By Life Positive November 2001 An exclusive interview with Mata Amritanandmayi, affectionately known as Amma to her followers Amma on meditition and devotion”Dear children, when you sit to meditate, do not think that you can still your mind immediately. At first, you should relax all parts of your body. Loosen your clothes. Make sure your spine is erect. Then close your eyes and concentrate your mind on your breath. You should be aware of your inhalation and exhalation. We should become aware of the process. Then the mind will be wakeful. As you sit like that for a while, your mind will become calm.”You can continue the meditation by focusing attention on your breath. Or you can start meditation on the form of your beloved deity. Worship becomes easy when we assign a specific form to Brahman(Absolute Reality), in Manas Puja (mental worship). As soon as you get up, meditate for ten minutes. After your bath, meditate again for half an hour. In the beginning, it is enough to meditate for a short time. After that, you can do your chores. Any work you do with japa and constant remembrance of God is also meditation. ”To concentrate in this age of materialism (Kaliyuga), bhajan is easier than meditation. By loud singing, other distracting sounds will be overcome and concentration will be achieved. Bhajan (devotional hymns), concentration and meditation, this is the progression. In fact, constant remembrance of God is meditation. Children, bhajansung with devotion would benefit the singer, the listener and also Mother Nature. Bhajan is a spiritual discipline aimed at concentrating the mind on one’s Beloved Deity. Through that single-mindedness, one can merge in the Divine Being and experience the Bliss of one’s True Self.” Life Positive: How can one attain peace and happiness ? Amma: mata anandamayi, amma, love, lifepositive It is difficult to experience peace and happiness without giving spirituality a prominent place in life. Man has air-conditioned cars, houses and offices. But he still does not enjoy peace of mind. Many cannot sleep without the aid of pills. The restlessness and tensions of the mind have become so uncontrollable and unbearable that some people commit suicide even while living in these air-conditioned rooms. Peace and happiness do not reside in external objects, but within us. Spirituality is the science that teaches us how to air-condition the mind. One who has integrated spiritual ideals into his life can be peaceful and happy under any circumstance or situation. A person who does not know how to swim is at the mercy of a turbulent ocean. Its waves can easily overpower him and pull him down into its depths. However, to one who knows how to swim, playing in the ocean is a delightful game. Both happiness and sorrow are created by the mind. The mind is like a pendulum, swinging intermittently from happiness to sorrow and back again. When the clock’s pendulum oscillates to the right, it is only gaining enough momentum to oscillate to the left. Likewise, when the pendulum of the mind moves towards happiness, it is only gaining the momentum to reach sorrow. We can only experience real peace and bliss when the pendulum of the mind stops swinging altogether. This state of perfect stillness is verily the essence of life, and can be experienced only through meditation. Life Positive: What is the ultimate goal of human life? Amma: To realise that ‘I am Love’, not ‘I love you’. This is to realise one’s true nature, which is verily Love. LP: What is your message for readers of Life Positive? Amma: The answer is in the question itself: have a positive attitude towards life. Our lives should become a celebration. We are not able to enjoy bliss because we are never in the present. We are either brooding over the past or thinking about the future. Try to be aware and live totally in the present moment. Trust your own Self. We are not instruments running on batteries; each one of us is a storehouse of infinite strength because we are directly connected to the source of infinite power. We are not candles to be lit by somebody else, but the self-effulgent sun. Tap into this inner reserve of endless power instead of relying on an external source. Life Positive: What is your comment on the September 11 tragedy in the USA? Amma: My darling children, Amma understands that a lot of innocent lives were lost. At this critical time, the leaders and us need to practise discrimination and self-restraint. If we do not do so, many more lives will be lost. We should all sit down and pray for the welfare and peace of the whole world. This is how we can help all our brothers and sisters.
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