a meditation cushion under your bed, and pull it out every morning to a particular spot. Or you could dedicate a corner, and put a chair or cushion there. If you’ve got more space, you could dedicate a small room to meditation. 

You could put a few inspiring pictures in your chosen place, too.

The reason it’s helpful to meditate in the same place every day is that you’ll begin to associate it with meditation. Your mind will start settling down as you get ready, and that place will feel special to you.

Planning and creativity are both helpful when traveling. Plan your meditation time and place the evening before, and consider taking earplugs or an eye mask with you.

You may need to meditate on a plane or a train – that’s just fine. Most airports have a reflection room which can work well, and hotel rooms usually have plenty of pillows and blankets.

You might like to read a meditator’s personal story of how he makes it work.

Passage meditation is practiced for 30 minutes, every day. This is the ideal length of time to slow down your thinking, so you can really focus on the passage and absorb its positive qualities. 

The most effective time of day is first thing in the morning. This is when your mind is fresh, and your practice sets the tone for the rest of your day. You can then benefit from your morning meditation all day long.

We know that it can feel challenging to find 30 minutes in the morning, and to make it a daily practice. 

Once you’ve started meditating and seen the benefits in your own life, you’ll be motivated to keep it going, and it will become second nature to wake up and meditate right away. Here are some ideas you could try: 

  • Plan your morning the evening before. Work back from the time you need to leave the house, and think about what you need to get done before then. 
  • Get to bed 30 minutes earlier, so you can wake up 30 minutes earlier.
  • Meditate as soon as you can after waking up. This means you’re guaranteed to meditate every day, and it will become routine.
  • Think back to how you’ve created other beneficial habits in your life. What’s helped you?
  • Keep your phone and computer turned off until you’ve meditated.
  • Take an objective look at your day, and see if there’s any place you could spend less time, to free up the time for meditation. 
  • Ask a family member or friend to support you.
  • Remember that this is 30 minutes very well spent. As a result of investing in morning meditation, you’ll find that you’re more focused and fulfilled during the day, so you may actually save time overall. 

If you’ve tried the ideas in the answer above and are still finding it hard to meditate for 30 minutes, don’t give up! Start from where you are. If you can meditate for less than 30 minutes, focus on your success in simply meditating. Build up your meditation time, keeping 30 minutes as your goal. Over time, if you keep putting in effort, you will definitely succeed. We’ve seen many people build up a practice gradually. 

If you miss a morning, try to meditate later in the day, or start again the next day. 

Here are suggestions for keeping up your enthusiasm for meditation, and finding support from others interested in the spiritual life.

“To make progress in meditation, we have to be not only systematic but sincere too. It won’t do to sit and go through the mental motions halfheartedly. We need to renew our enthusiasm and commitment every day and give our best all the time. Success comes to those who keep at it – walking when they cannot run, crawling when they cannot walk, never saying ‘No, I can’t do this,’ but always ‘I’ll keep trying.’ ”
– Eknath Easwaran

Thousands of people around the world are practicing passage meditation – because it works. The relaxation and calm you’re looking for does indeed come over time, but it may feel like a different type of relaxation from what you’re used to, and it requires some investment of time and energy.

During meditation, it can feel like a struggle to train your mind. That’s good! It shows you’re doing it right. Our minds have been distracted and moving fast for many years. It’s not a surprise that it should take a lot of work to change those ingrained patterns of thinking. 

Rather than thinking how the meditation itself feels, notice how you feel right after and during the rest of the day. Are your thoughts going more slowly? Are you feeling more positive and hopeful? Are you more patient and kind to those around you?

All these qualities create a more relaxing way of thinking and acting – for you and those around you. 

Each person will experience the benefits in different ways and at different times. Many people notice benefits from the first day they start. If you’re trying to change a deep-seated habit, it could take months or even years. You might like to reflect every month or so on the changes you’ve seen in your own life, or that others have noticed and told you about. 

There are lots of memorization tips and techniques, and it’s helpful to try out several and find one that works for you. Memorizing new passages regularly keeps your meditation fresh, so it’s great to get into the habit of memorizing on a regular basis.

Here are some ideas:

  • In general, memorization is easiest when your mind is calm and one-pointed. After morning meditation may work well, or in the evening before you go to bed.
  • If it’s a long passage, break it into smaller sections and work on each section at a time.
  • Look for patterns that help you remember the order of the words or lines.
  • Write the passage on a piece of paper, or print it out, and carry it with you during the day. When you have a few free minutes, pull it out and memorize a little.
  • Walk around, reading a line and then recalling it. You can say it out loud or silently.
  • Post a passage to your wall or refrigerator, where you see it regularly and can learn gradually.
  • Record yourself saying the passage, and play it back, joining in whenever you can.
  • Memorize with a friend. Even if they don’t meditate, they may enjoy helping you to memorize a passage. 
  • Once the passage has become familiar, test yourself to see how much you can recall.

For people who are suffering from PTSD or severe depression, or who are taking psychotropic medication, Easwaran did not recommend passage meditation: 

“Life today is so fraught with problems that it is natural to feel burdened by them and to doubt one’s capacity to deal with them effectively. In such cases, the burden often comes not so much from the problems themselves as from the inability we feel in dealing with them. In such situations, meditation can help decisively by releasing inner resources that are available to all of us but are often hidden by clouds of insecurity and doubt.

“Chronic depression, however, is a very different matter. This kind of condition can be life-threatening, and it requires expert attention. In such cases I urge everyone to work closely with a qualified professional, and in particular never to combine this method of meditation with psychoactive drugs. Meditation may seem simple, but we should always remember that we are dealing with the most powerful instrument the world has seen.”
–Eknath Easwaran

Using some of the other eight points, such as repetition of a mantram, slowing down, and one-pointed attention can be more helpful. You can read about these on our eight-point program page.

We offer a wide variety of resources for new and longtime meditators, so you can find what you need to take the next step on your path. Many of these resources are free of charge.

Starting a Meditation Practice

  • Join a free, one-hour webinar. Everyone is welcome. Our style is interactive, with brainstorms, reflection exercises, and plenty of time for Q&A. 
  • Subscribe to our free Blue Mountain Journal, published two to three times per year. 
  • Read Easwaran’s book Passage Meditation, available as a printbook, e-book, or audiobook. Easwaran covers all aspects of meditation and daily spiritual living.

Deepening Your Existing Passage Meditation Practice

  • Join one of our twice weekly Satsang Live or eSatsang with other passage meditators around the world.
  • Attend a 75-minute online workshop. The workshop will include a reading study, reflection questions to strengthen your practice, a video clip of Easwaran, and Q&A.

We’re so glad you want to find out more. We want to make sure your question gets answered, so these are some recommended next steps. 

  1. Read Easwaran’s foundational book, Passage Meditation. The book includes one chapter on each of the eight points, and an additional 80 pages of Q&A.
  2. Join a free introductory webinar. The presenters will provide information and instruction about passage meditation, and leave plenty of time for Q&A. 
  3. Read Easwaran’s articles and watch his talks on this site. You can select topics you’re interested in.
  4. Attend an in-person retreat at the BMCM in Tomales, California. The schedule provides plenty of time for Q&A, and you’ll experience a weekend of spiritual living. Retreat fees are based on a sliding scale and scholarships are available.

If your question isn’t answered in these ways, you’re welcome to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Overview of the Eight Points

Information, tips, and benefits for each of the eight points

The Mantram

Learn what a mantram is, how it works, and how to choose one

Stories From Our Community

Meditators around the world share the benefits of their practice