I’ve been practicing passage meditation as taught by Eknath Easwaran since August of 2011.  I started off meditating 30 minutes each morning, and in January 2013 I  began an evening practice in addition to my morning practice, with hopes that the transformative benefits of the practice would reach me on a deeper level.  Meditation has given me a sense of stability in the face of many changes:  the birth of a second child, all of my best friends moving to different states, the decision to attend regular sessions with a therapist, taking on more responsibilities as a professional yoga teacher, the inevitable ups and downs of life shared with a husband, two children, and two cats.

If you’d like to know more about passage meditation, click here to be connected with the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation’s online resources for learning how to meditate.  Here is a quote taken from the page:

In passage meditation, we choose a spiritual text, or passage, that embodies our highest ideals, memorize it, and then go through the words slowly, silently, and with as much concentration as possible. This method brings two important benefits. First, by training our mind to stay on the words of the passage, we gradually build the precious capacity to place our attention wherever we choose – the key, as Easwaran would say, to love and loyalty as well as genius. Second, we begin to resemble and actually become whatever we give our attention to. As the inspired words from the great spiritual traditions of the world slowly come to life in us, they bring with them quiet joy, the capacity to face challenges squarely, and a deep sense of fulfillment.

Here are some passages that I have memorized and silently repeat during my twice daily sessions of meditation.  It is my hope that in reading them you will be inspired to recognize the vast self in you who is the self in all beings, that you may experience the underlying unity of all things.  If you are inspired, please share.  These words are from some of the greatest mystics and soul-seekers that have walked the earth, and each passage is a treasure to be cherished.  Thank you for reading.

PRAYERS FOR PASSAGE MEDITATION

The Prayer of Saint Francis
Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Great Life Giving Spirit
Native American Tradition

Great Spirit of Love, come to me with the power of the North.
Make me courageous when the cold winds of life fall upon me.
Give me strength and endurance for everything
that is harsh, everything that hurts,
everything that makes me squint.
Make me move through life
ready to take what comes from the North.

Spirit who comes out of the East,
come to me with the power of the rising sun.
Let there be light in my word.
Let there be light on the path that I walk.
Let me remember always that you give the gift of a new day.
Never let me be burdened with sorrow by not starting over.

Great Spirit of creation,
send me the warm and soothing winds from the South.
Comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold.
Enfold me as your gentle breezes enfold your leaves
on the trees.
And as you give to all the earth your warm, moving wind,
Give to me so that I may grow close to you in warmth.

Great life-giving Spirit,
I face the West,
the direction of the sundown.
Let me remember every day that the moment will come
when my sun will go down.
Never let me forget that I must fade into you.
Give me beautiful color.
Give me a great sky for setting,
and when it is time to meet you,
I come with glory.

And Giver of all life, I pray to you from the earth,
help me to remember as I touch the earth
that I am little and need your pity.
Help me to be thankful for the gift of the earth
and never to walk hurtfully on the world.
Bless me to love what comes from mother earth
and teach me how to love your gifts.

Great Spirit of the heavens,
lift me up to you
that my heart may worship you
and come to you in glory.
Hold in my memory that you are my Creator,
greater than I,
eager for my good life.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Shining Essence
Fakhruddin Araqi

I look into the mirror and see my own beauty;
I see the truth of the universe revealing itself as me.

I rise in the sky as the morning sun, do not be surprised,
Every particle of creation is me alone.

What are the holy spirits? My essence revealed.
And the human body? The vessel of my own form.

What is the ocean that encircles the world?
A drop of my abundant Grace.
And the purest light that fills every soul?
A spark of my own illumination.

I am Light itself, reflected in the heart of everyone;
I am the treasure of the Divine Name,
the shining Essence of all things.

I am every light that shines,
Every ray that illumines the world.
From the highest heavens to the bedrock of the earth
All is but a shadow of my splendor.

If I dropped the veil covering my true essence
The world would be gone–lost in a brilliant light.

