Meditation is a practice through which the individual aims to reach a quiet state of mind or consciousness (awareness).
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers
- Rahula, develop meditation that is like the earth. .... Just as people throw clean things and dirty things, excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood on the earth, and the earth is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too, Rahula, develop meditation that is like the earth.
- Gautama Buddha, Majjhima Nikaya, B. Nanamoli and B. Bodhi, trans. (1995), Sutta 62, verse 13, p. 529
- Rahula, develop meditation that is like water. ... Just as people wash clean things and dirty things, excrement, urine, spittle, pus, and blood in water, and the water is not horrified, humiliated, and disgusted because of that, so too, Rahula, develop meditation that is like water.
- Gautama Buddha, Majjhima Nikaya, B. Nanamoli and B. Bodhi, trans. (1995), Sutta 62, verse 14, p. 530
- It is essential to every inquiry about duty that we keep before our eyes how far superior man is by nature to cattle and other beasts: they have no thought except for sensual pleasure and this they are impelled by every instinct to seek; but man's mind is nurtured by study and meditation.
- Cicero, On Duties, 1.105
- My third maxim was to endeavor always to conquer myself rather than fortune, and change my desires rather than the order of the world, and in general, to accustom myself to the persuasion that, except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power. ... This single principle seemed to me sufficient to prevent me from desiring for the future anything which I could not obtain, and thus render me contented; for since our will naturally seeks those objects alone which the understanding represents as in some way possible of attainment, it is plain, that if we consider all external goods as equally beyond our power, we shall no more regret the absence of such goods as seem due to our birth, when deprived of them without any fault of ours, than our not possessing the kingdoms of China or Mexico; and thus making, so to speak, a virtue of necessity, we shall no more desire health in disease, or freedom in imprisonment, than we now do bodies incorruptible as diamonds, or the wings of birds to fly with. But I confess there is need of prolonged discipline and frequently repeated meditation to accustom the mind to view all objects in this light; and I believe that in this chiefly consisted the secret of the power of such philosophers as in former times were enabled to rise superior to the influence of fortune, and, amid suffering and poverty, enjoy a happiness which their gods might have envied. For, occupied incessantly with the consideration of the limits prescribed to their power by nature, they became so entirely convinced that nothing was at their disposal except their own thoughts, that this conviction was of itself sufficient to prevent their entertaining any desire of other objects; and over their thoughts they acquired a sway so absolute, that they had some ground on this account for esteeming themselves more rich and more powerful, more free and more happy, than other men who, whatever be the favors heaped on them by nature and fortune, if destitute of this philosophy, can never command the realization of all their desires.
- René Descartes, Discourse on Method (1637), J. Veitch, trans. (1899), part 3, pp. 24-28
- The old dispute about the relative virtues of the active way and the contemplative way is a spurious one. We require both. They are phases of a single rhythm like the pulsing of the heart, the in-drawing and letting go of breath, the ebb and flow of the tides. So we go deep, deep inwards in meditation to consolidate our vital energy, and then, with greater love and wisdom, we come out into the family, the community, the world.
- Eknath Easwaran, God Makes the Rivers Flow (1982), pp. 18-19
- Meditation takes chaos and begins magically morphing it into nothing.
- Michael Scott Gallegos, "Internally Strewn Selves: The 'All' Surprisingly Includes Everything" (Oct 5, 2014)
- Thy thoughts to nobler meditations give,
And study how to die, not how to live.
- George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne, Meditations on Death, Stanza 1; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 504.
- Meditation … puts into question more or less everything you tend to do in your search for happiness. But if you lose sight of this, it can become just another strategy for seeking happiness—a more refined version of the problem you already have.
- Perhaps the most important thing one can discover through the practice of meditation is that the "self"—the conventional sense of being a subject, a thinker, an experiencer living inside one's head—is an illusion.
- Happy the heart that keeps its twilight hour,
And, in the depths of heavenly peace reclined,
Loves to commune with thoughts of tender power,—
Thoughts that ascend, like angels beautiful,
A shining Jacob's-ladder of the mind!
- Paul H. Hayne, Sonnet IX; reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 504.
