Guiding Light: Demystifying Meditation

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

We all want deep and refreshing rest so that we can be productive when we wake up. But when can you rest? Only when you have stopped all other activities. When you stop moving around, working, thinking, talking, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting – when all voluntary activities are arrested – then you get rest or sleep. In sleep, you are left with only involuntary activities such as breathing, heartbeat, food digestion and blood circulation. Yet this is not total rest. Total rest happens in meditation. And meditation happens only when the mind settles down.

How to settle this mind? By understanding the aim of life and having a clear focus. What is focus? Being fulfilled in the moment, being centered, looking to the highest and remaining in that space of peace, is focus. If there is no peace, there is no focus. Turning this around, and you will realise that if you focus, you attain peace. 

When you are not happy in the present moment, then you desire something. Desire simply means that the present moment is not all right. This causes tension in the mind; every desire causes feverishness. In this state, meditation cannot happen. You may sit with your eyes closed, but the desires keep arising, thoughts keep arising; you fool yourself into thinking that you are meditating, but actually you are


Observe from your own experiences – if you go to bed with some restlessness, agitation or desire, you will not get deep sleep. Only if you let go of everything will you be able to rest. So why not do the same thing, moment to moment? When you want to sit for meditation, let go of everything; feel the world is disappearing or dissolving.

The rest in meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep, because in meditation, you transcend all desires. It brings such coolness to the mind that it is like servicing or overhauling the entire body-mind complex.

Meditation is accepting this moment and living every moment totally with depth. Just this understanding, and a few days of continuous practice of meditation, can change the quality of your life. (