What is the water that gives eternal life?
A drop of my divine nectar.
And the breath that brings the dead back to life?
A puff of my breath, the breath of all life.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Miracle of Illumination
Shantideva

As a blind man feels when he finds a pearl
in a dustbin, so am I amazed by the miracle
of Bodhi rising in my consciousness.
It is the nectar of immortality that delivers us from death,
The treasure that lifts us above poverty into
the wealth of giving to life,
The tree that gives shade to us when we roam about
scorched by life,
The bridge that takes us across the stormy river of life,
The cool moon of compassion that calms our mind
when it is agitated,
The sun that dispels darkness,
The butter made from the milk of kindness
by churning it with the dharma.
It is a feast of joy to which all are invited.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Radiant Is the World Soul
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

Radiant is the world soul,
Full of splendor and beauty,
Full of life,
Of souls hidden,
Of treasures of the holy spirit,
Of fountains of strength,
Of greatness and beauty.
Proudly I ascend
Toward the heights of the world soul
That gives life to the universe.
How majestic the vision–
Come, enjoy,
Come, find peace,
Embrace delight,
Taste and see that God is good.
Why spend your substance on what does not nourish
And your labor on what cannot satisfy?
Listen to me, and you will enjoy what is good,
And find delight in what is truly precious.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

If You Want to Draw Near to God
Abu Sa’id

If you want to draw near to God,
seek him in the hearts of those around you.
Speak well of all, present or absent.
If you would be a light for others,
be like the sun; show the same face to all.
To bring joy to a single heart is better
than building countless shrines for worship;
to capture one heart through kindness is better
than setting a thousand free.
This is the true lover of God,
who lives with others,
rises and eats and sleeps like others,
gives and takes with others in the bazaar,
yet never forgets God even for a moment.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Cast Aside What Limits You
Dov Baer of Mezhirech

The human body is finite;
The spirit is boundless.
Before you begin to pray,
cast aside what limits you
and enter into the world of the Infinite.
Turn to God alone
and have no thought of self at all.
Nothing but God will exist for you
when self has ceased to be.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Way of Love

The Bhagavad Gita

ARJUNA:

Of those who love you as the Lord of Love,
Ever present in all, and those who seek you
As the nameless, formless Reality,
Which way is sure and swift, love or knowledge?

SRI KRISHNA:

For those who set their hearts on me
And worship me with unfailing devotion and faith,
The way of love leads sure and swift to me.

Those who seek the transcendental Reality,
Unmanifested, without name or form,
Beyond the reach of feeling and of thought,
With their senses subdued and mind serene
And striving for the good of all beings,
They too will verily come unto me.
Yet hazardous
And slow is the path to the Unrevealed,
Difficult for physical man to tread.
But they for whom I am the goal supreme,
Who do all work renouncing self for me
And meditate on me with single-hearted
Devotion, these will I swiftly rescue
From the fragment’s cycle of birth and death
To fullness of eternal life in me.

Still your mind in me, still yourself in me,
And without doubt you shall be united with me,
Lord of Love, dwelling in your heart.
But if you cannot still your mind in me,
Learn to do so through the practice of meditation.
If you lack the will for such self-discipline,
Engage yourself in selfless service of all around you,
For selfless service can lead you at last to me.
If you are unable to do even this,
Surrender yourself to me in love,
Receiving success and failure with equal calmness
As granted by me.

Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice.
Better than knowledge is meditation.
But better still is surrender in love,
Because there follows immediate peace.

That one I love who is incapable of ill will,
And returns love for hatred.
Living beyond the reach of I and mine
And of pleasure and pain, full of mercy,
Contented, self-controlled, firm in faith,
With all his heart and all his mind given
To me–with such a one I am in love.

Not agitating the world or by it agitated,
They stand above the sway of elation,
Competition, and fear, accepting life
Good and bad as it comes. They are pure,
Efficient, detached, ready to meet every demand
I make on them as humble instruments of my work.

They are dear to me who run not after the pleasant
Or away from the painful, grieve not
Over the past, lust not today,
But let things come and go as they happen.

