Meditation: A Complete Audio Guide

Meditation: A Complete Audio Guide

By Eknath Easwaran
Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, 2004, 2 CDs + 16 page booklet.

Eknath Easwaran's Meditation: Complete Audio Guide, a course given some years ago at Easwaran's Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, reveals the late teacher's personal warmth and good humor. He was a charming storyteller who knew how to slip in profound teaching with a bit of laughter.

Easwaran's basic method of meditation involves careful, repeated concentration on a memorized passage from the scriptures of the world's religions or other inspirational literature. In this course, he uses a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi as an example. The method combines one-pointed concentration with a use of sacred texts similar to lectio divina in the Christian monastic tradition.

In addition to this meditative practice, Easwaran also discusses the other seven points of his famous eight-point program: repetition of a mantram (chosen according to one's religion or personal inclination), slowing down, one-pointed attention (not just in meditation, but in all of life), training the senses (learning to let go of our likes and dislikes in order to respond more helpfully to the world around us), putting others first, regular reading in the literature of world mysticism, and finding spiritual companionship with like-minded others. As Easwaran points out, these are very simple disciplines (although perhaps difficult to implement!) that can prove transformative to persons of any--or no--spiritual tradition. One of the strengths of this presentation is Easwaran's focus on very practical considerations (e.g., the need to get up early in order to have time to do one's meditation) rather than metaphysical speculation.

Today, we live in an increasingly hectic world. We multitask our way through the day, continually assaulted by different forms of media offering us a bewildering array of consumer choices. We know the value of slowing down, doing one thing at a time, and caring for others, but most of us need reminders from time to time. Even if one uses another method of meditation, there is much in Easwaran's presentation that will apply to any spiritual practitioner. I hope that: Nilgiri Press will offer more CDs of talks by this wonderful teacher, who truly provided "education for living."


March/April 2006