Ever wonder what a “successful” week of practicing passage meditation and the other points looks like? We did, so we asked YAs from our online, international fellowship group – the YA eSatsang – to share a success they’ve had over the last week. Enjoy these everyday stories about “the little things” that make passage meditation so powerful.
Claire from Toronto, Canada
A few days ago I was helping a client with some paperwork, and was starting to feel a bit frustrated because some of her answers to my questions seemed vague or inconsistent, and she didn't seem to be making much effort to understand the things I was trying to explain to her. Despite myself, I could hear a slight edge creeping into my voice as I tried to explain something AGAIN. Then the client told me that her mother had died two weeks before, and since then she'd found it really hard to concentrate on anything. Imagine my remorse. It was one of those times when life just holds up a little sign in front of your face saying "Slow Down! Put Others First!" I let the paperwork go for a moment and took some time to listen to her talk about her mum and how she had been feeling. She seemed more relaxed by the time she left, and I felt I had learned a valuable lesson. And we had managed to finish the paperwork too!
Anand from Bangalore, India
It's been my wish for a long time that I read out and share spiritual literature with my family. I'm with my parents this week, and my mother and I spend an hour early in the morning reading the Bhagavatham which is the story of the Lord. It is a wonderful feeling to share spiritual reading, and the sweetness of the words seems to get multiplied over. I feel blessed for this to have happened at this time.
Lisa from San Francisco, California
It's actually been kind of hard to examine the past week and see where my successes have been, I'm much better at seeing growth over a long time period when it's more dramatic. I guess that's what makes this a good exercise!
I work at an education start-up company and this past week we had our first ever staff retreat and for some legitimate, and some selfish, reasons I was NOT excited. I was stewing over my discontent during my long drive to the retreat site and getting increasingly and increasingly grumpy. As I waited for the rest of the team to show up enough mantrams were bouncing around in my mind that I noticed how agitated I was. I spent a few moments repeating my mantram intentionally and was able to shift my focus from myself and make my goal to give one-pointed attention to my co-workers. The result? It was a great day! Certainly not perfect, and certainly not without moments of frustration, but I was able to get to know my co-workers and bosses better and can already see the benefits of the day we spent together! Good thing I got myself out of the grumps!
Here are some photos from the staff hike, the view at the end was certainly nothing to complain about!
Drew from Honolulu, Hawaii
During the past week our family friend visited for several days. I grew up an only child and am accustomed to having a lot of alone time, so it can be a challenge for me to continually be around people. But, at times when I might rather be alone, I did my best to put our friend first and spend time with her. I also relied on other points of the eight-point program, notably the mantram and one-pointed attention, to help me do this and be more fully present. As a result, I felt that the experience helped me “rub off some of my rough edges,” and fostered a new depth in my relationship with our friend.
Drew (right) at a recent visit with two YAs from California.
Kate from Vancouver, B.C., Canada
I've been super busy these days. It means I'm not getting as much sleep as I need, so staying alert in meditation in the morning has been a challenge for the past while. I've been feeling down about that.
On the bright side, I have managed to stick to reading or listening for 5 minutes to Easwaran for inspiration after meditation. Just yesterday, I read a short passage from the Summer BMCM Journal which addresses going deeper in meditation. This small excerpt by Easwaran lifted me right up out of my doldrums, and is continuing to provide inspiration during this busy time:
Surprisingly, it is not during meditation that you make progress in meditation; it is during the rest of the day. What you do in meditation is get the power, install the dynamo; the actual work is done after you open your eyes, get up, and go out into the world...
That is why I say that it’s not enough if you meditate regularly or longer than half an hour. The rest of your day must facilitate that meditation. If you have a good meditation in the morning and then yield to compulsive urges, dwell on yourself, or get self-willed or angry, you are undoing all the work you did that morning in meditation.
