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Meditation is a necessity: Excerpt from Looking Inward by Swami Purnachaitanya

There are many misconceptions and wrong notions when it comes to meditation nowadays, as in the last few decades it has found itself transitioning from what was by many perceived as maybe a strange occult practice, that was associated with scarcely clad yogis in the Himalayas, to the latest trend of mental fitness for the hip and successful, with an increasing number of mobile apps that promise you peace of mind in as little as three minute ‘instant’ meditations. On top of that many embraced the term ‘mindfulness’ as the new and much more secular word for meditation, making it much easier to market to both the masses and corporate honchos, not realizing that meditation and mindfulness are really not the same, and in some ways are even exactly opposite to each other.

I felt it was high time, therefore, to write a book that clears many of these misconceptions and wrong notions, and that allows anyone with an interest to start exploring meditation to do so in the proper manner, and without getting caught up in either too much incense, or too little substance.  

Meditation is an ancient, time-tested and very effective art of managing our mind and transcending it. It has countless benefits, ranging from how it impacts your social and professional life, to your personal health, happiness and sense of freedom and fulfilment. Trying to strip it from its context and tradition will not only be an injustice to the very masters that have preserved this knowledge till today, but it would also deprive the practice of some of its most effective and essential aspects.  

At the same time, our modern world and lifestyle requires us to make this ancient wisdom and techniques available in a way that they can be easily understood, related to, and practiced by anyone who wishes to explore the manifold benefits it offers. This book will help you do so, as your personal guide to understanding this profound practice for a healthier, happier and well-adjusted life.  

The way this book is structured is that each chapter will teach you some of the tools, and help you progress on the journey, giving you the knowledge and know-how of principles that will finally come together in your personal meditation practice. Many of the principles that you will learn in these pages will also make you more effective, efficient, and empathic even in your day-to-day activities and will help you to deal more skilfully with this abstract thing called the mind and all its tantrums. It will make your life easier, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling, but it will require you to read, understand, and practice what has been shared.  

You will learn that meditation does not require a lot of focus or concentration, rather the opposite, and that it can actually be a joyful journey full of eye-openers. It is a journey from effort to effortlessness, from activity to stillness, and from stress, anxiety and frustration to a state of peace and tranquillity. One thing that I would like to emphasize though, is that meditation is so much more than just a solution to some of these problems that many of us face. And practicing it simply to overcome these problems would mean you may drop the practice when your mind or life has settled down again. I would rather encourage you to aim higher and think bigger. Meditation will give you all those benefits, but these are more like the side effects. The real treasure you can find inside lies beyond, and it is only revealed to those who are really ready to look inward. 

Come then, whether you are totally new to meditation, or have been practicing regularly or irregularly for many years. I invite you to embark on this fascinating journey with an open mind. When you are able to do this, I guarantee that you will learn and realize many things that can help you understand and deepen your meditation practice and enrich your life. After all, in today’s modern world, meditation is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and the sooner we realize this, the better.  

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