This is the (second) Out of Print edition. The newest edition is the fourth edition titled "Passage Meditation - A Complete Spiritual Practice"
This handbook of meditation practice is a complete guide to a unique approach to tapping inner resources by training concentration on inspirational passages. Meditation and the Eight-Point Program that compliments and supports it can be used by anyone who wanst sity of California, Berkeley, in 1960 on the Fulbright exchange program and established the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in Northern California in 1961. His 1968 Berkeley class is believed to be the first accredited course in meditation at any Western university. His deep personal experience and his love for his students have made the ancient art of meditation accessible to those who hold jobs and live active lives among friends and family.
Eknath Easwaran (1910–1999) is the originator of passage meditation and the author of more than 30 books on spiritual living.
Easwaran is a recognized authority on the Indian spiritual classics. His translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, and The Dhammapada are the best-selling editions in the USA, and over 1.5 million copies of his books are in print.
Easwaran was a professor of English literature and well known in India as a writer and speaker before coming to the United States in 1959 on the Fulbright exchange program. In 1961, he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, based in Tomales, California, which continues his work today through publications and retreats.
His 1968 class on the theory and practice of meditation at UC Berkeley is believed to be the first accredited course on meditation at any Western university. For those who seek him as a personal spiritual guide, Easwaran assured us that he lives on through his eight-point program of passage meditation.
"I am with you always”, he said. “It does not require my physical presence; it requires your open heart."
Author Eknath Easwaran has written several books on meditation. He has also translated and written guides for many Indian spiritual texts, like The Bhagavad Gita and The Upanishads. Passage Meditation is a combination of both areas of study: it's the process of meditating on "the words of inspired passages chosen from the wisdom literature of the world." These "inspired passages" can be from any time, culture, or religion, and Easwaran is very emphatic that the person studying them doesn't have to be of a particular religion--or even particularly religious at all--to meditate on them.
At first, I thought this book was going to be a list or explanation of Easwaran's favorite spiritual passages, but he actually focuses more on how to meditate than what to meditate. He offers eight points for establishing a successful meditation practice:
1) MEDITATE ON A PASSAGE. He encourages his readers to begin with the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, but he gives other options as well. For best results, he says, meditate in the morning and in the same place every day, make sure your posture is right, don't fall asleep, and make sure you are physically taking care of your body so that you are able to meditate comfortably.
2) REPEAT A MANTRAM. The mind needs something to hold on to so it doesn't wander. It also needs something to help calm it down. He says people sometimes make the mistake of thinking if they are just "happy" enough then they won't get sad as much. But the mind is like a seesaw; what goes up, must come down. "If you let your mind be ruffled by what is pleasant, it is bound to be ruffled by what is unpleasant." Saying a mantram helps keep the mind stable, so he recommends saying it when you feel upset and when you feel excited.
3) SLOW DOWN. If you want to find joy in your work, in your interaction with others, in life, you have to go slowly and pay attention to what is happening around you. Easwaran's advice is to rise early, eat slowly, arrive before you need to, work at a steady pace, build friendly and loving relations with others by practicing patience at every opportunity, learn to actually detach yourself from your work once you've stopped working, and choose recreational activities that actually revitalize you.
4) FOCUS YOUR MIND. He says the mind is like horses pulling a chariot--either you are in charge of the horses or the horses are in charge of you (and will go running every which way). This is why he suggests meditating on a spiritual passage, since it gives the mind something singular and positive to latch on to.
5) TRAIN YOUR SENSES. And by this Easwaran mostly means "don't eat too much." Much of this chapter is weirdly fixated on food, honestly, but he does finally make some good points about not being a slave to physical indulgence and stimulation. "But when we train the senses we conserve our vital energy, the very stuff of life. Patient and secure within, we do not have to look to externals for satisfaction. No matter what happens outside--whether events are for or against us, however people behave towards us, whether we get what pleases us or do not--we are in no way dependent. Then it is that we can give freely to others; then it is that we can love."
6) PUT OTHERS FIRST. Don't be a doormat, but do whatever you can to be there for other people.
7) ASSOCIATE WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE. You become like the people you hang out with, so make sure you spend time with those who are on a similarly healthy path.
8) READ SPIRITUAL BOOKS. He recommends reading every day (even just 30 minutes) from texts of all religions.
I really enjoyed this book. It took me a while to read it, since there is so much information to process. But I definitely learned a lot. To be completely honest, I don't think I will do much passage meditation, specifically, but I am trying to meditate more often and more regularly using a mantram. I've found that when I actually remember to use it, it does help calm and stabilize my (somewhat erratic...) mind.
I bought this book in the airport in India after studying meditation in Thailand at a Buddhist monastery. I found this book more helpful for integrating meditation into my life than the week-long stay at the monastery!