On the other hand, if you go on doing your best to follow the rest of this eight-point program throughout the day, not only are you going to have a better meditation on the following day, you are beginning to solve your problems and even to help other people solve theirs. When you’re able to do your job with cheerful concentration, when you can give and take when things go wrong, when you’re working under pressure and are able to remain kind, you’re helping your meditation immensely. So try to remember every day that you are participating in meditation even at breakfast, at work, at school, in the garden, everywhere.
Alexandra from Hamburg, Germany
Several e-mails from eSatsang, blog posts and comments during phone satsang have – finally! – inspired me to memorize a new meditation passage last week.
It had been far too long since I memorized a new passage. For some reason, I have a hard time motivating myself to learn passages by heart. I love my "old" passages dearly, but according to Easwaran it is important to not let them grow stale, so a new passage from time to time is crucial.
Many thanks to all the friends in eSatsang for your support, motivation and inspiration!
Carlos from Concord, California
A week ago, I was in a difficult situation in which I gave and gave, apparently without getting anything in return. The more I gave, the fiercer the conviction grew that I could give more. I didn't receive anything, I gave more. I didn't receive anything, I gave more. My success is realizing, a little more, that I can give value to any situation, rather than the situation dictating what value I see.
Susana from North Hollywood, California
I have been using Sri Easwaran's eight-point program consistently for a little more than a year now. When I started, I was living with my older sister but this last month I was given the opportunity to move back in with my parents and my younger brother. Not only that, the second week back home I started working as a full-time nanny for two young boys, ages 2 and 3.
What an adjustment, and all in a couple of weeks! I am so thankful for my meditation practice and especially my mantram which have helped me settle down fairly easily into my new routine. When I lived with my sister, she was the only person I could consistently practice putting first. Now at home and at work, I have countless opportunities. My parents are very involved with their church and they have so many friends.
For the past fours years, I have been struggling with an anxiety disorder which pretty much made me completely antisocial. Since starting the eight-point program though, I'm starting to really enjoy being around people. I especially like going with my parents to a weekly prayer meeting. It is a great opportunity to practice being social again and putting others first. I try my hardest to listen one-pointedly and I feel how this has made me enjoy people's stories so much more. I can empathize and relate in a way I never experienced before and I know now a lot of my anxiety around people before was due to an overwhelming feeling of separateness. I am really so thankful for Sri Easwaran and his teachings and this community. Everyday I continue to turn my life completely around and reveal a little bit more of my truest Self.
Sagar from Stockton, California
I have made progress with training the senses in eating more vegetables each day, especially by including salad on a daily basis and sautéing vegetables to be used as a snack or alongside breakfast. I really like Sri Easwaran's recommendations to adopt a more nutritious diet based on what the body needs and to have regular vigorous exercise which help prevents many chronic diseases.
Saskia from Tomales, California
I recently read this commentary by Easwaran from his book Take Your Time:
Whatever job you are engaged in, I would say, concentrate on it completely. Give it your very best. That kind of focus will lift the burden from your shoulders, and you will find yourself doing much better work while enjoying it more.
This week, I've had some tasks at work which are administrative and routine, for example, preparing for meetings and writing minutes; and other projects which are much more interesting and creative. And, just like everyone else, there are constant emails coming into my inbox which provide lots of potential distractions!
My small successes this week are that I've put more effort into doing what's most important first, even if my mind protests, and finished up a project before looking at emails. Also, I've been repeating my mantram more before sending and reading emails, and putting more effort into concentrating on whatever is happening. I've definitely experienced the result Easwaran promises: better work, more enjoyment, and more energy.
Jan from Chocorua, New Hampshire
A simple example of slowing down. A couple days ago I was given the opportunity to call someone to ask what time they were coming to visit. My first thought was to postpone this until the next day. I had, however, been taking brief daily notes of my progress with slowing down. Realizing that slowing down often means doing things without delay, I called them right away. A few more small incidents like that leading up to their visit, and the whole family gathering ran a bit smoother than last year.