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Arriving at Silence Through Meditation

Arriving at Silence Through Meditation

Somehow the meditator’s attention has to penetrate the chaotic surface activity of the mind, pass through all the layers of subtle thought, and at last arrive at silence. Instead of subduing a drunken monkey, the appropriate metaphor is much more subtle: Meditation is like creeping through a herd of sleeping elephants without waking them up.

In order to dive through every layer of the mind, one needs a vehicle that can carry one beyond the thinking process. In primordial sound meditation the vehicle is called a mantra, a specific mental sound derived from Sanskrit but with no verbal meaning. A mantra is chosen solely for its ability to gradually bring a person’s attention to quieter and quieter levels of the mind.

Since everyone’s mind has innumerable layers, the choice of a mantra and the precise instructions for using it are extremely delicate. If chosen, taught, and used correctly, a mantra is as nearly effortless as mental activity can be. It begins like a normal thought but fades to fainter and fainter degrees of sound without getting lost, until it disappears entirely, leaving the mind in complete silence.

Many forms of mediation use some kind of sound or visual image as their vehicle. That might make it seem that one technique is as good as another. However, there are any number of important issues to consider when evaluating a form of meditation – above all: Did my mind actually find the silence I was seeking? Was I psychologically comfortable during and after the meditation? Did my old self begin to change as a result of having meditated? Is there more truth in my self? Every person has to decide these crucial issues for themself.

Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).

Read more: Deepak Chopra's Tips, Spirit, ,

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.


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2:21AM PDT on Jul 4, 2012

Thanks for the informative article.

4:43AM PST on Feb 19, 2010

@Suzanne: Thank you for your expanded explanation of the relationship among meditation, compassion, and intention.

1:33PM PST on Feb 18, 2010

I also believe this is in keeping with Deepak Chopra's message about potentiality. For those who are not aware of that, I recommend his early book, "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success".

1:28PM PST on Feb 18, 2010

The suggestion is made, Bob. I posted to my 5 blogs & added to Links.

Some might wonder what this has to do with Silence through Meditation. I began my spiritual journey with all meditation, and I even entered a monastery, with later evolved to my desire to be a hermitess. To my surprise, my vocation took a radical turn. I had a passion for helping people. I entered a missionary order and served the poor.

Here is the link. I found that going inward, into the silence, the evolution that took place was one of communion, and the only other place to go from there was service. The love that grew in me from meditation blossomed into giving it away.

So, it is a natural benefit of meditation to have a way of helping others. Some may not be able for time, commitment, or health reasons to actively go out into the community. Anyone can simply focus their energy on an intention before going into a meditative state. We don't have to have it in mind any further that the initial focus. The effectiveness comes from all the collective energy focused on the same intent. Think of the potential effect. Think of the intent as already a reality through the collective intent.

Then, go into the silence of meditation. You will not only have the beneficial effects of your meditation, but of the good effects of your intention. It is another way of living with compassion, and growing in altruism.

I also believe this is in keeping with Deepak Chopra's message about pote

7:01AM PST on Feb 18, 2010

@Suzanne: I like both ideas -- a new program within Care2 and the Charter for Compassion.

The Charter is great. Everyone, please read it and sign-on if you agree with its principles. Copy/paste the link below:

10:55AM PST on Feb 17, 2010

Here is another way of putting intention into a personal and collective action. Read and consider adding your name to the Charter for Compassion, when you are ready to commit to the effort to living a compassionate life as a transformative action.

10:41AM PST on Feb 17, 2010

Was the dissolution of the Soviet Union a surprise? It was to me, in a way, in the sudden and quick change that took place. It should not have been a surprise.

For years I went to daily Mass, and during the prayers of intention, I prayed for the conversion of Russia. I was not the only one. This intention was in the hearts of countless souls as they prayed daily. When the change came, it taught me how the power collective prayer.

This same power derived from heartfelt intention is available to all. One doesn't have to be in a church, or a formal prayer session. Simply having a collective intention before we begin meditation, or even some effort or service to help others, enjoins our energy for that intention.

How effortless to have the intention. It is less effort than 'clicking to donate' in the Take Action section on Care2. One difference is WE are the sponsors, and we are united with one intention.

I will make a formal request for Care2 to include this on site so that we can share the same intention for a day, a week, once or rotating.

If that isn't possible, I might begin a group for the purpose of taking suggestions and publishing an intent for our collective use. That way, there will be a single place to check whenever one wishes to participate.

I hope Care2 with see the value of this 'Action'.

9:51AM PST on Feb 17, 2010


Thank you. Well said.

What, for example, have nuclear weapons done for the United States? Nukes harm those who use them (or even threaten to use them) more than those against whom they are used or brandished. Almost 65 years after the fact, the United States has still not lived-down the horrific atrocity it visited upon the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the long run our nuclear attack hurt the U.S. far more than it hurt Japan. We must rid ourselves of these instruments of terror!

Suzanne is right, blessed beings: Don't overestimate military power, and don't underestimate the power of individual meditation and of our collective peaceful intent to change the world for the better. We can do what warriors cannot do.

I hope Care2 will honor your suggestion.

8:36PM PST on Feb 16, 2010

Bob C, I was struck by the contrast and energy that you presented in your comment. Contrast is an important element to draw up whenever there is an injustice that we want ended. In its purest form it is ahimsa that demonstrates the contrast. People can't ignore it.

Now, it is Afganistand and Iraq. What are we accomplishing? Have we changed anything, but getting rid of Saddam and stopping the oil pipeline contract between Iraq, France and Russia?

We will never have peace as long as there are militaries and weapons. It is too easy to use them. It is interesting that works against us in the long run. I have been watching the rest of the world progress, while we are falling behind. War is costing us young lives, and much more.

I return to the topic connecting it to issues that effect us all throughout the world. Consider the energy that are produced by all who are in silent meditation. If we are filled with love and peace, it can all join together. What a powerful means to change the world.

We need to be aware of what can happen as a result of our intentions as we go into a deep meditative state. Linking intentions before entering into silent meditation focuses the energy that flows from love, peace, and Light.

It doesn't change the practice, it simple has an intent attached to it. Care2 could post a daily intent, and any one who wished to link their energy to it may do so. Communally, it increases the energy directed at a particular area.

5:25AM PST on Feb 16, 2010


"For me it was experiencing the communal spiritual consciousness that resulted in a sense of union with each other and our Source. It was a feeling of Oneness, and I became so recollected that time stopped."

I experienced something similar on November 15, 1969 during the War Moratorium March in Washington DC. A minimum of 500,000 of us walked up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, all focused on one goal: Ending the bloodshed in Vietnam.

It is amazing what half a million people, all focused together on Peace, can accomplish. We were at peace as Joan Baez sang her heart out near the Washington Monument. We were all sisters and brothers come together in common service to peace.

Meanwhile, with the White House surrounded by city buses parked bumper-to-bumper, President Nixon watched a football game on TV. Sadly the war would drag-on for another five years and add about 10,000 more names to the black granite wall that now stands in mute testimony to our collective loss.

But I do think we began to turn the tide that day. The war became increasingly unpopular, and Nixon was forced to work toward an exit strategy as he had promised to do during the 1968 campaign. We now have full diplomatic relations with a unified Vietnam.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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