Concentration—Key to Success in Meditation

If you are interested in improving your meditation skills (who isn’t?), consider attending Sue Gallagher’s workshop this Wednesday in Bolingbrook. Sue will focus specifically on concentration—the foundation of good meditations—and how to strengthen it. The program is designed for meditators at all levels. In today’s post, Sue previews the workshop.

by Sue Gallagher, PhD.

In the busy-ness of our lives, it can be difficult to set aside the regular time for meditation. Therefore, when we meditate, we want to make the best use of our time and derive the most benefit from our meditation. In his new book, Spark of the Divine, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj uses the analogy of a computer downloading information and says,

We have all day long when not meditating to spend time thinking. When we set aside time for meditation, we do not want to waste that time downloading thoughts of the world. We want to be open to download what God is sending us.

Sometimes we find it difficult to let go of our thoughts, not realizing that most of our thoughts are repetitive anyway and not necessarily helping us to reach our goals. In an upcoming talk, I will share some recommendations Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has provided to improve our concentration during meditation and some personal experiences as I have implemented some of the recommended strategies in my own life.

One example of a strategy I am working on is to meditate at the same time every day. I have started with the same time every weekday with a little bit of leeway on the weekend. I have found that the longer I wait in the day to meditate, the more difficult it is to sit and stay awake and the more difficult it is to concentrate. I notice that it is a little bit easier to still my mind very early in the morning. Even on the weekend, if I wait too long to meditate, it is easy to get caught up in the activities of the day. By meditating at the same time every day, we are taking advantage of the habitual nature of the mind and we are working with the mind instead of against it.

On September 21, I am giving a talk, Concentration—Key to Success in Meditation, at the Annerino Recreation Center in Bolingbrook. I hope many of you can join me to discuss this important topic!

Concentration—Key to Success in Meditation
Wednesday, September 21, 7:00-8:30pm
Annerino Recreation Center
201 Recreation Dr., Bolingbrook (map it)
Please register by calling 630.452.3542

June Introductory Meditation Class

We just updated the Events page with Science of Spirituality’s Chicago area Enlightened Living programs for the month of June. Lots of good talks and workshops for a healthier body, mind, and soul. We particularly want to invite you to a new introductory meditation course.

If you have not yet learned the Jyoti Meditation technique taught by Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj, now is a great time to do so. There’s not much better that you can do for yourself than incorporate into your life a regular meditation practice. The benefits to the whole person are well-documented. Whether we call it contemplation or prayer with attention or meditation, every spiritual tradition recommends some form of inward focused silence to achieve a truly fulfilling life. The peace we gain from turning within through meditation is unmatched by anything we experience in the outer world. Jyoti Meditation is a simple, powerful method that will have a huge impact on all aspects of your inner and outer life.

Dean Isensee will teach this course on three consecutive Mondays, starting June 13, from 7:00 to 8:30 at the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center (location). Dean has been practicing meditation under the guidance of the spiritual Masters of Science of Spirituality since the early 1970s. We know you’ll enjoy his approach to teaching meditation.

Jyoti Meditation training breaks down the meditation process into simple components that build over the three sessions into a complete practice. These are practical, interactive, enjoyable workshops. Once completed, you’ll be ready to continue with a rewarding life of meditation. If you have already learned Jyoti Meditation with Science of Spirituality, but could use a refresher or some support, the course will also be beneficial and you’re welcome to attend.

Jyoti Meditation can be practiced by people of all ages. It requires no special physical posture and is practiced within the context of one’s faith. Like all Science of Spirituality programs, this meditation course is free.

Course Details
Monday, June 13, 20 & 27

7:00 to 8:30 pm
Science of Spirituality Meditation Center
4S175 Naperville Road
Naperville, IL

Benefits of Meditation: Harvard Study Provides More Proof

by Mona Grayson

The majority of us have a built in “you do it first” mentality when it comes to trying out new things. We don’t want to be the first of our friends to bungee jump off the bridge or try an exotic dish we’ve never heard of.

But once we see someone else do it, and we have some proof that (number one!) they’re not suffering, and (number two!) that they’re actually enjoying themselves and possibly even benefitting from it, we often feel a bit more willing to try it out for ourselves. Until we have that proof though, “Umm, that’s okay — you go right ahead…”

The Harvard study observed that self-awareness and compassion regions of the brain grow larger through meditation, while the stress area shrinks.

This is why it’s so exciting when mainstream media like ABC World News with Diane Sawyer reports on the benefits of meditation and includes news of meditation studies done by prestigious institutions like Harvard University. (Watch the video.)

