Two Steps From Bliss

I recently wrote an article about the scientific benefits of meditation. However, I discovered that there were so many more spiritual benefits of meditation that had not been mentioned in the research papers.

Some things are difficult to measure with our current methods. They are more subtle and difficult to prove with research.

So, in this post, we will explore the spiritual benefits of meditation.

I can’t support all of this with research, of course, as it has not yet been done. Instead, I hope you will trust the words of some of the greatest spiritual and intellectual masters throughout history. I have included their quotes to support the benefits.

Ultimately, the key is to do your own inner research through meditation. Explore if these benefits begin to materialize in your life, and then you will have no need for scientific studies to support your feelings. You will know for yourself.

Feel free to download the free meditation starter pack if you want to learn a simple meditation routine:

Spiritual benefit #1: Deep inner peace

“I meditate so that I can sit and inundate my entire being with the omnipotent power of peace.” – Sri Chinmoy

In a previous post, we explored the scientific benefits of meditation. We explored how meditation helps to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. This is certainly true, but more importantly, regular meditation brings us a sense of deep inner peace.

We become less reactive to the external world, less blown around by the winds of emotion, and far more effective at dealing with the challenges and conflicts that arise in daily life.

Imagine your life is a great ocean. At times, it has been a tempest of emotional stress and challenges. At other times, it has been calmer, more focused and peaceful. With meditation, we gain control over the “volume” of the storm, and. As time goes by, the ocean becomes calmer and less reactive. Eventually, the waves subside, and very rarely will anything pull you away from that center of deep inner peace.

Of course, life still happens, difficulties and challenges arise, but because we are centered and balanced, minor problems do not become catastrophes, and they are overcome with little difficulty.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha                                 

Spiritual benefit #2: Live in the present

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”   ― Thich Nhat Hanh        

We are taught from a young age to live our lives at some point in an imaginary future, instead of allowing ourselves to enjoy the gift of the present moment.

We spend our childhood going to school so that we can go to college; we go to college so we can get a job; we get a job so we can get a house, a spouse, and a shiny, new car. We end up constantly striving for the next thing.

And we forget to enjoy what is here right now!

The present moment is the only time where true joy can exist. It cannot exist yesterday or tomorrow. As the old saying goes, “Tomorrow never comes.”

Joy is our natural state of being (just look at children), but it’s sometimes difficult to access when we are bogged down by stress, worry, and distractions.

Meditation helps us to become centered in the present moment. By the practice of concentration, we train the mind to stop getting lost in past and future stories. We learn to let go, to allow ourselves to be as we are, so that we can grow and evolve. We stop holding ourselves back with negative thought patterns, worry and doubt.

And the more you can enjoy the present, the better your future will be:

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.”  – Eckhart Tolle

Spiritual benefit #3: Find your purpose

“Your purpose in life is to find out your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” – Buddha

When we quiet the mind in meditation, it helps us develop intuition. We begin to feel with greater sensitivity the things we love and the things that are right for us, as well as the things that make us anxious or stressed. In this way, we take steps towards finding our life purpose.

We discover that we have an important purpose and that we are here to serve in a way that brings joy to others and to ourselves. In serving, we become happier, stronger, more useful human beings, which feels wonderful. It’s also an antidote to the suffering we experience, and gives us a clear sense of direction.

Some people find that they want to work with children, or they want to help people lose weight, overcome addictions, support new parents, or wherever else they can help.

Mark Twain once said:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  

Well, I remember the exact moment that this happened to me. I was on holiday in Cyprus at 27 years old when I knew with every fiber of my being that I was to be a meditation teacher.

Meditation gets you to that place where you can feel and understand what it is that you were put here for, guided not by the logical mind, but by intuition.

Spiritual benefit #4: Experience Oneness

“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.”  ― Alan Watts

In the modern world, particularly in the West, we have become individualistic, pursuing our own journeys, making our own path, doing it our own way. We are not as connected to the tribe or to community life as we once were.