Many a times, out of our busy schedule, when we try to get some time to reflect on the fundamental questions of life - like 'What's the purpose of my life?', 'Is there a God?' 'What is morality?' etc etc. and seek insights from many enlightened souls, very often we come to a singular suggestion from them , "meditate and you will find the answers". Most prominent gurus and enlightened souls do practice meditation and always tell how it has impacted their own thoughts and life. However, meditation, alone is not enough, you need to have more disciplines in your life if you really seek the truth - so they say. I have tried to avoid it, rather postponed it to my later life, considering it as an arduous task and probably it is too difficult to bring the discipline required for it now. However, as the world and life are changing rapidly now, I thought I should try out things that I have been postponing, and luckily I came across this book by a well-established Indian teacher, who has managed to make an impact proliferating Indian philosophies in the west.
In this book, Eknath Easwaran, has provided an eight point program in an endeavor to attract people to adopt the simple methods of meditation. 1. Meditate 2. Repeat a Mantra 3. Slow Down 4. Give one point attention 5. Train the senses 6. Put welfare of others first 7. Have spiritual companionship 8. Read from scriptures and mystics of all religions
The methods are simple, examples relatable. After reading this book, you would come out - I too can meditate, it is not difficult as I thought, which is probably the intention of the book and the author succeeded in that. The examples and illustrations used are keeping western readers in mind, so those who are well aware of Hindu and eastern philosophies, mightn't find great value in this.
Eknath Easwaren is a fantastic writer. My whole life calmed down after reading his Eight Point Program. Fantastic! His words are calming and fill me with peace and harmony. I have read this book over and over. I pack it each time I have a trip and have taken it with me from East to West. Each chapter is special. This book is a real keeper. Dr. Denise Tarasuk (author of Monsoon Medicine)
The eight points Easwaran articulates are nothing new, nothing difficult to understand (practice will be another thing) and this is the most practical guide to life-changing spirituality I've seen. His universality is highly attractive.
Eknath Easwaran's book Passage Meditation: Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart into Daily Life is a kind, thoughtful guide to meditation for beginners and more experienced practitioners alike. Mr. Easwaran takes the tone of a helpful friend and mentor; the book is an easy read that makes meditation seem doable.
Mr. Easwaran starts by discussing the many benefits of meditation, describing how he came to meditation in the first place as a busy young professor at a university in India. He then details his method for meditation: in essence, to find a passage from spiritual literature that appeals to you and touches you deeply, to memorize that passage, and then to repeat it, word by word, in your mind during your meditation practice. Remembering each word of the passage gives your mind something to focus on. In addition, Mr. Easwaran believes that we are what we think about, and if you spend time thinking about an inspiring passage, that passage will become part of your consciousness, enabling you to become a better person.
You could probably start practicing this simple passage meditation technique just based on my description above, but Mr. Easwaran's book is so finely written and so pleasant to read that I recommend it strongly. The rest of the book discusses the benefits of a personal mantra in daily life and of slowing down instead of racing through each day; Easwaran also talks about improving concentration and training the senses (pratyahara), and other just good ideas for spiritual practice, such as putting others first and finding companions to practice with.
Not since reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace is Every Step have I been able to recommend a book of spiritual instruction so highly. I loved this book. It is appropriate for any spiritual seeker regardless of religious tradition, as Mr. Easwaran is conscientious about using inclusive language and making his meditation techniques accessible to all. Mr. Easwaran is well read in the religious scriptures of many traditions and recommends spiritual passages from writers as diverse as St. Teresa of Avila to the Buddha. I highly look forward to reading more of Mr. Easwaran's work.
I have spent the past twenty years trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to meditate. I have read countless books on the subject - by Lama Surya Das, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, by Pema Chodron...and I have attended classes and workshops - with Sharon Salzburg and many other wise and learned teachers. I have sat and sat, trying to focus on my breathing and rid my mind of the series of intrusive thoughts. And, after a while, I give up.
Passage Meditation, Eknath Easwaran's very clear and practical system of meditation, is the only method I have found which resonates with me on a very deep level. And, it is the only practice that I have found myself able to sustain over a long period of time. Easwaran, a former literature professor from Kerala, India, advocates a system of meditation and a spiritual path which includes the memorization of a passage for meditation and incorporating a mantram into everyday life. There are other practical instructions for daily living as well. This is a wonderful introduction to this system and, after reading this book, you may want to pick up Timeless Wisdom and The Mantram Handbook, before moving onto his other works.
Easwaran is no longer living, but he established a meditation and retreat center in Tomales, California, which carries on his work. I highly recommend this introduction to Passage Meditation. It is clear, concise and practical. And, if you are willing to commit to the practice, it may transform your life.
