Stillness/Meditation"It is simply impossible to hear the voice of God amid the chatter and drivel of modern society's daily life. These distractions drown out the faint beginnings of spiritual awareness. But for all things a beginning is necessary. Therefore we ask you to try, on a daily basis, to compose yourself in stillness. The way to begin is to clear your mind. Don't think about anything. Don't think about not thinking. We do not prescribe that in practicing stillness you attempt to stop your thoughts. Stillness, like life in general, is about keeping your mind on the most important thing. It is not necessary to root out all your thoughts. Simply let them pass through. They are only bit players on the scene anyway. Just allow your mind to come to rest naturally and you will find a stillness that has great vitality. In that stillness you will be able to discern the vitality of God, even in what you thought were the empty spaces. Those who can find meaning in the empty spaces are truly on the right path." (The teacher Will, from The Center Within p.54)
"There are a few parameters of psychological and physiological character that have effects upon stillness practice. We prefer, for example, that you not attempt stillness practice when you are near the extreme reaches of physical effort. At such a time your body needs sleep--rest at the very least. The Father will not interfere with that.
Neither should you take a large dose of stimulating drugs, such as tea or coffee. That situation would be equally unproductive--in fact, a polar opposite to stillness of mind. Nor would it be especially effective if a person were in a greatly agitated emotional state, although we will say that stillness is generally the proper remedy for agitation and should work to swiftly bring you back into balance with your normal self. This is not equal to communication with the heavenly Father, however.
I will say that the ideal would be an attitude of relaxed alertness. We have many times remarked that stillness practice must be conscious. In simple fashion, it is easy to figure out that certain body positions are more productive of relaxed alertness: In a general sense, body positions that tend to interrupt the flow of physical energy also tend to produce impairment of the flow of energy. This will cause a diminution of the available body energy, with a negative effect upon relaxed alertness. We have no preference for one body posture, but I would say a person should maintain an erect position, relaxed, with the limbs in some natural resting position--not twisted, tied or knotted in any particular mystical fashion." (Will, The Center Within pp.60-61)
"I urge you to practice your own stillness. You will not regret it. We realize there are times when your lives are very active and you truly do not have time, but many of you are engaged in activities that, from the spiritual perspective, are a waste of time. While you need your recreation, instead of wasting time, you could be spending time with your heavenly Father. All that we have asked you to do is spend ten to twenty minutes each day, twice a day if you are able." (Will, The Center Within p.76)
And from an August 8, 1996 transcript "...I am a new name in the Teaching Mission. ...I am known as Paramahansa Yogananda. It is my privilege and pleasure to be with you tonight, for my small victory in this world was to share the love of God as taught in the East for the Western world's hunger for knowing the God within. As a teacher I was sent, guided, directed to your nation, the United States, to begin a colony in which the teachings of the East could harmonize with the knowledge and truth taught and focused upon in the West.
It was my mission given to me by God. I, as a normal being, lived upon this planet as you and all others before you have done. And yet I was able to attain a level of consciousness with God which for some of you may seem impossible or unlikely in your lifetime. I am an example of an individual who was able through the teachings of my own teachers and through practice and experience in the humble center of my being, to know the God within and furthermore exert my own strength and power of which Will has just now alluded to. The power is within each one of you. None of you are remiss in the qualities which it takes to achieve a living God consciousness, a state of being in joy and bliss, in each moment of each day of each year of your life in the mortal realm. It is possible, and furthermore will become more common as individuals such as yourselves, who are open to the possibilities, give yourselves to the stillness within, the practices of meditation or whatever technique you desire to use in which you shall most effectively reach the quite space where you and God reside together as one.
