In Balanced Achievement’s ‘Quote 20’ series, we illuminate 20 quotes about a particular topic or 20 quotes said by a prominent individual, all of which are chosen with the hopes of increasing readers levels of inspiration and motivation. In this article, we bring our attention to the wise words of history’s greatest spiritual and scientific meditation teachers by exploring 20 meditation quotes.
Although the historical origins of meditation remain somewhat of a mystery, many scholars and archeologists believe that meditative practices were used some 5,000 years ago, predating recorded history, in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization of India. Less uncertain is the fact that the spiritual practice has been taught for hundreds of centuries by modest Buddhist monks and mystical Hindu sages who’ve aimed to show seekers how to deepen their understanding of themselves and cultivate their relationship with God. Although mediation is deeply rooted in the great Eastern spiritual traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, however, it’s only been within the past 50 to 100 years that it’s gained popularity in the West. Most recently, western psychologists and neuroscientists have begun studying meditation’s effects on health and are cautiously optimistic about the potential physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits attained by practitioners. Yet still, despite the fact that many questions about the history and science of the practice remain unanswered, one thing is clear: Throughout the nearly 5,000 years individuals have utilized meditation, spiritual seekers have become immersed by truly iconic teachers who’ve poetically and scientifically told us about the wondrous yet simple personal practice. When deciding on which 20 meditation quotes to illuminate here, it was for reasons such as these that we aimed to balanced wisdom-laced words of legendary Meditation Masters from Buddhism, Hinduism, and the West:
“Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them.” ~ Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
“Meditation can turn fools into sages but unfortunately fools never meditate.” ~ Swami Vivekananda
“Meditation gives you the wherewithal to pause, observe how easily the mind can exaggerate the severity of a setback, and resist getting drawn into the abyss.” ~ Richard Davidson
“For real happiness, for real lasting stable happiness, one has to make a journey deep within oneself and see that one gets rid of all the unhappiness and misery stored in the deeper levels of the mind.” ~ S.N. Goenka
“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” ~ Ramana Maharshi
“To meditate is to discover new possibilities, to awaken the capacities of us has to live more wisely, more lovingly, more compassionately, and more fully.” ~ Jack Kornfield
“Don’t think that only sitting with the eyes closed is practice. Steady practice is keeping mindful in every posture, whether sitting walking, standing or lying down. When coming out of sitting, don’t think that you’re coming out of meditation, but that you are only changing postures.” ~ Ajahn Chah
“Practice meditation. You’ll find that you are carrying within your heart a portable paradise.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“Watchfulness is the path of immortality:
Unwatchfulness is the path of death.
Those who are watchful never die:
Those who do not watch are already as dead.
Those who with a clear mind have seen this truth,
Those who are wise and ever watchful,
They feel the joy of watchfulness,
The joy of the path of the great.
And those who in high thought and in deep contemplation
With ever living power advance on the path,
They in the end reach Nirvana,
The peace supreme and infinite joy.” ~ The Buddha
“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in eternal awareness or pure consciousness without objectification. Knowing without thinking; merging finitude in infinity.” ~ Swami Sivananda
“Meditation is simply about being yourself and knowing something about who that is. It is about coming to realize that you are on a path whether you like it or not, namely, the path that is your life. Meditation may help us see that this path we call our life has direction; that it is always unfolding, moment by moment; and that what happens now, in this moment, influences what happens next.” ~ John Kabat-Zinn
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.” ~ Sogyal Rinpoche
“Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents.” ~ Annamalai Swami
“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there – buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.” ~ Deepak Chopra
“If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
“Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
“The you that goes in one side of the meditation experience is not the same you that comes out the other side.” ~ Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
“Meditation is a surrender, it is not a demand. It is not forcing existence your way, it is relaxing into the way existence wants you to be.” ~ Shree Rajneesh
“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.” ~ Sharon Salzberg