This is a superb way to get into a daily meditation practice. It works for a lot of us who have tried to practice through the years - and failed. Picking a short passage - Easwaran offers some good suggestions - and repeating it over and over again for 30 minutes sounds nuts, but it isn't. You not only memorize and get into your very bones a profound spiritual statement, but you also become aware of all that is going on inside of you - and learn that you are in charge of your thoughts. I have recommended this book to people close to me and those who have read it and tried it say it has changed their lives - as it has changed mine. BTW, although the author is Hindu, he is very knowledgeable about Christian spirituality and many of his suggested passages for meditation come from the Christian tradition.
For what this book is, it is top notch. I'm interested in religions, and mystical traditions in particular catch my fancy. I tend to bounce from one metaphysical point of view to another as my mind winds itself around different intellectual trends I ascertain in different traditions. That is precisely what I like about this book and the program it represents. It encourages you to read spiritual classics from the mystics of all different traditions, but the meditation itself is not too messy, metaphysically speaking. There are no complicated world views to grasp or integrate with other ideas.
The meditation itself -- passage meditation, in which you slowly repeat a memorized spiritual passage -- does not require you to believe that it is possible to completely extinguish your mind, and it does not require you to be married to one spiritual tradition. Rather, it very efficiently helps you to hone concentration and quiet mental chatter. Repeating a passage gives your mind something to hold on to, but that's not to say it is easy. (You should try it.)
For me personally, this approach gives me the space to read and explore different traditions, which I enjoy as an intellectual pursuit, but it also helps me get out of the way of my own mind and actually sit down and meditate every day. It has quickly yielded noticeable effects for me, and it is the sort of approach to meditation that I can see myself sticking with for a long time.
Highly recommended for people with an interest in meditation who are a little skeptical, or who have a hard time imagining a completely quiet mind.
I'm a big fan of Eknath's ideas and they have already started to influence my day to day life. Many of these influences will last for the rest of my life I would think.
As I've mentioned in other reviews, he has this bad habit of writing loads of books, most of which cover all 8 points of his "program" but in unequal amounts, which means you read a lot of waffle about one topic and very little about the other 7. I had been hoping for one book in which he concisely but thoroughly covers all his major ideas and I'm glad to say that this is it. If you've heard about this guy and want a quick initiation into his philosophy then this is an excellent book to read.
I am profiting from this book. I have begun to implement its practices, though imperfectly. Very useful. Though from as Eastern religions viewpoint, Eswaran deeply respects Christian beliefs and practices. A useful crossover book.
This is a simple, straight-forward book detailing steps to take to strengthen your meditation practice, focus, spirituality (in whatever form that takes), etc., and is definitely one to be revisited over and over to get the full impact. Some of it sounds like a bit of a kill-joy, or even potentially harmful in a knee-jerk reaction way, but only if it is taken to extremes which is not Easwaran's intent at all. At least, I don't believe it is. And there must be rigorous discipline practiced in order to gain control over our thoughts and to break free from habit and compulsion. Still, I don't know if I could get away from talking to people in the car, or listening to music while driving. Or listening to music/podcasts/audiobooks while I do things such as washing dishes or folding laundry - that time, according to Easwaran, should be spent repeating the mantram. It definitely makes it easy to see the obstacles that will pop up for you individually.
He pulls from many religions and spiritual backgrounds in order to make these teachings applicable to and attainable by all. And most of it is presented in a way that seems completely attainable with consistency and completely worth it. I just had a few things that hit a little close to home. As the scriptures say, "The wicked take the truth to be hard" - my weaknesses and vulnerabilities had light shined on them and the natural reaction is to shy away. But Easwaran (and all religious or spiritual leaders I have ever read or heard) all say that in order to progress we have to lean into those things, prod them, and remove/conquer/surpass them instead of hide away from them. And with the spotlight being showing these weaknesses very clearly, that first step of recognition is accomplished. So there's that. It's intimidating, but also alluring.
Ganz okay für den Einstieg in die Meditation, hilft Situationen im Leben aus einer anderen Sichtweise zu betrachten und mal einen Schritt zurück zu machen und runterzukommen. Nichts weltbewegendes, aber im letzten Kapitel nennt der Autor einige weitere Bücher und Schriften, die in die geistliche / mystische / buddhistische Welt eintauchen lassen.
I haven't read this sort of book in a while, though I used to read Alan Watts (who I would recommend) quite a bit. I picked up "Meditation" because one of my goals this year is to meditate more regularly.. Eknath Easwaran's book came recommended to me by a friend, and it was easy to find in the used bookstore as it was published back in 1978 and was something of a bestseller.
Neither Easwaran's "passage meditation," in which a person in meditation repeats a singular passage - he recommends beginning with the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, nor repeating a mantram (mantra) in non-meditation times resonated with me. But that doesn't mean this little book wasn't worth reading.
Easwaran has (I should say "had" since he "shed his body" in 1999) a very easy-going, jocular voice and is able to express spiritual principles in a very palatable way. Some of his eight-points are universal truths - slowing down, putting others first, training the senses... and he borrows from numerous spiritual traditions in expressing these.