I urge and encourage you to seek this space. I also encourage you to carefully select the moments and the times in which you find yourself able to attain a quiet place. It is an easy technique but one that must be learned through practice. One does not ride a bicycle without practice, nor does one attain the quiet space without practice. Time with God should be your objective first, and then it becomes a reality. Each of you are capable. I admonish you to give this thought contemplation in your days to come. If you are now practicing a meditation technique, I urge you to be faithful to the one that seems most effective to you. If you are as of now, erratic in your approach, I encourage you to seek out one who may assist you in a comfortable, accepting environment. If you are not now practicing stillness or do not believe it is possible to attain, I encourage you to open your minds, seek out those who have had those experiences. Discuss it with them. Read books which are on many shelves in your book stores about the benefits of this practice, for you will not only find God in this practice, you will also find better health and greater joy and simplicity in your living standards. Your life styles will change and you will be pleased with what you find in others around you and in your own lives.
The stillness is a word which is utilized in the Teaching Mission, but it is no different than any other terms taught by many other teachers who have disciplines which may differ in some ways than those which I taught. It matters not, which technique you use. It matters that we find a way. There are some dangers if you do not have the proper attitude, or perhaps seek to push yourself beyond your limits. There are some dangers, but these are, generally speaking, for individuals who have attained the understanding that most Urantia readers have, relatively minor. If you do experience perhaps slight fears or doubts, or have an experience which is uncomfortable, I encourage you to seek one who has had ample experience and can assist you through these difficult moments. I speak to you of these negatives--and that is not the word that I wanted this speaker to use–I speak of these slight difficulties, because I do believe that you need the warning. Meditation is a practice, a tool, a technique, to gain further acquaintanceship with the Father. One cannot develop friendship without spending time with the friend or the one with whom you desire to become a friend. God is your friend, he is a quiet friend, he is ever present, whether you seek him or not.
However, you will know him when you do seek him and invite him into your lives more fully and more effectively. It is in the stillness where healing the body, the agonies and pains of being a mortal can be corrected and changed for the better.
Peace attained within is the peace that will bind the world in Light and Life. And it begins with you in the here and now, and it will come. The sooner you yourself live and know that you are living in light and life now, the more effectively the world will change and ready itself for complete light and life activity." Paramahansa Yogananda
For more information on developing a closer relationship with the spirit within (based on text from Journey Beyond Words, an interview with Conversations With God author N.D. Walsch and The Urantia Book) see Inner Voice
Stillness: The Key to Finding Love, Health, and
How to Meditate for the Spiritually Dense
"Yoga is a complete science of life that originated in India many
thousands of years ago. It is the oldest system of personal development in
the world, encompassing body, mind and spirit. The ancient yogis has a
profound understanding of man's essential nature and of what he needs to
live in harmony with himself and his environment. They perceived the
physical body as a vehicle, with the mind as the driver, the soul man's
true identity, and action, emotion and intelligence as the three forces
which pull the body-vehicle. In order for there to be integrated
development these three forces must be in balance. Taking into account the
interrelationship between body and mind, they formulated a unique method
for maintaining this balance--a method that combines all the movements you
need for physical health with the breathing and meditation techniques that
ensure peace of mind." From The Sivananda Companion to
Yoga by Lucy Lidell with Narayani and Giris Rabinovitch, p.10
The word "yoga" means unity or oneness. Yoga is one of the original concepts which today would be labeled as holistic. The body is related to the breath; both are related to the brain; the brain in turn links with the mind, which is a part of consciousness. The spelling of holistic, too, is a reminder that the word "whole" is derived from "holy" and therefore you cannot be a "whole" person unless you have a "whole" outlook on life itself.
Over the centuries a number of interlinked yoga systems have been developed. The system most used in the West is called Hatha (pronounced "hatta") Yoga. Virtually all general approaches come under this heading, although many people put names to their particular approach. Hatha Yoga involves the use of body positions, called asanas.
In addition to asanas the system includes a series of special breathing activities known as pranayama. The translation of pranayama is "interruption of breath." In practical terms it involves a series of conscious controls of breathing which provide modifications of internal activities that in turn stimulate or sedate brain activity and required for specific purposes.
Control is a key aspect of yoga: control of the body, breath, and mind.