Questions & Answers with Swami Satchidananda: How to Bring Meditation into Daily Life?

Question: How can we have our sitting meditation remain with us throughout the rest of our day?

Answer: If your meditation doesn’t extend into your daily activities then there is something wrong with your meditation; you’re not meditating properly. What is it that you are doing in your meditation? Suppose you use a mantra. You are repeating a sacred name because the mantra itself is sacred, which means you are in the presence of the Divine and you are feeling that Divine vibration by repeating the mantra. You can feel the power of the mantra. It is the same power that makes you move around and do things. Without that power, you wouldn’t be doing anything; you couldn’t be doing anything.

When you feel that power in your meditation, then you feel that even your sitting and meditating is done by that power. You will feel, “I” am not meditating. It is Divine grace or God’s power that is working through me and making me sit. When the power asks me to go and do something, it will push me and I will be going and doing things. So it doesn’t matter if you sit or walk or jump or sleep, because you feel that every movement happens because of that Divine energy that is expressing in your life as the mantra.

Meditation is almost like winding a clock. You wind the clock for half a minute, and that makes the clock tick for 24 hours. Anytime the clock stops ticking, it means you have not wound it enough. It is the winding—or the tension, or the spring, or the energy—that is produced by the winding of the spring, that keeps you ticking. Whether it is noon, morning, or evening, there are not different ticks for the different times of day. You don’t say the ticking is a little slow at noon, or it’s getting dull at midnight. It’s immaterial. The same is true for the ticking in your life. Sitting and meditating is one form of ticking. Walking and doing things is another form of ticking. Jumping and dancing, lying down and sleeping are just other forms and if you are capable of sticking to the ticking, you can stick around a little longer!

Without the Divine, without the ticking, not even a dust or a speck moves. If there is any kind of movement or activity at all in the entire cosmos, it is because of that winding. It is said that the cosmic spin is wound 3.5 times. The number three refers to the three qualities of nature; sattva, rajas, and tamas or tranquility, restlessness, and dullness. The half turn is the unwinding; the  energy is unwinding every minute of your life. Then there comes a time when it unwinds completely and needs rewinding and that is the time you go into a box! The physical ticking is over but the mental ticking continues. What you call death is when the physical ticking is over.

After meditation, many of us say the following prayer: Whatever actions I may perform, impelled by the forces of nature, by body, word, mind, senses, intellect, soul, I offer to God. You did the meditation with your body, mind, soul, and intellect. The prayer means that even the meditation is not possible without God; that even the meditation is because of the ticking. In our meditation we should experience and understand that without God’s energy, we can’t even meditate. There is a Tamil saying: Lord, you show me, I see. You make me jump, I jump. You make me sleep, I sleep. You make me eat, I eat. You make me meditate, I meditate. Without You I do nothing.

If you can feel that in your sitting meditation, then your entire life becomes a meditation. It doesn’t matter where you are. You may be under your car or digging a trench, or pulling a weed, or, sitting in meditation—everything you do becomes meditation. It is to have that experience, that you meditate. In meditation, you take time to think of these experiences and then you carry it with you into your daily life. Otherwise, you are not doing the right kind of meditation; you are simply sitting and repeating the mantra, that’s all, but it’s not enough. You have to know why you are meditating and what it is doing for you. If not, it’s like having a bundle of money but you don’t know how to use it. If you don’t know that you can buy things with the money, it’s of no use. If you have several hundred dollars in your pocket and you say “I’m hungry,” but you don’t buy food because you don’t know your dollar can buy food, then you don’t understand the value of the money. It’s not enough just to gather money. You should know the value of it and how to make use of it. And that’s also what should happen in meditation. Know the value and make use of it.

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