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Meditation for Self-Realization

by Carol Palmer(more info)

listed in meditation, originally published in issue 58 - November 2000

My situation before I came across meditation for self-realization was challenging and not a little confusing! I was bringing up my four teenagers on my own. Life was chaotic. I was working very hard to change myself and my life, but no matter how much I understood what needed to change in me I seemed unable to make the changes stick.

Moreover, I was dimly aware that there was a deep core of negativity within me that I determinedly overlaid with a brisk positivity. It felt extremely threatening, and no course or workshop provided sufficient safety for me to start dissolving it. So I got good at pretending it wasn't there, overlaying it with smiles, and idealistic activities that ensured I stayed too busy to notice it…much.

Meditators in the Meditation Sanctuary at the Self-Realization Meditation Healing Centre, Queen Camel, Somerset, UK
Meditators in the Meditation Sanctuary at the Self-Realization Meditation
Healing Centre, Queen Camel, Somerset, UK

A sign that we may be ready for an in-depth meditation can be that our current practice may have stopped nourishing us in the way it once did, or like mine then, it may be of insufficient depth to ensure that we make the time to practise it daily. And, of course, for those who do not already have meditation, there may be a growing feeling that there is something more to life than we have currently found. Or perhaps there's an indefinable staleness or strain in our life currently, however much it may appear that we have all we have wanted.

I felt very strongly that I didn't want to learn any kind of meditation unless it would also help me to deal effectively with the problems of daily life and enable me to continue to do the things important to me.

I didn't want meditation to mean that I became an oddball or withdrew from life. In this respect I was greatly reassured to hear that the meditation I was to learn can be put into everyday life and not require the adherent to withdraw from the world, in fact quite the reverse.

Another concern I had was that I didn't want to hand over my power to a teacher/guru, however enlightened. I learned that true meditation is about becoming more and more responsible for oneself, as through the practice of meditation awareness grows and we become more fully our true selves. I began to see that a guru's role is to help spiritually all who ask as they advance on their path of putting meditation into their lives and that having walked this way they are ideally equipped to understand and guide in this uncharted territory.

It slowly dawned on me that meditation was opening up to me a world of practical spirituality; that pure meditation is not just about learning, through practising the given breaths, to make contact with the profound peace and love and even joy and bliss, but is also about taking those wonderful dazzling feelings into everyday life and allowing oneself to be transformed daily.

The world is hungry for spiritual nourishment and so was I when I first came across the unique meditation that has transformed my life in so many ways.

At the time I embarked on the meditation course, I knew I needed something that would bring me peace of mind in a very busy and demanding life and help me deepen my love and spirituality. I had always wanted to meditate, but had never found a teacher and was not keen to learn from a book: I knew that to absorb it fully I needed personal instruction.

Then I heard of a teacher within reach of me and so began the most extraordinary adventure and journey of transformation from within that continues to this day. The meditation, I discovered, is ideal for people like me who want to continue to live and work in the world doing our jobs, enjoying our relationships, maybe with partners, children and grandchildren.

It brings love, joy and spirituality into the lives of those who practise it faithfully with love and devotion. I have seen many times in my own life, and noticed in those around me who meditate in this way, the profound permanent changes that can occur; not necessarily suddenly, although that happens too, but quietly and gradually over time.

Why? How come this meditation is so effective? My academic training and questioning mind was curious and intrigued. I learned that the meditation taught at the Self-realization Meditation Healing Centres is a pure meditation. This means that the essence has been maintained because it has been handed down through a lineage of self-realized masters.

It is a very ancient meditation, reputedly used by Jesus, and it was reintroduced to the world last century by Mahavatar Babaji, a famous Indian master. He taught it to Lahiri Mahasaya, who passed it on to his chosen pupil Sri Yukteswar, and he became the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, who lived and worked most of his adult life in America. One of the disciples taught by Paramahansa Yogananda lives in England. She became self-realized and was given the name of Mata Yogananda.