Who serve both friend and foe with equal love,
Not buoyed up by praise or cast down by blame,
Alike in heat and cold, pleasure and pain,
Free from selfish attachments and self-will,
Ever full, in harmony everywhere,
Firm in faith–such as these are dear to me.

But dearest to me are those who seek me
In faith and love as life’s eternal goal.
They go beyond death to immortality.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Duties of the Heart

Bahya Ibn Pakuda

What is meant by wholehearted devotion to God alone?

It means that in every act, public and private, the aim and purpose should be purely work for God’s sake, to please him only, without winning the approval of other people.

How achieve wholehearted devotion to God alone? In ten ways.  If these are firmly set in your heart and you clearly make them the basis of your actions, then your devotion to God will be complete.  Then you will turn to no one else, set your hope on nothing else, and mold your will to none other than God’s.

First is wholehearted acceptance that only God fills the universe;

Second, that God is the source of all reality and is endlessly good;

Third, that your goal is to work for God;

Fourth, that you should rely on God alone and not on physical beings;

Fifth, that you get no ultimate gain or loss from physical beings, but only from the Creator;

Sixth, that you should maintain evenness of mind regardless of whether people praise you or blame you;

Seventh, that you should not make a show of spiritual activities to impress other people;

Eighth, that you should not be caught up in personal gain when you are working for eternal life;

Ninth, that you should hold God in reverence and be humble before him;

Tenth, that you should use your mind to master your senses and use them with care

and discrimination.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Mirror of This World

Mahmud Shabestari

Every particle of the world is a mirror,
In each atom lies the blazing light
of a thousand suns.
Cleave the heart of a raindrop,
a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.
Look closely at a grain of sand,
The seed of a thousand beings can be seen.
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water
is no different from the Nile.

In the heart of a barley-corn
lies the fruit of a hundred harvests,
Within the pulp of a millet seed
an entire universe can be found.

In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.

Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
the Lord of both worlds
gladly makes his home there.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Living in Wisdom
The Bhagavad Gita

They live in wisdom
Who see themselves in all and all in them,
Whose love for the Lord of Love has consumed
Every selfish desire and sense craving
Tormenting the heart. Not agitated
By grief or hankering after pleasure,
They live free from lust and fear and anger.
Fettered no more by selfish attachments,
They are not elated by good fortune
Nor depressed by bad. Such are the seers.

Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs,
The wise can draw in their senses at will.
Aspirants abstain from sense pleasures,
But they still crave after them. These cravings all
Disappear when the see the Lord of Love.
For even of those who tread the path,

The stormy senses can sweep off the mind.
But they live in wisdom who subdue them
And keep their minds ever absorbed in me.

When you keep thinking about sense objects,
Attachment comes. Attachment breeds desire,
The lust of possession which, when thwarted,
Burns to anger. Anger clouds the judgment
And robs you of the power to learn from
Past mistakes. Lost is the discriminative
Faculty, and your life is utter waste.

But when you move amidst the world of sense
From both attachment and aversion freed,
There comes the peace in which all sorrows end,
And you live in the wisdom of the Self.

The disunited mind is far from wise;
How can it meditate? How be at peace?
When you know no peace, how can you know joy?
When you let the mind follow the Siren
Call of the senses, they carry away
Your better judgment as a cyclone drives
A boat off the charted course to its doom.

Use your mighty arms to free the senses
From attachment and aversion alike
And live in the full wisdom of the Self.
Such a sage awakes to light in the night
Of all creatures. In which they are awake
Is the night of ignorance to the sage.

As the rivers flow into the ocean
But cannot make the vast ocean overflow,
So flow the magic streams of the sense world
Into the sea of peace that is the sage.

They live forever free who have broken out
Of the ego-cage of I and mine
To be united with the Lord of LOve.
This is the supreme state. Attain to this
And pass from death to immortality.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Nectar of Immortality
The Amritabindu Upanishad

The mind may be said to be of two kinds,
Pure and impure. Driven by the senses
It becomes impure; but with the senses
Under control, the mind becomes pure.

It is the mind that frees us or enslaves.
Driven by the senses we become bound;
Master of the senses we become free.
Those who seek freedom must master their senses.

