Worries and anxieties can rob us of your inner peace and poise and affect our physical health as well. Almost all of us are challenged with these negative emotions and the first step is to recognize when they manifest themselves inside of you. Worries and anxieties may erupt quite quickly in the face of a particular event or might subside within our consciousness on a daily basis. Even if we are an experienced meditator, being aware, clear and honest with ourselves about our level of stress allows us the opportunity to consciously create more peace, tranquility and harmony within.
The next step is willingness to take a moment to calm, focus and meditate; even if it is just for a moment or two. Sri Chinmoy offered the following advice:
Question: If we are confused and nervous, how will meditation ever be able to help us?
Sri Chinmoy: “In the physical world if somebody is sick, we do not say that he will never be well again. If he goes to a doctor and takes medicine, there is every possibility that he will be cured. If somebody is assailed by physical ailments, medicine is the answer. If somebody is assailed by anxiety, worry and confusion, then meditation is the remedy. Just because an individual right now is a victim to inner suffering, we cannot say that his case is hopeless. The meditation-solution is there, provided the individual wants to be cured.”
Sri Chinmoy, My meditation-service at the United Nations for twenty-five years, Agni Press, 1995
If we are suddenly assailed with worries and anxieties a great immediate remedy is to focus are awareness on our breath and slow it down. If even for just a minute or two, concentrate solely on taking slower, deeper breaths and allow your body to slow down and relax as well. Imagine breathing in peace and releasing tension and stress while breathing out.
When there is more time available try leading yourself through a visualization exercise. Find a quite place to sit down and completely absorb your imagination in something that calms your mind, emotions and body’s energy. Imagination can spark the wealth of light and inner peace that already resides inside of your spiritual heart and soul.
Below is an inspiring visualization exercise focusing on the beauty and vastness of the ocean. After reading each sentence, take a good five seconds or so (or three relaxed breaths) to immerse yourself and experience what is being described with all your senses:
Begin by seeing yourself sitting on a quite beach. Feel the warm golden sand underneath you. Hear the sound of gentle waves. Smell the fresh air. Gaze out onto a bright, clear, calm turquoise blue ocean.
Allow yourself to simply relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.
Observe gentle waves slowly rolling in and then receding back into the ocean.
Start to align the rhythm of your breath with the rhythm of the waves; breathing out as the waves come towards you and breathing back in as they draw back into the sea. Take a moment to connect with how lovely the ocean is while you quietly draw your breath in as the ocean recedes and exhale back out as it expands.
Now slowly rise and walk into the water. It is very comfortable, relaxing, warm, clear and blue. You are able to easily stroll past the small waves and eventually float out to where the water is perfectly still and calm.
As you silently float a little farther out, become aware of how peaceful and vast the ocean is – spreading out in all directions. An infinite expanse of clear bright turquois blue water. And like a drop entering back into the sea, feel yourself slowly dissolve into the beauty, peace and serenity that completely surrounds you. You, yourself, becoming as vast, still, clear and beautifully blue as the ocean water around you.
Now gently bring your awareness back to your breath. As you breathe in draw this expanse of beauty and peace inside of you creating a reservoir of calm and clarity that you can draw from throughout the day. Feel reassured that you have created and now possess a deeper feeling of tranquility and serenity inside of you.
In our classes in San Diego we offer many different techniques to quite the mind and increase our awareness of the inner peace from deep within. Please check our schedule and join us for an aspiring journey of learning more about meditation and spirituality.
During a crisis such as our challenges with Coronavirus we are flooded with information, facts and opinions based on the world around us. It is rare but inspiring to hear a perspective from an inner spiritual point of view. Less than a year before passing away, Sri Chinmoy offered his words of wisdom about a natural disaster in Asia. Although these two events are not the same and require vastly different responses in the outer world, our need for inner advice on our feelings of anxiety, loss and helplessness can be very similar.
On 11 January 2005, during a function with representatives of the Red Cross, Sri Chinmoy answered a question about the tsunami that had recently devastated South Asia. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Question: During this huge disaster, what kind of spirit would we need to face it?
Sri Chinmoy: “We need a spirit of oneness. This disaster has in a very special way helped us to bring the world together. The world of division must go. The world of oneness must come forward… The world is vast, but on the strength of our oneness, heart’s oneness, we can make each and every human being feel that we exist for the improvement of the world… Many, many people who did not previously care for the world have now brought forward their hearts. They have come together with utmost sympathy and a feeling of oneness. This world belongs to each and every human being. We exist not only for our little family, but for the big family, which is the world.”
