Convinced of its benefits, meditators are always on the lookout for ways to improve and increase their meditation practice. It’s okay to be a glutton for goodness. When we’re happy and peaceful within, those qualities rub off on others. Our personal meditation practice is a subtle—but powerful—way to make the world a better place.
Most yogis know there are certain times of the day when meditation seems more effective. The Brahmamuhūrta is one of those times. But it’s not always practical to meditate at ideal times. Some people have late-night or early-morning responsibilities that make it very difficult to meditate at dawn. However, yogis also know that any time is better than no time. We must find other opportunities.
The Power of Group Meditation
Practicing yogis know that group meditations are very fruitful. A group’s energy is often more powerful than a single person’s. This is true for any activity, whether it’s spiritual or mundane. For example, corporations invest in team-building activities for their employees. They know that employees work more effectively when they experience the unity of their group. We’re a social species. We know we’re stronger when we do things together.
When we meditate with others, it’s easier to stay committed. It’s like having a workout buddy. There’s encouragement and support to show up and perform as promised. Also, a group’s energy, whether it’s two or ten, helps create focus. All participants are in agreement with the purpose of the moment. Always take advantage of opportunities to meditate with others, whether physically or psychically.
Invitation to Mini Meditations
Several years ago, my Guru initiated a practice of mini meditation sessions throughout the day. He invited us to meditate with him at set times. During those times, from wherever we happened to be, we stop what we’re doing and sit for a few minutes of meditation. Closing our eyes, we imagine the presence of our fellow meditators and turn within. Group meditation doesn’t require the physical presence of others.
Following is a copy of the letter Gurudev sent, inviting us to join him:
Your nature is bliss, but to find it you have to turn within. At the day’s end, you go to sleep to rejuvenate your whole system. Similarly, you should turn within with full awareness. Meditate to find your bliss.
In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna tells Arjuna, “Everything in the world is constantly changing. Nothing is permanent. If you live continually for external things, your life will be sorrowful. For a few moments every day, turn within. One who goes within does not know misery and sorrow.”
My Guru once told us this story: There was a man who was afraid of his own shadow. All his life he tried to get rid of it. But, no matter what he did, his shadow always chased him. One day while he was walking he saw his shadow sneaking up behind him. He was scared. He walked faster, but the shadow followed him. He started to jog, but the shadow was still there. He ran, and the shadow ran too. He ran faster and faster until he collapsed and died.
This man lacked intelligence. If instead of running he had found a tree and rested in its shade, his shadow would have automatically disappeared. Our condition is the same. We run to get things: to find love, to meet friends, earn money, and still we have no lasting happiness. Enter the inner space and repose under the beautiful tree of peace to overcome anxiety and find the source of peace you’ve been looking for.
Whatever satisfaction we get from worldly pleasure is only a small ripple of the deep inner peace you’ll find in meditation. Outer happiness is a mere reflection of the wealth of joy that exists inside us. That is why it is so important to have a genuine interest in meditation.
Besides your daily meditation, dive into your inner Self for a few minutes at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.
My Invitation to You
Including mini meditations throughout your day is a helpful reminder of what’s most important—peace, happiness, and brotherly love. You can discover the benefits of mini meditations by starting today, right now. Before you leave this page, close your eyes, take several full breaths, and relax. Give yourself five or ten minutes of peace, and then return to your work. Don’t worry if your mind is racing—just observe that activity and continue to breathe and relax.
Ever since receiving my Guru’s invitation years ago, I’ve been meditating at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Now I’m inviting you to join this group. I live on the west coast of America, in the Pacific Time Zone.
Always remember that any meditation is better than none. If you can’t make it during these times, choose your own—a time when you can commit and stick to it. If you’d like to have a meditation buddy, please contact me here. I might be able to help you find someone to whom you can report and support.
Chityānanda has been a disciple of Svāmī Gurupremānanda Sarasvatī since 1975. She teaches meditation and yoga as a spiritual path in Santa Cruz, California.