The result is that we begin to see ourselves as separate from the world and from other people. This can lead to isolation, alienation, and marginalization.

When we meditate, we feel connected to everything and everyone; we feel the essential oneness that is the truth of the universe. John Donne knew this truth when he said, “No man is an island.”

Personally, I began to feel like I was connected to the world, and I wanted to help others feel it too. I didn’t want to live in a self-serving way any longer; I wanted to bring joy to others.

It seems like we are separate individuals in the same way that waves seem separate from the ocean, but they are making their way back to their source, just as we are.

The truth is, we are in a great big soup of consciousness, and we are all eternally connected. All of the greatest spiritual masters have known this:

“All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.” ― Swami Vivekananda

In my personal experience, I have noticed that I am more eager to learn from others, to ask for guidance and support from people who know more than me, and to seek advice. I know that I am connected and that I need support from others in order to grow, but many people try to grow alone. We must learn from Isaac Newton:

“If I have seen further than others, it is only by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Meditation connects us to our friends and to our world, and it helps us to see that we are all connected:

“You are never alone. You are eternally connected with everyone.” ― Amit Ray

Spiritual benefit #5: Be more magnetic

“Imagination is everything; it is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

With meditation, we increase our ability to control our thoughts so we can better attract what we want into our lives. Sure, that means we are more able to attract money, success, and better relationships, but interestingly, as you meditate, you may find that what you want shifts from selfish needs to a selfless desire to help others.

Ironically, this attitude often leads to greater success and financial security anyway, because we are more efficient, productive, and gifted when we direct our energy towards serving.  

When we want for ourselves, we are often too attached to the outcomes, coming from a mindset of lack. So of course the prayers are not answered. Instead of joyful asking, it becomes desperation and neediness, which does nothing to attract your desires, because the energy you put out is negative.

 “I need a spouse. I wish I had more money. I hate my job. Why can’t I find another one?”

The negative mindset leads to nothing but more of the same. There is no joy in these requests, only personal desire and negativity.

Consider what you truly want out of life, and ask for it with positive power, with selflessness and non-attachment. 

The mindset should be, “I would love this to be my reality,” or “It would be so wonderful if this happened,” and not, “I need this to be my reality.” The difference may seem small, but in Universal terms, it is the polar opposite.

And just remember that every thought is energy, every thought and feeling is creating your reality, so focus as often as you can on what you love, not on what you dislike:

“The mind is everything -what you think, you become.” – Buddha

Spiritual benefit #6: Deepen your awareness

“Meditation is the only way you can grow. Because when you meditate, you are in silence, you are in thoughtless awareness. Then the growth of awareness takes place.” -Nirmala Srivastava

What does it mean to be aware?

Awareness means to know and feel what is happening within you: your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. And it means knowing what is happening outside of you: sounds, sights, and other people’s feelings.

In meditation, we connect to that awareness, and carry it into daily life.

“Awareness not only anchors you in the present moment. It is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego.” – Eckhart Tolle

The ego keeps us bound with its personal desires, its likes and dislikes, so as we meditate, all of that dissolves and you become aware of the great ocean of peace that resides within you.

In deep meditation, you can access a state where there are no thoughts at all, just pure awareness, free from the thinking mind.

Eventually that state grows and becomes your reality. Of course, the mind is always there for us to use, but instead of being the servant, we become its master.

Spiritual benefit #7: Experience synchronicity

“Synchronicity is an ever-present reality for those who have eyes to see.” – Carl Jung

Synchronicity has been defined as, “A meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.”

You know those moments when something unusual happens, and you get that feeling inside that says there is meaning within the coincidence?

Synchronicity is guidance. When we are able to listen, we are guided by messages from within and without. It may come in the form of things we see or hear in the external world, guiding us in a certain way; at other times it is a deep feeling within that we want to go to a certain place or meet a certain person. This is called intuition.

Guidance comes in the form of a deep inner knowing and a feeling in the heart that there is meaning.