Sri Chinmoy was also an inspiring advocate of maintaining one’s health and being disciplined in doing exercise. Below are excerpts from a talk Sri Chinmoy gave at a National Health Institute:
The body is the temple.
The soul is the shrine.
The body is the dreamer.
The soul is the fulfiller.
No journey forward,
And new creation-manifestation.
I pray to God to bless me
With a Divinity-Illumination-surcharged body,
So that I can manifest here on earth
And God-Immortality’s Bliss.
Is God’s Wealth.
Is God’s Heart-Satisfaction.
The body’s health is essential. Inside the body is the soul, our inner existence. What we need is physical fitness, not physical supremacy to defeat others and glorify ourselves. We need health, physical fitness, which is of paramount importance. When we are physically fit, we can achieve the things that we need most in our life. It is only through physical fitness that we can achieve what we desire and fulfil our lofty aspiration. Therefore, we must keep our body always fit to love God and to serve God in humanity.
– Sri Chinmoy
How can a single individual living in San Diego help the world achieve peace? It seems like a dauntless task with every contribution being so small compared to the world’s challenges and conflicts. To create lasting world peace far beyond fleeting negotiations, truces and treaties, people need to value peace in their minds and feel peace in their hearts.
“There is no peace in the world today because. There is no peace in the minds of men”.
~ Secretary General U Thant of the United Nations
A single heart-meditation
~ Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 50, Agni Press, 2009
The experiences we have on an individual scale parallel the experiences we observe on a world wide scale. If we feel animosity towards a neighbor or coworker, no matter how many outer agreements we make, this inner malice will manifest in some way causing conflict and hostility. Peace between men and peace between nations cannot last until peace is experienced and treasured inside every individual.
Meditation with the spiritual heart is a direct means to that end. When the qualities of unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness and oneness are discovered and nurtured through meditation a more powerful connection can be made with others, and creative clear intuition and insight can be cultivated to resolve conflicts. Everything we imagine, plan, create and offer to the world grows, blooms and manifests from our state of consciousness. If we feel deep within divine peace our outer actions will reflect this and those who come in contact with us and our offerings will feel that sublime harmony.
When he meditated on light,
Inside light he saw peace.
When he meditated on peace,
Inside peace he saw
The liberation of the world.
~ Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 8, Agni Press, 1983
It truly is our own inspired meditations on divine peace that spreads the aspiration for peace within from person to person. This spreading of heartfelt peace is the everlasting solution to world peace.
The San Diego Sri Chinmoy Centre not only offers free meditation classes to teach people how to achieve inner peace, but we also host the Peace Run every other year as they carry a torch for world peace throughout the world. In North America the peace runners follow a route through the US, Mexico and Canada for four months and run through San Diego in early June. They offer ceremonies at local schools and a chance to run with the torch for world peace. To find out more and to join in go to peacerun.org.
Finding time to meditate at work can be a powerful boon to both your inner peace and outer satisfaction during the day. The poise, patience and intuition in handling both negative and positive situations that comes from a practice of meditating is rewarding in many ways. A successful regular practice at your work place can be established in a few easy steps.
The most important step in the beginning is to realize that taking the time; even 7 minutes of your workday to engage in a seemly non-work related activity will reap benefits to both you and your productivity.
Most problems and challenges in life continue to remain so simply because we are caught in a mindset that does not allow for new creative understanding of the situation. The simple act of clearing the mind and reaching to a deeper part of your inner awareness for peace, calm, and inspiration can clear out unproductive emotions, habits and thoughts that lead you into experiencing the same frustrations over and over again. In contrast thinking harder about a problem quite often leads to stress, insecurity, self doubt, and repetitive thought processes that result in a closed minded vantage point. Regaining clarity and focus through meditation is a fresh energizing restart to the whole work day allowing for spontaneity, enthusiasm and creativity.
Taking a break to calm and relax the body as you meditate can have many health benefits as well. Slowing down the breath, heartbeat and overall rhythm of the body reduces stress allows the physical to operate with a deeper sense of wellbeing. Scientific study has shown that stress reduction achieved through meditation directly helps alleviate many chronic injuries and pain.