- The standard Christian conscience does not permit the believer to look upon the self and find beauty, goodness, natural kindness, strength. Self-knowledge is tainted with self-hatred. The rules of the game of the Christian conscience are such that, when I look within, I must take the blame for all evil, all hardness of the heart that I find, but give God all the credit for any evidence of love. ... It is not surprising that the practice of meditation ... has remained under a cloud in the West, and that we have, consequently, created a culture of extroverts.
- Sam Keen, The Passionate Life (1992), p. 162
- This peculiar type of mental state is sometimes called a "Mystical Experience" or "Rapture," "Ecstasy," or "Bliss." Some who undergo it call it "wonderful," but a better word would be "wonderless," because I suspect that such a state of mind may result from turning so many [inner] Critics off that one cannot find any flaws in it. ... such experiences can be dangerous—for some victims find them so compelling that they devote the rest of their lives to trying to get themselves back to that state again.
- Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine (2006).
- Mindfulness, though so highly praised and capable of such great achievements, is not at all a “mystical” state, beyond the ken and reach of the average person. It is, on the contrary, something quite simple and common, and very familiar to us.
- Nyanaponika, The Heart of Buddhist Meditation (1965), p. 24.
- Attention or mindfulness is kept to a bare registering of the facts observed, without reacting to them by deed, speech or by mental comment which may be one of self-reference (like, dislike, etc.), judgment or reflection. If during the time, short or long, given to the practice of Bare Attention, any such comments arise in one’s mind, they themselves are made objects of Bare Attention, and are neither repudiated nor pursued, but are dismissed, after a brief mental note has been made of them.
- Nyanaponika, The Heart of Buddhist Meditation (1965), p. 30.
- This method of transforming disturbances to meditation into objects of meditation, as simple as it is ingenious, may be regarded as the culmination of non-violent procedure. It is a device very characteristic of the spirit of Satipatthana, to make use of all experiences as aids on the path. In that way enemies are turned into friends; for all these disturbances and antagonistic forces become our teachers, and teachers, whoever they may be, should be regarded as friends.
- Nyanaponika, “The power of mindfulness”
- Meditation on any theme, if positive and honest, inevitably separates him who does the meditating from the opinion prevailing around him, from that which ... can be called “public” or “popular” opinion.
- José Ortega y Gasset, What is Philosophy? (1964), p. 15
- Man holds an inward talk with his self alone, which it behooves him to regulate well.
- Fixing the consciousness on one point or region is concentration (dhāraṇā). A steady, continuous flow of attention directed towards the same point or region is meditation (dhyāna). When the object of meditation engulfs the meditator, appearing as the subject, self-awareness is lost. This is samādhi.
- Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind. Then the seer dwells in his own nature. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams.
- As you can experience days or hours within its framework in the dream state and not age for the comparable amount of physical time, so as you develop, you will be able to rest and be refreshed within psychological time even when you are awake. this will aid your mental and physical state to an amazing degree. You will discover and added vitality and a decreased need to sleep. Within any given five minutes of clock time, for example you may find an hour of resting which is independent of clock time.
- Jane Roberts, Seth, Dreams & Projections of Consciousness, p. 152.
- Mind without agitation is meditation. Mind in the present moment is meditation. Mind that has no hesitation, no anticipation is meditation. Mind that has come back home, to the source, is meditation. Mind that becomes no mind is meditation.
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, "What is Meditation?"
- If we spent half an hour every day in silent immobility, I am convinced that we should conduct all our affairs, personal, national, and international, far more sanely than we do at present.
- Bertrand Russell, "The decay of meditation" (1931).
- In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
- Divinely bent to meditation;
And in no worldly suits would he be mov'd,
To draw him from his holy exercise.
- Nothing is more necessary to the cultivation of the advanced sciences or of the elevated portion of sciences than meditation, and there is nothing less fit for meditation than the interior of a democratic society. One does not encounter there, as in aristocratic peoples, a numerous class that stays at rest because it finds itself well-off and another than does not move because it despairs of being better off. Everyone is agitated: some want to attain power, others to take possession of wealth. In the midst of this universal tumult, the repeated collision of contrary interests, the continual advance of men toward fortune, where does one find the calm necessary to the profound combinations of the intellect? how does each man bring his thought to a stop at such and such a point, when everything moves around him and he himself is carried along and tossed about every day in the impetuous current that swirls all things along?