When the mind is detached from the senses
One reaches the summit of consciousness.
Mastery of the mind leads to wisdom.
Practice meditation. Stop all vain talk.
The highest state is beyond reach of thought,
For it lies beyond all duality.

Keep repeating the ancient mantram OM
Until it reverberates in your heart.

Brahman is indivisible and pure;
Realize Brahman and go beyond all change.
He is immanent and transcendent.
Realizing him, sages attain freedom
And declare there are no separate minds.
They have but realized what they always are.

Waking, sleeping, dreaming, the Self is one.
Transcend these three and go beyond rebirth.
There is only one Self in all creatures.
The One appears many, just as the moon
Appears many, reflected in water.

The Self appears to change location
But does not, just as air in a jar
Changes not when the jar is moved about.
When the jar is broken, the air knows not;
But the Self knows well when the body is shed.

We see not the Self, concealed by maya;
When the veil falls, we see we are the Self.

The mantram is the symbol of Brahman;
Repeating it can bring peace to the mind.

Knowledge is twofold, lower and higher.
Realize the Self; for all else is lower.
Realization is rice; all else is chaff.

The milk of cows of any hue is white.
The sages say that wisdom is the milk
And the sacred scriptures are the cows.

As butter lies hidden within milk,
The Self is hidden in the hearts of all.
Churn your mind through meditation on it;
Light your fire through meditation on it:
The Self, all whole, all peace, all certitude.

“I have realized the Self,” declares the sage,
“Who is present is all beings.
I am united with the Lord of Love;
I am united with the Lord of Love.”

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Path of Love
Hasan Kaimi Baba

O seeker of truth, it is your heart’s eye you must open.
Know the Divine Unity today,
through the path of love for Him.

If you object:  “I am waiting for my mind to grasp His nature,”
Know the Divine Unity today,
through the path of love for Him.

Should you wish to behold the face of God,
Surrender to Him, and invoke his names.

When your soul is clear, a light of true joy shall shine.
Know the Divine Unity today,
through the path of love for Him.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Let Me Walk in Beauty
Chief Yellow Lark

O Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty
and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears grow sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be greater than my brother or sister
but to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me always ready
to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes
So when life fades as the fading sunset
My spirit may come to you without shame.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Do Not Look with Fear
Saint Francis De Sales

Do not look with fear
on the changes and chances of this life;
rather look to them with full faith that as they arise,
God–whose you are–will deliver you out of them.

He has kept you hitherto.
Do not but hold fast to His dear hand,
and He will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand, He will bear you
in HIs arms.

Do not anticipate what will happen tomorrow.
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you tomorrow and every day.
Either he will shield you from suffering or
He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts
and imaginations.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Let Nothing Upset You
Saint Teresa of Avila

Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills every need.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

The Shining Self
The Tejobindu Upanishad

Let us meditate on the shining Self,
Changeless, underlying the world of change,
And realized in the heart in samadhi.

Hard to reach is the supreme goal of life,
Hard to describe and hard to abide in.
They alone attain samadhi who have
Mastered their senses and are free from anger,
Free from self-will and from likes and dislikes,
Without selfish bonds to people and things.

They alone attain samadhi who are
Prepared to face challenge after challenge
In the three stages of meditation.
Under an illumined teacher’s guidance
They become united with the Lord of Love,
Called Vishnu, who is present everywhere.

Though the three gunas emanate from him,
He is infinite and invisible.
Though all the galaxies emerge from him,
He is without form and unconditioned.

To be united with the Lord of Love
Is to be freed from all conditioning.
This is the state of Self-realization,
Far beyond the reach of words and thoughts.

To be united with the Lord of Love,
Imperishable, changeless, beyond cause
And effect, is to find infinite joy.
Brahman is beyond all duality,
Beyond the reach of thinker and thought.

Let us meditate on the shining Self,
The ultimate reality, who is
Realized by the sages in samadhi.

Brahman cannot be realized by those
Who are subject to greed, fear, and anger.
Brahman cannot be realized by those
Who are subject to the pride of name and fame
Or to the vanity of scholarship.
Brahman cannot be realized by those
Who are enmeshed in life’s duality.

