We all need a little peace, stillness, and balance to get us through life. Sadly, this doesn’t jive with the social mold we’re supposed to fit into. We’re supposed to be good workers who value productivity above all else. This makes us incessantly tired, stressed, and anxious as we try to get through each day.
We have no time for rest, but deep down, most of us want nothing more than to stop and relax. We’d be happy to take a break even for just a day. Most of us can’t, but we can all retreat into a calm inner space – one in which our thoughts, fears, and stresses fade away – whenever we want.
Meditation can be our vacation from everything in life that drains us. We can’t pin it down to any specific practice; there are so many forms that it’s best to find one that works for you. Whether traditional or new and radical, a meditation practice will leave you feeling like life doesn’t have to be so harsh. Continue reading →
The word “spirituality” means something different to each of us. Some interpret it as a path or lifestyle and believe that the destination is enlightenment.
Some seekers look at the world as a school in which we develop compassion, learn to be human, and slowly become aware of things hidden from the human eye. I’m one of many who see the world this way. I think we are all students with the potential to teach each other.
In my opinion, we should tap into our potential so we can help those who are lost. Fortunately, countless insightful teachers have stepped up to help the rest of us. Some of them have gained a following, whereas others have spoken their truth quietly and stayed out of the limelight. Continue reading →
I wrote the following for the 332nd issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.
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Revered nineteenth-century Hindu mystic Paramahansa Ramakrishna spoke often about meditation, God, and the Divine Mother – the aspect of God believed to have created the universe.
He had a wealth of interesting ideas about how we can become one with the creator through surrendering and becoming comfortable with the silence. Many of his ideas were centered on giving up the material world and embracing the spiritual. The world, he taught, is a distraction and a test of faith.
Sri Ramakrishna (and many others) taught that the only true way to know God is through devotion and consistent meditation. Here, we’ll read a few passages from him that explain where, how, and why we should meditate.
Obviously, you don’t have to believe everything you read here. We’re all on our own path, and I don’t expect you to take everything here at face value. I sometimes disagree with certain passages but share them anyway because they interest me; not because I want you to think they’re the truth.
First, Sri Ramakrishna tells us that we can only meditate through the will of God.
“One cannot meditate unless God wills it. One can meditate when God makes it possible for one to do so.” (1)
If we do the inner work to cultivate such a connection, then we can meditate anywhere.
“You may meditate wherever you like. Every place is filled with Brahman-Consciousness.” (2)
By meditating, he tells us, we turn our attention to the reflection of our divinity within.
“In the Sahasrara, Siva manifests Himself in a special manner. The aspirant should meditate on Him. The body is like a tray; the mind and buddhi are like water. The Sun of Satchidananda is reflected in this water. Meditating on the reflected sun ones sees the Real Sun through the grace of God.” (3)
If we come from the Source – or to take it a step further, we are the Source incarnate – then it makes sense that we each contain a divine spark we can expand upon.
Meditation reveals this expanded aspect of our consciousness, which is known by several names. Some call it God, some call it the higher self, and some follow it diligently but never question what it is. If you’re in tune with it, then at any time, you can take a few moments for quiet self-reflection.
Sri Ramakrishna implores us not to stay at the surface with our meditation.
“In meditation one must be absorbed in God. By merely floating on the surface of the water, can you reach the gems lying at the bottom of the sea?” (4)
Any time in meditation is time well spent, but so much awaits deep in the subconscious that we’d be silly not to explore it further. The subconscious is uncharted territory; only the most devoted yogis and mystics have plunged deep enough to gain any real insight.
The only thing that separates us from them is how deep we’re willing to go.
Sri Ramakrishna shares a tip for meditating on God.
“In order to meditate on God, one should try at first to think of Him as free from upadhis, limitations. God is beyond upadhis. He is beyond speech and mind. But it is very difficult to achieve perfection in this form of meditation.
“But it is easy to meditate on an Incarnation – God born as man. Yes, God in man. The body is a mere covering. It is like a lantern with a light burning inside, or like a glass case in which one sees precious things.” (5)
First, he instructs, we should meditate on our idea of God – what we believe the creator to be. Gradually, with time, we’ll understand that God is formless. We can then let go of our misconceptions and be at peace with what is.
“By meditating on God with form one speedily acquires devotion; then one can meditate on the formless God. It is like throwing a letter away, after learning its contents, and then setting out to follow its instructions.” (6)
Finally, he shares a lovely analogy.
“Look at the fish. Meditating on the formless God is like swimming joyfully like these fish, in the Ocean of Bliss and Consciousness.” (7)
This can be difficult to understand if you’ve never been deep in meditation. You can liken it to swimming or flowing in an ocean of love, good vibrations, or whatever you want to call it. We all have different names for this higher power, but no matter how we refer to it, meditation illuminates it.
Sri Ramakrishna shared countless lessons about God and the illusory nature of this world in which we seem cut off from our divinity. He is one of many teachers with insight that even if you disagree with, is nonetheless profound and fun to read. Hopefully, his words have helped you in your search for truth.
(1) Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 280.
(2) Ibid., 403.
(3) Ibid., 344.
(4) Ibid., 124.
(5) Ibid., 365.
(6) Ibid., 353.
(7) Ibid., 256.
About Wes Annac:
I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, love, awareness, activism, and other crazy stuff. I run Openhearted Rebellion, a blog dedicated to sharing wisdom and encouraging a revolution that begins in the heart.
In this video, we’ll look at some of the lesser known benefits of meditation. If you like it, subscribe and hit the notification bell to see future videos on the Wes Annac/Openhearted Rebel YouTube channel.
We don’t hear as much about the physical benefits of meditation as we do the spiritual. Fortunately, the scientific community is interested in it and has done a fair amount of research on it.
Scientists don’t see it as something that will enlighten you or fuel a spiritual journey; they see it as a simple effort to calm the mind using certain mental techniques. They’ve found that this helps the mind and body in notable ways.
In this article, we’ll learn about the physical and psychological benefits of meditation. Specifically, we’ll learn how it can help with creativity, dementia and Alzheimer’s, stress, anxiety, and addiction.
We’ll start with something the scientific and spiritual communities agree on: meditation can make you more creative. Continue reading →
Do you want to know yourself? Sit and breathe. Do you want to know the divine? Sit and breathe.
In an overcomplicated world, this simple advice can change everything. No need to push yourself toward some amazing, grandiose personal change. No need to become unhappy trying to live up to some guru’s expectations. No need to abandon who you are in hopes of becoming something more.
Just breathe deeply and let spirit take care of the rest.
Are you aware you have a spiritual power source you can access with a few simple breaths? Another world awaits those who can calm the mind and deep-breathe their way into a space of peace. This blissful world could transform life for everyone if more of us were open to it.
By bringing your attention to your subconscious, it helps you become aware of things deep within that either help or hurt you. If you meditate for long enough, it’ll reveal the answers to your deepest questions.
Without meditation, I don’t think I could receive the guidance I’ve needed to get through countless problems in life.
Meditation was there for me each time I realized I can’t find what I need in the material world. By becoming silent, still, and willing to listen to the nothingness, I discovered a higher consciousness and the potential to plunge deeper.
Within the meditation-induced nothingness, you discover the intuitive stream of thought that leads to positive places through positive choices. If you can tune in and listen to this intuitive thought stream, it’ll help you stay on the right path.