We could even see it as a form of communication:

“Nature is alive and talking to us. This is not a metaphor.” -Terence McKenna

When we meditate, we are better able to hear this communication, instead of rejecting as we tend to do with the rational mind.

Spiritual benefit #8: Discernment

“Discernment is a simple evaluation by the intellect guided by the higher Self, whether an experience is beneficial or useful for you or not.” -Deepak Chopra

The more deeply we connect with our intuition, the more we can trust ourselves to discern what is right for us and what is not. Meditation brings awareness to your choices and actions, so that you are able to identify what brings you joy and what makes you suffer.

Some activities cause you more harm than good because they have a negative effect on your consciousness.

Meditation helps us to make better decisions because it makes us more sensitive and aware of the truth of how we feel.

We discover that when we act in certain ways, we feel happier and more peaceful: living in tune with nature, consuming light-hearted and comedic media, drinking herbal teas and water, eating more fruits and vegetables, speaking kindly of others, being positive, serving, uplifting people, going to bed earlier, exercising, meditating, and spending time with positive people.

Meditation makes you more sensitive, but that does not mean it makes you weaker. On the contrary, sensitivity gives you great strength, courage, and power. You are more aware, more discerning, and more selective of what you allow into your life.

Ultimately, we learn to make decisions based on the guidance of our higher self, our true self, as opposed to the ego. 

“To be free from bondage, the wise person must practice discrimination between one-self and the ego-self. By that alone you will become full of joy, recognizing Self as pure being, consciousness, bliss.” – Adi Shankara

Spiritual benefit #9: Find your Guru

“If you follow him, he will lead you out of the darkness. If you try to find the way alone, you may needlessly lose yourself in the forest for many incarnations. Follow the Guru and he will take you through safely.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

The more we access deep peace and joy in meditation, the more likely we are attract the presence of a true Guru. The Guru is the guiding light that brings us home to our natural state of “being, consciousness, bliss.”

Perhaps you have no need for a Guru right now. You just want to find greater peace and happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Meditation will still improve your life in so many ways.

But when you are ready to take it to the next level, you may find that you need the support of a true Guru. In the mean time, you can still have spiritual teachers like me to help you learn how to meditate and live a spiritual life.

As the old saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

Spiritual benefit #10: Self-realization

“Self-realization is not something you can learn from books; it comes only through personal experience.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

The final goal of spiritual practice is to achieve liberation. Buddhists called it enlightenment, others call it self-realization, and in Vedic terms, it is called moksha.

Self-realization means that we permanently realize the truth of our nature and our reality. We do not return in human form, but return to the true state, which is infinite peace, infinite joy; no time, no space, just pure, eternal, blissful consciousness, just as Adi Shankara defined it.

Imagine yourself without thoughts; pure awareness, drifting in an ocean of peace.

If we wish to return to this state, as is the ultimate destiny of every soul, we must learn how to meditate. 

The world is a motion picture. It is the great dream of Maya (illusion), no more real than the dreams you have at night. As Albert Einstein once said:

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” -Albert Einstein

The difference between this dream and the ones you have at night is that this dream has a sort of persistence, a consistency that flows from one day to the next, connected by memory.

Inherent in the concept of self-realization is the concept of reincarnation. Self-realization takes many lifetimes: we keep coming back again and again, until we learn all the lessons we are here to learn, and finally achieve enlightenment.

“Your greatest awakening comes when you are aware about your infinite nature.” -Eckhart Tolle

Final Word

Like I said, it is wise to keep an open mind when reading about these benefits. However, you should not simply trust me; see if you experience any of these benefits in your own life as you meditate and follow these teachings.

To me, these spiritual benefits of meditation are far deeper and more important than those that can be proven with research.

The deeper we go in meditation, the deeper our state of peace becomes and the more we improve every aspect of our lives.

How about you? Can you think of any spiritual benefits that I did not mention? Let me know in the comments below.

If you want to learn how to meditate, check out the free meditation starter pack below, which gives you everything you need to start a simple meditation practice.

RELATED POST: TOP 10 SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

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