It is Mataji ('ji' is added for respect) who has brought into being the Self-realization Meditation Healing Centres world-wide and was asked by the masters to make this ancient meditation more accessible for Westerners to use. So, whilst keeping the essence intact, Mataji has tailored the Meditation so people can put it into their busy lives, living in the world and practising it, not withdrawing from the world.

I also came to understand that a lot of what is called meditation these days, especially by the media, is not actually meditation at all but a meditative state. Using the same word to describe two very different things can be confusing. Essentially a meditative state, such as guided visualization, is a long way from pure meditation because the mind is still engaged. It can certainly bring feelings of peacefulness and love. But so much more is possible with a pure meditation that it is like comparing a molehill to a mountain.

So what is possible with pure meditation? It is the path becoming one with the Infinite, God, whatever name one calls the Source of love and our being. And yet the paradox is that it isn't necessary to have any particular belief to embark on meditation, but simply to open to experiencing more love, joy and spirituality in our lives.

Pure meditation is taught in everyday language and there is no dogma or religion to take on board. In fact, one of the things that appeals to me most is the practical spirituality that accompanies the teaching of this meditation. As well as for using in meditation, breaths are also given for use in everyday situations, such as to prevent us from getting uptight, angry or stressed; for helping to get back into balance after working with our brains all day; for re-energizing when we suddenly feel wiped out. These are invaluable aids for helping us to approach life with more awareness and love.

I have certainly found that the meditation I practise is more potent and rigorous than anything else I have come across for enabling me, if I choose, to work on taking charge of my ego and learning to master myself. Meditation is also a continual process of self-discovery and brings daily opportunities to work on developing positive qualities such as strengthening trust and developing intuition.

The meditation course is intensive and is taught over a week under the guidance of Mata Yogananda by specially selected and trained tutors. There is plenty of time for practising and ironing out any difficulties and for asking questions. Classes are deliberately kept small so students can receive individual attention.

I was very impressed by the support offered afterwards. Meditation refresher courses are run several times a year and meditators aim to attend one annually. For more pressing questions or problems, appointments can be made in person or by phone to sort them out with a tutor. This can make so much difference, especially as each person's meditation experience is unique, so if one feels stuck one is never alone.

There is also the benefit of knowing that as the love and joy get stronger within, if there are also issues that arise that need support of a different kind, highly trained healers and counsellors are available both at the Centres and to refer students to within each country.

There are also a number of people trained by the Centres to teach a special meditative breath for those who are not yet able to take a meditation course. This can help to bring peace and fulfilment within.

There is also a growing community of people, ranging from professionals at the top of their field to young people starting out in life, who are putting meditation into their lives and unobtrusively bringing more light and love into their workplaces and homes. Some meet weekly or monthly in small groups solely for the joy of meditating together – they welcome all who wish to join them and share in the peace.

It is a great blessing and a priceless gift to begin and end each day with meditation; to be aware that contained within it is everything I need for spiritual nourishment and personal progress; and to know that if practised faithfully and with devotion, as Mata Yoganandaji's life radiantly exemplifies, it offers the possibility of self-realization in this lifetime.

My experience has taught me not to let current circumstances be a deterrent if something feels right for us spiritually and we have a great desire to do it. There are so many examples of those who have taken the meditation course who initially thought there was no way they would find the time/money/childcare. It is always worth lifting up in thought and asking to be shown how, rather than deciding for ourselves that things are impossible.

Further Information

For further information about pure meditation courses in the UK, and for a full colour brochure and course programme on retreats and professionally-accredited training courses, please contact the Self-realization Meditation Healing Centre: Laurel Lane, Queen Camel, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7NU.
Tel: 01935 850266. Fax: 01935 850235.


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About Carol Palmer

After learning pure meditation, Carol Palmer changed direction and trained with the Self-realization Meditation Healing Centre first as a natural spiritual healer and then as a progressive counsellor. She is a founder member of ISRHA, the International Self-realization Healing Association (01458 831353). Her work as secretary includes putting members of the public in touch with healers and counsellors. Carol lives in Glastonbury with her partner. She has three daughters and a son and two grandchildren.

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