But to all those who pierce this duality,
Whose hearts are given to the Lord of Love,
He gives himself through his infinite grace;
He gives himself through his infinite grace.

The formless self underlying the world of form

The formless self underlying the world of form

 

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19 responses »

  1. Very interesting. I wasn’t familiar with passage meditation, but as a singer (primarily of classical repertoire), I have sung and memorized many sacred and/or inspired text over the years, and I wonder if the effect might be somewhat similar, as it does require daily practice and considerable concentration and repetition.

    • That’s an interesting thought Lenora…I never looked at it this way, but now that you mention it, I bet the effect is very similar. How about the Gregorian monks who are sing-chanting the names of god? Very meditative to listen to. Did I tell you that I was a member of various choirs from elementary school up through college? I ended up singing lots of sacred texts over the years, feeling inspired by the words. And just the vibration of one’s own voice, when singing with joy–this is one of the most uplifting things I can think of in my life. You could log your time singing sacred texts as minutes spent in meditation! 😉 Maybe create an Insight Timer group–Meditating Musicians worldwide? Many people have experienced the healing, centering effects of music on the body/mind–and I’m sure that musicians especially are sensitive to the quality of the words and the notes, as they are the ones playing them and singing them. Over time, attention to a sacred text–whether memorized for passage meditation or for a beautiful performance–will allow the ideas of the text to take root in the consciousness. So I would say yes, the effects of memorizing sacred music for singing are similar to the effects one would experience as a result of regular passage meditation. Thanks for the thought provoking comment!

  2. Oops. I should have proofed my comment better. (It’s hard to see the whole comment on my phone, for some reason.) “Text” should read “texts.” Also, my apologies for the sloppy punctuation.

    • Ahh, Lenora, this must mean you’re human! I’m always finding mistakes in my posts, and often when I don’t have the time to correct them. Sigh. Making peace with imperfection–not easy!

  3. Pingback: One-Pointed Attention | Yoga Mom

  4. I have not heard of passage meditation before. I am interested to try it and see how I may be affected. The passage that “jumped out” at me from above is The Shining Essence by Fakhruddin Araqi…. I know! Crazy one to start with. I’ll let you know how my experience unfolds 🙂

    • The Shining Essence is a beautiful passage to start with! I look into the mirror, and see my own beauty. I see the truth of the universe revealing itself as me. I rise in the sky as the morning sun, do not be surprised–every particle of creation is me alone…Have you practiced another form of meditation before? Thanks for reading, Mary! ❤ 🙂

      • I use visualization for running. I have always thought of running as a form of meditation. I do read motivational passages each morning but I have not taken the time to really focus on the words I am reading. I generally take away an overall thought or message and carry on with my day. Sometimes I will think back to what I had read in the early morning but usually the words do not stay with me. This exercise, I feel, will be more focused because of the act of committing the passage to memory. Is this how it eventually comes to take on greater meaning? I believe this is such a beautiful piece that I just look forward to having these thoughts swirling about my cerebral cortex!! (LOL) 🙂

      • Hi Mary,

        How do you use visualization for your running? Sounds interesting. As far as the passage taking on deeper meaning, yes, committing to memory makes a big difference. I have found that lines from passages just appear in my mind from time to time during the day, which seems to me to be much more beneficial than jingles from a commercial, or obsessively thinking about something I want or don’t want. To have them arise during normal waking consciousness and to consider their implications puts me in a place of greater mental spaciousness. And I am with you regarding the passage you like–having those thoughts swirling around your cerebral cortex will be a great thing!

  5. This is beautiful, Lorien. I’d never heard of this form of meditation and, after skimming through the list of texts you’ve memorized, I finally see how you can so consistently create such beautiful daily blog posts – beauty in, beauty out. Thank you for sharing this, as well as sharing the texts you’ve worked with. So inspiring!

    • Hi Amy, thank you so much for visiting! I have heard of lectio divina from another person who stumbled across my blog. Maybe I should look into it 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.

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