Meditation

Meditation is stilling the thought waves in the mind

Patañjali

Meditation happens only when you get rid of your mind and thoughts.

Amma (Mata Amṛtanandamayi)

To develop our full capacity for nonviolence, meditation is an invaluable, probably indispensable tool. Without some degree of mastery over the mind, it is very difficult to set in motion the conversion of the ‘thought waves’ of anger and fear into their positive counterparts, compassion, and fearlessness. What’s more, in meditation, as those thought waves decrease in frequency and intensity, we become more and more directly aware of our interconnectedness with others and all life – the vision that motivates us to be nonviolent in the first place.

At the Metta Center, we do not feel equipped to offer instruction in any particular type of meditation (and though we at times offer information about yoga, we do not conflate the practice of hatha yoga and physical postures with the practice of meditation). We do not claim to be meditation teachers and recommend that you connect directly with a meditation center who can assist you in your search for instruction. Members of the Metta team practice meditation by various methods (or none at all), as do the friends who join us for our regular Monday afternoon or monthly Hope Tank sessions. We encourage those who wish to grow in nonviolence – or simply have the most successful life available to a human being – to find a practice and a teacher that suits them.

That said, we do often recommend a practice and a teacher whom some of us follow, and at whose instance Metta was founded, many years ago. He is Sri Eknath Easwaran, and he called his method Passage Meditation because you memorize inspirational passages to meditate on; instructions and much supporting material (including the book Passage Meditation) is conveniently housed at this link.

The allied disciplines of Passage Meditation are:

Repetition of a Mantram

One- Pointed Attention

Slowing Down

Putting Others First

Training the Senses

Spiritual Reading

Spiritual Fellowship

And you can read more about them at the above link to the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.

Thich Nhat Hanh once said that you may believe in nonviolence and consider yourself completely nonviolent but when you’re under attack your ‘nonviolence’ will fly out the window if you don’t have a regular, daily practice of meditation behind it. None of us (as far as we know) has so far been in that exact situation, but we can endorse meditation as the sovereign spiritual practice for nonviolent activists – or anyone!