Group Meditation Guidelines
The prime purpose of Self-Realization Fellowship temples and centers such as the Dallas-Ft. Worth Meditation Group is to bring spiritual aspirants together to seek God through meditation. In SRF devotional services, the goal is to deepen our communion with God through practice of the meditation techniques taught by our guru, Paramahansa Yogananda. A monastic or lay devotee leads the group though periods of silent meditation separated by short periods of devotional chanting and inspirational readings.
When we meditate in a group, we honor our fellow meditators and ourselves by keeping our bodies still and not distracting others. The united strength of the group helps each member find the strength and courage to overcome indifference, devotional dryness, restlessness, discouragement, and doubt, obstacles that confront every sincere meditator at one time or another. The deepened benefits of group meditation reinforce each devotee’s efforts toward Self-realization.
If you have a cough, cold, or condition that creates noise or restlessness that may affect others, please meditate at home. Please dress conservatively as one generally would when attending a church or religious service. Shorts are not appropriate. Wear clothes that are made of soft fabrics that do not make noise. Please do not wear perfumes or colognes of strong scent.
Turn off electronic devices before entering. Arrive early to have time to find a seat, get calm, and meditate before the service begins. If you arrive after the service begins, please enter only during a chant or when the Usher indicates you may enter.
Correct posture, focusing the eyes gently upward, and focusing one’s thoughts on God are key points to help achieve a meditative state of mind.
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.
With eyes closed, focus the gaze gently at the point between the eyebrows. This is the Christ Consciousness Center, also called the kutastha, and is the center of will and spiritual perception. Practice the meditation techniques so that they are inaudible to others. If you do not know any techniques of meditation, silently call or speak to God in the language of your heart. If the mind wanders, gently bring the attention back to the Christ Consciousness center.
Chant in unison with concentration, devotion, and feeling to feel the meaning of the words and invoke God’s presence. God does not listen to the tone quality of our voices but rather the devotional quality of our hearts.
There is no talking during meditation. Please stay quietly seated during periods of silence. During longer periods of meditation, it is okay to stand and do gentle stretching during chanting. Anyone unable to sit in silence for a period of time is welcome to meditate in the Front Room.
If coughing in the chapel, please exit quietly to the restroom to recover. Meditation can then be continued in the Front Room. Please return to the chapel only during the next period of chanting.
To hold on to the peace of meditation, devotees generally come to service and leave in silence. Whenever conversation is necessary or natural, it is important to keep a spirit of silence and calm even in activity. In this way, as Yogananda said, “What you learn in meditation, practice in activity.”