Meet Josh, a YA living in Danville, California. This week, Josh shares how Easwaran and passage meditation have helped his faith and personal practice as both a Christian and a pastor.
In the early 2000s, I was introduced to Easwaran by Father Henri Nouwen in his book Life of the Beloved. In it he described the importance of passage meditation and the direction of my life ultimately shifted. Instantly, I scoured the internet, dove into the free book Passage Meditation on easwaran.org, and implemented the practice into my daily life. Once I had finished reading through Passage Meditation online, I went to my local bookstore and found Original Goodness. It’s been a domino effect from one book to the next through Easwaran’s writings since then.
As a Christian and pastor, Easwaran’s 8-point program has shed a whole new light into my faith and personal practice. Passage meditation especially has brought me a new understanding and sensitivity to Christ, who “is all and is in all” (Colossians 3.11). I’ve often humorously reflected with other pastors, “It took a Hindu Mystic to show me the beauty of Jesus and my own faith.”
Josh and his family
By memorizing passages and prayers, repeating them slowly and internally without analyzing them, I continuously feel my entire mind, and therefore life, become transformed and redirected. It brought me a literal understanding of Saint Paul’s instruction in the book of Romans, “Be transformed by the entire renewal of your mind, by its new ideals and its new attitude.” Growing up in church, I had known these things were a part of Christianity, but I had never been given practices to help cultivate them within myself. It was (and still is) an internal revolution!
Easwaran often teaches about consciousness being a powerful stream. When left unattended, it moves about recklessly; eventually, grooves are conditioned for the stream to flow more easily and quickly. He made psychological realities so easy to understand. When focusing on a prayer or passage in Easwaran’s method of meditation, I felt the oppositional current of my mind’s stream of consciousness. Discovering this was such an incredibly exposing encounter with myself!
Thankfully, Easwaran assures, “We are not our minds.” We are free to objectify our minds rather than be objectified by them. So, I took to the practice even more ardently. He’s taught me to look at my mind as a giant stone that is being shaped and sculpted by every thought. What do I want the final image to be? Love. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him,” Easwaran writes in Original Goodness, quoting the First Book of John.
Jesus often said, “Those who have ears, let them hear.” He also said, “Consider carefully how you listen.” Without the aid of Easwaran’s convicting gentleness, I can’t imagine having understood Jesus’ words with such clarity. My ears were full of currents made up of fear, anxiety, insecurity, and bitterness. These currents would whisk away the words of Jesus and Scriptures until they ended up far and away from where they were intended to land. Passage meditation affords me the space, stillness, sensitivity, and attention to see those currents and apply the needed effort to redirect them toward what Jesus defined as the purpose of his life, that we may have “life and life more abundantly.”
In Original Goodness, Easwaran writes, “...what we say we believe in is not so important; what matters is what we actually do – and, even more, what we actually are. ‘As we think in our hearts, so we are.’ Goodness is in us; our job is simply to get deep into our consciousness and begin removing what stands in the way." He goes on to write, "Meditation is not dogma or doctrine or metaphysics; it is a powerful tool. Everyone can use a shovel, regardless of his views of the dignity of hand labor.”