Most importantly, though, is the rejuvenation of your inner light and aspiration. Our contribution to our line of work is a manifestation of who we are. When our offering to the outer world comes from an inspired higher inner consciousness we create more harmonious world around us. This becomes apparent in both our output and attitude at work. Energy, enthusiasm, intuitive insight, creative problem solving, patience, poise, confidence, detachment, and ability to see everything from a higher vantage point all evolves naturally through meditation.
So, where, how, when and how long does one meditate at work?
There are basically three options for places to meditate. The first one is obviously at your desk. If possible place a picture of something that inspires a sense of peace or inspiration on your desk. Do not use a picture on your computer screen, but an actual photograph of nature, or an inspiring spiritual figure. It can help to have a small flower in a cup or small vase as well. Keep this area of your desk reserved only for this secrete shrine for meditation. A beautiful energy will envelope that small area. Or find a secluded area in the workplace that you can sit alone and uninterrupted for an allotted time. An empty meeting room, storage room, balcony or rooftop often makes for a perfect place to sneak off to for a meditation. If you are lucky enough to work near nature such as a park or other beautiful vista then taking a little extra time to walk to a special secluded spot can be very rewarding.
Start your meditations with concentration to focus and clear the mind. Even if you only have a few minutes to meditate it is important to first quiet down the work mindset and release any tensions that come with it.
This can be done by focusing on and slowing down the rhythm of your breath, releasing all attachments to thoughts with each exhalation and then drawing in clarity with each inhalation. Another technique is inwardly repeating an inspiring quality such as peace, love or light and powerfully envisioning that quality entering into you and flowing out into your entire consciousness. If you have something simple and beautiful to look at such as a flower, river, lake or the sea, pick out one small aspect of it and enter into that part of nature’s creation becoming one with its life energy.
Bring the focus of your mind down to one simple task or thought for 30 seconds to a minute. Do not worry if your mind temporarily follows another train of thought, simply refocus on your point of concentration once again, and concentrate a little longer and deeper. We really can improve our concentration by practicing it making it a very practical skill to use in our inner meditations and achieving outer goals.
To enter into meditation make sure to sit up straight either with your eyes closed or looking at your picture or a beautiful part of nature. Even if your eyes are closed, if you are sitting up straight no one will think you are sleeping and will usually respect that you are focused within. Place your concentration on the middle of your chest where your spiritual heart center is located. Imagine a warm golden light or your favorite flower slowly expanding inside. Completely immerse your awareness on this beautiful energy as if you yourself are sitting inside your heart. Allow this harmonious peaceful energy centered and emanating from the middle of your being to eventually immerse your entire body and awareness. Finally allow that beauty light and harmony to permeate your entire workplace cultivating peace, harmony and oneness.
There are many other visualizations you can do that only take a few minutes. Each week at our free meditation classes we explain and practice a number of them. Please do join us and find ones that work best for you.
You may not have the liberty to choose when you can take a break to do a short meditation. If this is the case then set aside some time to meditate in the first part of your scheduled break to make sure you are not rushed or forced to skip it altogether. If you schedule is more casual then find a regular point during the morning where you have enough energy to focus and stay awake and can utilize the benefits from your meditation of more peace and poise throughout the day. Noon time or right at the beginning of a typical lunch break is also a very powerful time to meditate. Confidence, dynamic energy, and more intense focus can be developed by meditating at this time.
If you are inspired and focused then five to seven minutes can be enough time to meditate at work. If you have the luxury to go longer all the better but make sure that work related thoughts do not creep back in compromising the quality of your meditation. It is always a good habit to allow a minute or two more to contemplate afterwards and allow the benefits of your meditation to soak in before rushing back to all your tasks.
Creating a meditation practice at work not only benefits you but really does offer a spark of light to everyone in your workplace. Consistency is important enabling you to make progress going deeper within and eventually revealing and manifesting this light in everything you do throughout your job. Most people who stick with it eventually find meditating at work one of the most rewarding parts of the day.
“He only works and works.
She only meditates and meditates.
But only a life of both
Work and meditation
Can hope to achieve
A world of perfect harmony.”
Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 96
Don’t count sheep, count your breath. Lying relaxed on your back, take your mind off the world and yourself. Just breath in on “one” and out on “two.” Imagine that out-breath disappearing into infinite space above. Follow it all the way to infinity and then back. Follow the in-breath as it disappears into the infinity within your own self. No thinking! Just feeling and letting go. Count up to twenty and back down to zero again. Do it twice or three times. Don’t be in a hurry, you’re not going anywhere. Breathe very, very slowly and don’t expect to go to sleep, just let it happen.