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The subject of silencing, or at least quietening the mind often comes up in the SpiritChat discussions. In fact, in November 2011, we had devoted an entire chat to Silence and Stillness of the Spirit. More recently, in March 2012, we had shared ideas about the connection between awareness and silence.

One of the techniques that most of us have heard about, and which relates to the quietening of the mind, is meditation. According to Wikipedia,

Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit.
It is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals do by themselves.

At a more succinct level, Jiddu Krishnamurti says (in The Second Penguin Krishnamurti Reader)

Meditation is not the means to an end. It is both the means and the end.

The most famous meditators of all time is perhaps the Buddha himself – he is often depicted with his eyes closed, head slightly bent, hands clasped, seated with his legs crossed in the classic pose of meditation. According to the Dhammapada, The Buddha was once asked by a skeptical person – “What have you really gained by all this meditation? I do not see any tangible change in you?”

The Buddha replied – “Nothing. I have gained nothing through meditation”.

The skeptic continued – “So what is the use of this meditation?”

The Buddha smiled and said – “Well, I may have not gained anything, but I have lost a lot – I have lost anger, depression, ill-health, fear of old age and fear of death.”

So, it seems that a practice of meditation, done with discipline, holds many benefits in store for us. There is some scientific evidence that is beginning to show that mindfulness and meditation have considerable benefits for our mind, body and spirit.

What exactly is meditation, what does it entail, what does it promise, what can you expect as a beginner or an advanced practitioner, what is the best way to start? We will try and address some of these in our upcoming weekly discussions in SpiritChat. In addition, this week there is a little bit more – this week, I will be asking some questions suggested by a special guest who is a dedicated practitioner of meditation!

I have invited Dr Aloke Mullick – @acmullick on twitter – to share some special insights with us on this subject. Dr Mullick initially started delving into meditation at an intellectual level in 1977. He started trying to meditate on his own in 1985. He has been meditating under the guidance of a Spiritual Master since 1993 and actively meditates about two hours every day.

I invite you to join us in our weekly #SpiritChat discussion to discuss “Meditation and the Spirit”. Sunday, April 15th at 9am ET / 1pm GMT.

You may not gain much – but you could lose a few things!

Kumud Ajmani

Have you tried to meditation or similar techniques in the past? What has been your experience? Do you have a question on this topic you would like me to ask during the chat? Please add your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you.

Update: Here is the transcript http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0415 and questions – thank you to all who shared and connected!

Q1. What does the word meditation mean to you? #SpiritChat 

Q2. How long have you practiced meditation? Or have been thinking about starting meditation? #SpiritChat 

Q3. In your view, what are the obstacles to practicing meditation? #SpiritChat 

Q4. If you meditate - do you have specific goals? If you don't, why would you like to start meditation? #SpiritChat 

Q5. What benefits have you observed (or you would expect) from meditation? #SpiritChat 

Q6. What is the connection between meditation and prayer? #SpiritChat 

Q7. Do you think that meditation is a 'Means' or an 'End' by itself? #SpiritChat 

Takeaway Q8. How can our practice of meditation influence those we connect with? #SpiritChat