by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
In these excepts from a talk with Sri Sri, he goes into the subtler, holistic aspects of a meditation practice, beyond the physiological benefits to our health and wellbeing like improving brain functions, reducing blood pressure & cortisol, that we often read about.
"Meditation is important for every human being. Meditation fulfills the natural tendency of human life to look for a joy that does not diminish, a love that does not get distorted or turn into negative emotions.
Some people ask me if meditation is foreign to us? Absolutely not! You have been in meditation for a couple of months before your birth. You were in your mother’s womb doing nothing. You didn’t even have to chew your food. Everything was done for you. So there is a natural tendency in every human being, in every soul, to crave for that state of absolute comfort.
You know why you want comfort? It is because you were comfortable at one point, because you have experienced a state of comfort called meditation. Meditation is absolute comfort. Getting back to that state that you experienced before coming into the hustle and bustle of this world is very natural because everything in this universe is cyclic. Everything wants to go back to its source. That is the nature of the world.
During autumn, leaves fall and go back to the soil and nature has its own way to re-cycle them. The natural tendency to re-cycle all that you have collected every day of your life as impressions, to get rid of them and to get back to the original state that you were in when you came to this planet, is meditation.
Becoming fresh and alive is meditation. Getting back to that serenity which is your original nature is meditation. Absolute joy and happiness is meditation. Pleasure minus excitement is meditation. A thrill without anxiety is meditation. A love without hatred is meditation.
Hunger drives you toward food, thirst pulls you toward water, in the same way, the soul yearns for meditation and this tendency is in everyone. Meditation is food for the soul.
When you meditate in a group, then the desires you have in your mind get fulfilled. And when this desire is for a better and safer planet, the collective intention and energy of so many people is sure to manifest. There is a definite strength in the union of the hearts and minds of people.
An individual plays many roles and has many identities in life. Sometimes one gets stuck in a particular identity and feels suffocated. Meditation helps you to see beyond the identities and hence one’s endurance, tolerance and understanding improve.
Spirituality nourishes the values of caring, sharing, compassion, nonviolence, responsibility, friendliness, a sense of belongingness and peace. These values transcend identities and are common to all religions. Spiritual practices like meditation allow these values to blossom naturally in every individual.
Meditation helps enliven an individual’s intuition and nourishes spontaneity. It helps bring clarity of thought and enables better decision-making. When thousands of people come together with the single intention of creating a more peaceful planet, it is certain to manifest."