- Not only do men living in democratic societies give themselves over to meditation with difficulty, but they naturally have little esteem for it. The democratic social state and institutions bring most men to act continually; yet the habits of mind suited to action are not always suited to thought. The man who acts is often reduced to contenting himself with that is nearly so because he would never arrive at the end of his design if he wished to perfect every detail. He must constantly rely on ideas that he has not had the leisure to fathom, for it is much more the timeliness of the idea he makes use if than its rigorous exactness that helps him; and all in all, there is less risk for him in making use of some false principle than in wasting his time establishing the truth of all his principles. It is not by long and learned demonstrations that the world is led. There, the quick look at a particular fact, the daily study of the changing passions of the crowd, the chance of the moment and the skill to seize it decide affairs.
- In centuries in which almost everyone acts, one is therefore generally brought to attach an excessive value to rapid sparks and superficial conceptions of the intellect and, on the contrary, to deprecate immoderately its profound, slow work.
- When you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1997), p. 19
- Create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1997)
- Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (1997)
- That which is known as "meditation" is the act of sustaining an object of meditation and specific subjective aspects by repeatedly focusing your mind upon a virtuous object of meditation. The purpose of this is as follows. From beginningless time you have been under the control of your mind; your mind has not been under your control. Furthermore, your mind tended to be obscured by the afflictions and so forth. Thus meditation aims to bring this mind, which gives rise to all faults and flaws, under control and then it aims to make it servicable. Servicability means that you can direct your mind as you wish toward a virtuous object of meditation.
- Je Tsongkhapa, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, as translated by Chenmo Translation Committee (2000) p. 99
- I began to practice 'meditation', sitting cross-legged for hours, staring straight in front of me. the result was a sudden and total transformation of my inner-being. There was a sense of freedom from my personality -- from the being called Colin Wilson who was born in Leicester in 1931. I felt that 'he' was a series of responses and reactions, of ambitions and frustrations. But after half an hour of staring straight in front of me, of concentrating my attention 'at the root of my eyebrows', I felt in control of his responses and frustrations. This control brought such a sense of exhilaration and satisfaction that I often sneaked away from other people to spend just five minutes sitting cross-legged; when I was working as a labourer on a building site, I would find a quiet spot and, while the others were having a smoke, would sit in a position that could quickly be changed to an ordinary sitting posture if someone came by.
- Colin Wilson in Frankenstein's Castle p. 87 (1980)
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- Meditation is the soul's perspective glass, whereby, in her long remove, she discerneth God, as if He were nearer at hand.
- Owen Feltham, p. 406.
- Profound meditation in solitude and silence frequently exalts the mind above its natural tone, fires the imagination, and produces the most refined and sublime conceptions. The soul then tastes the purest and most refined delight, and almost loses the idea of existence in the intellectual pleasure it receives. The mind on every motion darts through space into eternity; and raised, in its free enjoyment of its powers by its own enthusiasm, strengthens itself in the habitude of contemplating the noblest subjects, and of adopting the most heroic pursuits.
- John G. Zimmerman, p. 406.
- It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most on Divine truth, that will prove the choicest, wisest, strongest Christian.
- Bishop Joseph Hall, p. 406.
- For with all our pretension to enlightenment, are we not now a talking, desultory, rather than a meditative generation?
- John Campbell Shairp, p. 406.
- It is an excellent sign, that after the cares and labors of the day, you can return to your pious exercises and meditations with undiminished attention.
- Hannah More, p. 406.
- Night by night I will lie down and sleep in the thought of God, and in the thought, too, that my waking may be in the bosom of the Father; and some time it will be, so I trust.
- William Mountford, p. 406.
- Avoid all refined speculations; confine yourself to simple reflections, and recur to them frequently. Those who pass too rapidly from one truth to another feed their curiosity and restlessness; they even distract their intellect with too great a multiplicity of views. Give every truth time to send down deep root into the heart.
- François Fénelon, p. 407.