For instance, he refers to a Sufi metaphor of three gates through which one's speech should pass before being spoken -
"Are these words true?" "Are these words necessary?" "Are these words kind?" (p.159)
I had heard this said before, but I never knew where it came from. "Meditation" is full of these sorts of simple guides for living more spiritually.
Anyone interested in meditation and open to exploring different ideas will benefit from and likely enjoy Eknath Easwaran's short book.
A must read for anyone looking for some self introspection. A good starting point to even trying to understand the meaning of Life. This book is truly LIFE CHANGING. Changed my perspective of looking at things. The 8 point method mentioned in the book including the mantra and one pointed mind is truly helpful for someone who’s trying to climb the blue mountain of this miracle called Life!
The best book on meditation I have read and the only one I experienced no struggle with. All of Easwaran's advice is sensible and easy to accept and follow. This book is not just a good read, it presents a good formula for successful living in a society such as the money-dominated, greed-driven, psychosis-laden consumerism that is our capitalist system.
Easy for most people to follow. Easy to read. Easy to practice. A MUST. An effective tool to: 1. Sharpen concentration, 2. release deep reserves of energy, 3. transform anger, 4. leave behind painful memories, 5. learn to love more fully and 5. dicover your unique contribution to life
Very similar to his book on Mantram, but the emphasis is on Passage Meditation technique and purpose. He covers the whole 8-points that go with it. It is easy to understand and seems like very good advice to go with the meditation. In most meditation techniques I've used focus on breath or on a word is used. This one focuses on a passage that has been memorized and is repeated slowly during the meditation period. This gives a similar practice of focusing the mind and when distracted coming back to the focus. I tried this meditation and it took more effort, but I found I was much less distracted than with observing breath. Again, this is only one part of the overall plan. It all fits together and does make a lot of sense. I wasn't sure about the mantram repetition, but lately I have found it very handy for stress management. I'm also finding the "slowing down" and "one-point focus" (not multi-tasking) is helping me actually get more done with less stress. This is probably the best of the three books I've read in covering everything well.
This book was amazing. I begun meditating again and was restless and had many questions about the practical matters of meditation. I remembered this book on my shelf and decided to pick it up. So grateful I did.
His keen insight to the practical and frequently asked questions made me feel a lot more prepared to face my own spiritual path. The explanations of how to mitigate distraction, move through troubles meditating and other practical applications are invaluable and one day i shall read it again; hopefully to find that his 8 principles have become habit in my life. They are as follows; 1) Meditation 2) Repetition of the mantra 3) slowing down 4) Giving one attention 5) training the senses 6) putting the welfare of others first 7) spiritual companionship 8) Reading from the scriptures and mystics of all traditions
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This was a reread (I think the third time). This was a book on a recommended reading list back in college. I’ve kept the book with me through the years. I’ve started reading and put it down countless times. During the 2020 shelter in place situation I picked it up again and may look to engage in the program. The program points out the many ways I’m not living in the present and how I allow myself to lose focus. But this is not done in a judgmental way but objectively. It’s easier for me to hear that way obviously. He refers to many different forms of spirituality which I like and I will look to continue my journey by reading some of his recommendations. He cautions that it may be easier to read of and gain knowledge than to actually do. This is definitely one of my issues.
Str. 32 - Prav zato je Buda na začetku Besed modrosti zapisal: "Misel vodi vse stvari, nisem jih rodi in oblikuje." Inn danes so ljudje, kljub vsej tehnologiji km znanosti, najbolj negotovi, ker razmišljajo o stvareh, ki jim ne morejo nuditi VARNOSTI, s si kljub temu vztrajno prizadevajo zanje.
str. 93 - Če želimo živeti svobodno, moramo imeti popoln nadzor nad svojimi mislimi. Za veliko večino ljudi je pretirano reči, da mislijo svoje misli - dejansko so namreč misli tiste, ki nas mislijo. Misli nam ukazujejo - in mi se jim nevede podrejamo.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
If you're wondering why it took me so long to read this book, let me explain: I actually first read/found it in the 90s. Then after many years, dug it out and settled into it again. I must have gotten the app and checked "Reading" because I was reading bits of it again. It's one of those books that you can read daily and you still get something out of it. It's simple knowledge that most mindful people already know but we do often the little things that make life better. It's a book about being mindful and taking care of yourself. Give it a try.
I wish I had encountered Easwaran when I was younger; his approach to spirituality and well-being, as well as his voice, is perhaps the most relatable and kindest I have found. He seems to be the rare soul that was both down-to-earth and yet also firmly grounded in the divine.
Excellent and simple intro to meditation... I will have to read it all again before I can absorb everything, but I feel hopeful about my ability to pull off what seems a very daunting enterprise.