Healing through meditation
Dear Chopra Center community,
In the past two weeks our hearts and prayers have been with everyone who has been affected by the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. East Coast and the Caribbean. For those who have lost loved ones, there are no words that can provide the healing balm I wish to offer. Thousands have lost their homes or the businesses they worked so hard to create, and as of this writing, others remain without electricity, water, and other vital elements.
Yet in this moment of great suffering, we have also seen so many moving examples of courage, dignity, and compassion as people have joined together to help each other begin to rebuild their lives. They are showing that even in the midst of chaos, we can go to a place of inner calm – that eternal aspect of ourselves that knows that despite all external appearances, our true nature is wholeness, love, and wellbeing. This knowledge isn’t a denial of pain. As the great teacher of humanity, Lord Buddha, said, human life contains suffering. He wasn’t saying that life is suffering, because we know that life can be joyful, creative, and loving. But life does contain suffering. This is known as the First Noble Truth in Buddhism. The Second Noble Truth is that there is a reason for our suffering, and the deepest reason is the belief that you are a separate and isolated self. In reality, we are all inextricably connected. Our bodies, our emotions, and our minds are all entangled. We breathe the same air, we share the same molecules, and we are part of the same field of energy and information. At the core of our being, we are all part of one consciousness, a divine consciousness that contains love, compassion, truth, goodness, beauty, and everything that can bring about healing and transformation.
The way out of suffering is to recognize that we are not a separate self and to experience our wholeness and unity with everything and everyone. In my own life, meditation has been the most transformative practice for connecting to this state of unity consciousness. In meditation, our body and mind relax and we let go of accumulated stress and move beyond thought into a space of pure awareness. By spending time in this state of silence and restful alertness on a regular basis, we awaken to our innate wholeness and wellbeing. And from that place of centered calm, we are able to create, think, and act in ways that bring about greater peace, social justice, health, and love in the world.
In addition to providing material or financial support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy, one of the best things we can do to help the world is to continue to cultivate higher states of consciousness that will enable us to be the change we want to see in the world. Take time each day to meditate and refresh your mind. If you have never meditated or would like to jump-start your practice, there’s still time to register for the Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge, which began this week. There are already more than 300,000 participants from all around the globe, all part of the growing critical mass of individuals who want to create a more sustainable, loving, peaceful world.
Let’s also have the intention to do one thing to help one person in the next 12 hours. It may be as simple as offering encouragement, attention, or appreciation. Or we may choose to donate food, money, or clothing to the rescue operations for Hurricane Sandy or elsewhere. The needs of the world are great, but if each of us acts with love, we can bring about a massive shift in consciousness from the inside out.