Blogs inspired by the material taught at the School of Meditation, Holland Park Avenue, London; these notes are taken from the material taught at groups during early 2019…
There is a level of being which is the same for us all regardless of our social and economic circumstances, ethnicity, age and the other categories we regularly have to tick boxes for. The School of Meditation teaches the Advaita Vedanta philosophy, which sees an infinite source of everything that exists in creation.
This idea is a mystery to the conceptualising mind; but the practice of meditation can offer a direct experience of this infinity.
The material tells us to: Become still, be quiet and experience your very being, the very fact that you exist…
Let go of any sense of a separate existence.
Let go of desire.
Advaita teaches us that this practice of meditation will bring equanimity. The individual self (or Atman in Hindu parlance) merges with the Universal Self (Paramatman). The School of Meditation teaches that the practice prepares the mind to receive subtle truths that we would otherwise miss.
Two Aspects of Existence
On the surface level, everything is in constant flux. But the real Self does not change, despite the turbulence. Subtle truths are experienced at a deeper level. Advaita encourages students to identify with the deeper Self rather than the activities on the surface of life. It encourages people to return, with regular reminders, to this deeper Self.
To identify with a passing state on the surface is to invite suffering. Like a teenager seeking status in a group, with the two extremes of being puffed-up with pride and certainty when they are accepted but becoming bitterly depressed and lost when they are met with rejection.
“Come to know the One in the Presence before you and everything hidden from you will be revealed”
The Gospel of St Thomas
The Shankaracharya (Shri Shantananda Saraswati) described two aspects of existence: the mobile and the immobile. The mobile refers to creation; all the action we see and do. Immobile refers to ‘the Absolute’ (what is more commonly labelled God and was called the Paramatman earlier in this blog).
The Shankaracharya explains more: that the Absolute contains everything, that all creation is a manifestation of the Absolute.
When most people want to end their suffering, they yearn for an end to movement and yearn for the presence of stillness. The Advaita tradition teaches that the stillness is already there, always within us, where we are already – eternally in the presence of the Absolute.
When we suffer, we seek to escape the pain, and we may develop a happy knack of connecting with the stillness of a deeper experience. Unfortunately, we cannot reside in that peace forever – our eyes open and then life moves us along to the next thing.
But we can remember, and that is something worth dwelling on for a while. Remember who you are. Are you the movement or the stillness?
You can see the movement,
But you cannot see the stillness – that is because it is the stillness that is doing the observing…
By Tom Charles @tomhcharles
The material in this blog was inspired by the teachings at the School of Meditation, Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UH. The school opened in 1961 and was taken under the wing of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles’ meditation teacher, who introduced the school’s founders to Shri Shantananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Northern India. In a series of Q & As, the Shankaracharya provided answers to the questions of the visitors from London. These answers formed the basis of the school’s teaching material.
Advaita Vedanta- a Sanskrit phrase meaning One without a second
Atman – Individual soul
Paramatman – Universal soul
Self – soul
Absolute – God