Meditation has the power to cultivate inner stillness and peace within a person, and to help them discover unity behind and through diversity. As such it is a sacred and integral part of the journey to fulfilment.
The School helped pioneer meditation in the west in the early 1960s, since then it has encouraged its students to take up the practice and supported them to incorporate it into their lives. The School in Johannesburg has made Meditation available to its students since 1964.
Philosophy students are normally invited to take up meditation after 5 terms of study in the School. Those students who have a strong desire to take up meditation sooner, may do so - see details below.
About the Meditation
The mantra-based meditation used by the School comes from an ancient tradition. The meditation is introduced in a traditional way through a simple and dignified ceremony.
According to tradition, symbolic gifts of fruit, flowers, a piece of white cloth and money are ‘offered’ in return for the mantra meditation. The gift of money is related to the means of the individual. All financial gifts are used to help provide the resources to make meditation widely available.
A simple method of mantra-based meditation is used, designed to be of practical value in everyday life.
A single word or sound is repeated gently in the mind for two periods each day while sitting on a chair in some quiet place. This involves no physical contortions, chanting or complex mental procedures.
The method of meditation is very powerful and effective. It is most effective when it becomes a regular part of life. As the practice deepens you gain greater insight into your self — not just your own individual personality, but the nature of being.
Meditation does not replace philosophical study in the School. Rather, it enhances the student’s capacity to explore more deeply, in direct experience, the principles of practical philosophy which the School espouses.
To start the practice properly, it is necessary to meet with a meditation tutor at agreed times for tutorial appointments in the weeks that immediately follow. These meetings, which take place locally, are important to the proper establishment of the practice. There is a wealth of experience in the practice of meditation in the School and senior members are able to offer guidance and tutorials to assist those with less experience. Such help is available for as long as one is a student in the School.
The effect of the proper practice of meditation may be seen in:
- inner peace, harmony and clarity of mind;
- increase of enthusiasm and energy;
- greater efficiency in work;
- steadiness in thought and action;
- strength of character;
- increased happiness, regardless of success or failure;
- greater wisdom in all aspects of life.
In everyone there is a depth of love and happiness, a potential of knowledge and intelligence rarely realized to the full. Meditation gradually releases this potential in the individual. It leads men and women to discover their own inner strength and capacity, and enables them more fully to participate in life. Efficiency in action, clarity of mind and warmth of heart are the hallmarks of those who meditate; powers which operate in the coherence of an increasingly united being.
School of Meditation, London
Taking Up Meditation
Our philosophy students are normally invited to take up meditation after 5 terms of study in the School.
Early Adoption of Meditation
Those students who have a strong desire to take up meditation sooner, may do so. A 5-week concurrent Meditation Course is offered. In part, it relies on the subject content and practise covered in the main Philosophy Part 1 Course for its completion - it is not a stand-alone course.
5 Week concurrent Meditation Course
- May be taken up any time between Part 1 and Part 5.
- Runs in parallel to the philosophy course, so you still need to attend your weekly Philosophy class.
- Runs for 5 weeks only.
- There is no extra fee charged for the 5-session meditation course, though gifts are offered in the ceremony - see Tradition above.
- In week 3 of the Philosophy Part 1 Course, one full session covers the subject of meditation offered in the School, in detail, so that all group members have the opportunity of taking up meditation, OR NOT – the decision will remain yours.
Beyond Part 5
In order to progress to Part 6 and beyond, it is necessary to take up the practice of meditation. Having taken up the practice, a student can progress to our more advanced courses in practical philosophy, which incorporate further guidance on meditation.
Meditation is not a religion and involves no set of beliefs or creeds – although meditation techniques are used by many religions. Many who practise meditation often find that with time it leads to a greater appreciation of the true, undifferentiated essence which is expressed in the world’s great teachings, including the religious teachings.
Meditation plays one part in leading a centred, full, happy and satisfying life. Getting the knowledge of what to do and how to live plays another part. The third factor is putting the knowledge and the Self-awareness into practise in everyday life. No one ‘pillar’ stands alone – all three are needed to achieve the aim.
In the very first class of the Philosophy Part 1 Course the Awareness Exercise is practised, eternal knowledge is presented and advice is given to put into practise what has been heard.
Meditation is not offered as a standalone course.
Meditation is a fundamental part of the School’s approach beyond Part 6 and is practised whenever the Group meets. It is supported by tutorials, specific guidance and group discussion. Because this support relates specifically to the School’s mantra-based meditation, it would be impractical for people to be using a variety of methods. Of course our students are free to practise at home whatever they find useful. However, in the interests of the group overall, use of the School meditation method is a requirement for Part 6 onwards.
Students are welcome to continue studying modules 2-5, for as long as they wish.
What students had to say...
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Peter McLoughlin spoke to an audience about the new scientific insights into meditation.