Meditation is concentration used to know God. Our meditation practice is characterized by a short period of devotional singing, followed by the deep silence of intense concentration as taught by Paramahansa Yogananda. The silence period is used to practice the techniques of concentration and for practice of Kriya Yoga techniques.
Long Meditation Format
The typical format of long group meditation includes the Energization Exercises, Meditation, Chanting and Prayer.
The Energization Exercises are a series of standing exercises developed by Paramahansa Yogananda to bring cosmic energy into the body and help prepare one for meditation. They are practiced as a group at the beginning of the Sunday 6 pm meditation and the 4th Saturday 4-hour meditation and 5-hour guided meditation. Otherwise, they are practiced at home before the service.
The meditation service is conducted by a leader who will guide you through periods of silent meditation for 30-50 minutes in length — separated by short periods of devotional chanting and inspirational readings.
Chanting deeply with concentration and devotion draws the devotee inwardly to the altar of God’s presence. You can refer to the Cosmic Chants booklets located on the back of the chairs in the chapel.
During the last portion of the meditation, devotees will pray for those who are in need of physical, mental and spiritual healing and for world peace.
Preparing for Meditation
Paramahansa Yogananda said “Meditation is the ability to take the mind away from every object of distraction and put it upon God alone.” Here are a few key points to help one achieve this state.
Sit relaxed with spine straight, feet flat on the floor, shoulders back, chest out, abdomen in, and hands with palms turned upward resting at the juncture of the thighs and abdomen. It is important that there be no tension in the body.
Focus Eyes Gently Upward
With the eyes closed, focus the gaze gently at the Christ Consciousness Center (the point between the eyebrows).
Focus on Thoughts of God
If no techniques are known, silently call on God in the language of your heart. Keeping one’s attention focused is the key to meditation and the pathway to experiencing the loving and peaceful presence of God.
In Group Meditation, devotees come together in silent fellowship to reinforce each other’s efforts to commune with God. To help create and maintain an atmosphere conducive to stillness, peace, and deep meditation, we ask everyone to observe the following guidelines:
Please arrive on time. If you are late, you may sit in the waiting area in the social room, to the right as you enter the building. You may enter the chapel during the chanting periods.
- Turn off all electronic devices before entering the chapel.
- Wear soft fabrics to preserve the silence for those around you.
- Refrain from wearing perfumes or strong scents.
- Please meditate at home if you have a cold or any condition that may affect others.
- If you are not staying for the entire meditation, please sit at the back of the chapel.
- Stay quietly seated during periods of silence.
- Practice the meditation techniques silently so as not to disturb others.
- During periods of chanting, you can stand and stretch, or use the restroom.
- Stay for the entire meditation service, whenever possible.
- When leaving early, please leave during a period of chanting and keep silent until you are well away from the chapel.