Reports and studies like these finally give the proof-seeking part of our mind the data about meditation it’s been looking for; something more tangible than just, “C’mon, meditating will feel great and it’s good for you.”

The recent Harvard study found that for those who participated in a mere 8-week meditation course, their brains physically changed for the better. The part of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness actually got bigger, and the part of the brain associated with stress, got smaller. Gotta love it! At Science of Spirituality we don’t practice the breath control technique used in the Harvard study, but as for self-awareness and compassion–well, who wouldn’t benefit from more of both!

For many of us, when our minds gather enough scientific evidence that meditation can help us physically and emotionally, it’s easier to try meditating for the first time. Then as we continue practicing, the benefits of meditation that used to be hearsay, become our actual experience.

The same can be true for discovering the spiritual benefits of meditation. But because Harvard is still doing research on the physical and emotional benefits of meditation (and we’re grateful they are!) when it comes to the spiritual benefits of meditation, we have to do our own experiments on how we can connect with our soul through meditation and go on the inner spiritual journey. As Sant Rajinder Sing Ji Maharaj has said:

We start with a hypothesis. That hypothesis is that there are regions beyond. The experimentation can be done by meditating in the laboratory of our own human body. We can record the data. If the experiment is performed accurately, the results will confirm our hypothesis. We use a scientific method to carry out the meditation. We are dealing with consciousness. Consciousness is spiritual not material. That is why the spirit cannot be seen with any instrumentation of this world. It can be seen only with our spiritual vision.

The seat of our spiritual vision is at a point known as the single or third eye. It is located between and behind the two eyebrows. If we concentrate our attention, which is the outer expression of the soul, at the third or single eye, we are at the starting point of the spiritual journey. We will then see inner Light and hear inner Music. This Light and Sound will pull our attention, or soul, above body-consciousness and our soul will soar into regions beyond. We will then know for ourselves the answers to life’s greatest mysteries.

Come Learn about Science of Spirituality

Have you driven past our meditation center on Naperville Road and wondered, “Just what is Science of Spirituality?” Or do you have friends you would like to bring to the Center to explore what we have to offer? If so, we invite you to visit us on the third Tuesday of every month for an introductory program.

This forty-five minute presentation will include a video to acquaint you with who we are and what we do locally and internationally. You will be given an opportunity to ask questions and to explore our many classes and workshops on topics of spirituality that we offer throughout Chicago, Naperville, and other suburban communities.

After the presentation, you are welcome to join us for a spiritual talk in our sanctuary and to experience the peace and stillness of meditation.

The next presentation is on March15 and starts at 6:30 pm, followed by the spiritual talk and meditation at 7:30 pm.

The Science of Spirituality Meditation Center is located at 4S 175 N Naperville-Wheaton Road in Naperville Illinois. Please call 630-955-1200 if you have any questions.

New Jyoti Meditation Classes

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj recently completed a tour of the Maharashtra state of India (near Mumbai), where he taught Jyoti and Shabd Meditation to many thousands. Shown here in Pune, India he indicates where to focus the inner gaze during meditation.

The Science of Spirituality Meditation Center in Naperville offers many meditation outreach programs and regular spiritual group meetings in Chicago and the suburbs. They provide opportunities to learn meditation and offer ongoing support for practitioners at all levels. Check the Around Town menu item for Jyoti Meditation training and support in your area.

Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has taught Jyoti Meditation to hundreds of thousands of spiritual seekers around the world. Practiced regularly and accurately, Jyoti Meditation not only relieves stress, but can bring deep peace, bliss, and joy.

For those who wish to go further in their practice, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj offers Shabd Meditation, in which the spiritual Master links one’s consciousness to the current of divine Light and Sound, the creative expression of God that permeates all creation. We find this power referred to variously in the world’s scriptures as Word, Naam, Shabd, Jyoti and Sruti, and by many other names. Although these terms are sometimes understood to suggest outer forms of religious practice, mystics of many traditions know them as expressions of the manifested power of God that is characterized by inner Light and Celestial Music.

Science of Spirituality offers Jyoti Meditation training for free. It can be practiced with great benefit without pursuing initiation and Shabd Meditation. But it also builds a solid foundation for more advanced practice. No special asanas or postures are required. And this meditation practice can be undertaken within the context of one’s own faith.

Jyoti Meditation training is currently underway at the Naperville meditation center. The next class is Monday, February 21, and you can still join in.

An introductory session will be offered in Chicago on February 23 in a program entitled Meditation: Gateway to Lasting Fulfillment. It will be held at the Cenacle Retreat facility on Fullerton. Details on both can be found in the Events section.


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