Yes, I admit, my shadow has been chasing me nonstop lately. I had better shape up and get back into it. Mini meditations sounds like a good plan.
Yes, Tosh, meditation provides comforting shade from shadows. Mini meditations are so easy that most of us forget how powerful they are. Good luck with your practice. Namaste.
Whatever situation one is currently in, 5 minute mini-meditations seem most appealing to meditators to turn within to find peace and worldly respite when in need. These are like finding gold nuggets on the path.
Thank you for including the letter from Gurudev.
Hello, About a month ago someone in class said they didn’t have time for mini-meditations.
Gurupremananda said “Carry a chair with you.” I’m sure that person thought Gurudev was kidding, but I went to Target and purchased two lightweight camping chairs for $7 each. I left one at work and it has been designated “The Chair.” It’s been given a place of its own in the warehouse. The other I carry with me. Sunday I carry the chair, Monday I leave it at home and sit on a toilet and go to a library near work. After the toilet-library debacle I really miss my chair.
(Thanks Sue) Wherever I am I’ve set my alarm and just sit wherever I am, things have changed. Tony
Thank you for sharing your story, Tony. It’s a perfect example of giving up excuses and finding a way, no matter what. Dedication & Determination: Two great words for living the spiritual path. — I’m also reminded by your example that my Guru’s Guru was so determined in his practice that he also used a toilet area for meditation. An odd way to be in good company — but There you are! Namaste.
I want to get back into mini-meditations. Thanks Svami.
Just do it, John.
Thank you for the reminder Svami. Five minutes here and there is really not too much to ask. I am the one who benefits. This is service to ourself.
Yes, Modesto, it’s a “selfish act,” but the best one you can do. Besides, when you’re happy and peaceful, it rubs off on others. Namaste.
I’ve been including mini-meditations in my life for about a year now. They tend to be spontaneous and short (1~5 mins) ie: when standing in line at the supermarket, between meetings at work etc. I find them peaceful and a way to restore balance. I will strive to meet the 9, 12, 3 and 9 goals. Thanks, Svāmī Chityanānda.
Thank you for your comment and suggestions, James. I like to hear how people find ways to get more practice in their days. Do try to incorporate one of the set times as well. I find that most people, myself included, can make the 9pm time. I usually doze off at that time, but then just slip into bed. Namaste.
Mini-meditations are like snacks or catnaps throughout the day to restore spiritual energy.
Thank you for the analogy, Roxie. Namaste.
Thank you Svāmī for this! I’ll be meditating with you at 9pm as I’m teaching the rest of the times (I meditate at 6am).
Hello, Annie, and thank you for joining the conversation. I see you’re enjoying the best time for morning meditations, before sunrise — my favorite time, too! I’ll remember you daily at 9pm. Namaste.
Great idea, Svami. There are many opportunities to meditate.
Thank you, Tim. Feel free to tell us how you do that, like Tony and James shared. Others often come up with ideas that we never think of. Namaste.
I love the “just do it” approach, the support and encouragement. Wonderful post!
It’s good to hear from you again, Karyn. Yes, meditation is as easy as that — just do it. It’s easy, simple, and full of wonderful benefits. You comment reminded me of my Guru’s response to people who used to complain about being too busy to meditate. He’d say: “Did you eat today?”, implying that if we’ve got time to eat then certainly we’ve got time to meditate. Food for the soul — so important! Namaste.
I love the way you included the Guru’s sweet invitation. It is certainly full of Truth.
Thank you, Richard. I’m glad you enjoyed Svami Gurupremananda’s article. Hopefully, many more to come! Namaste.
Dear Swami,This is a fantastic invitation, especially in the age of technology. I have a small ‘invisible’ clock / timer which I can set to join you at those times. Thank you! Elizabeth
I appreciate your enthusiasm, Elizabeth, and welcome you to our little egregore. Our only purpose is Self-realization in this lifetime, and we support each other by meditating together (either together or mentally.) I will remember you each time I begin my mini-meditations. Namaste.