The Stillness of Meditation

Huston Smith, the 96 year old author of the classic work, The World’s Religions, is a practitioner of the discipline called Raj Yoga. He is generally considered an individual responsible for popularizing yoga to the west through his television program in the 1950s. The yoga best known in the United States is the primarily physical program called hatha yoga. There are a multitude of different kinds of yoga, including Jnana, Karma and Bhakti Yoga. By contrast Raj Yoga is a distinctly psychological kind of yoga practiced by Hindus and Buddhists, and an essential feature of it is meditation. Meditation essentially involves stilling the monkey-chatter of our minds, and its essential purpose is to put the individual into contact with the divine, which for practitioners would be the Brahman. Prayer, by contrast, essentially involves thought, which meditation strives to supplant. This stillness distinguishes prayer from meditation.

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