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Selections from Meditation: A Simple 8-Point Program for Translating Spiritual Ideals into Daily Life by Eknath Easwaran, founder and director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, copyright 1978, 1991. Reprinted by permission of Nilgiri Press, Tomales, California. All rights reserved.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Meditation will do for you what it has done for all who practice it regularly: enable you to steer your car expertly."

Eknath Easwaran, Meditation, Part 5

Everywhere there are a few people who will not accept this condition, who see it as a loss of freedom, a kind of bondage. My grandmother, my spiritual teacher, knew nothing about cars, but she understood the mind. When I would give tit-for-tat to others, wax angry because they were angry or standoffish because they stood off, she would say, "Son, when you act that way, you remind me of a rubber ball. Throw it against a wall and it has to come back." It took a while, but I finally resolved not to be a rubber ball in life.

At the outset I said that the spiritual life has nothing to do with the paranormal and the occult. But I do have one ability that seems to some people a kind of miracle, though it is simply a skill that anyone can develop through years of meditation: I can tell my mind what to do.

Where is the miracle? As Shakespeare's Hotspur would say, "Why, so can I, or so can any man. " Well, here it is: when I tell my mind what to do, it obeys. If a craving should arise for something my body does not need, I smile and say politely, "Please leave," and it leaves. If something big tries to move in - say, an angry thought - I don't bandy words; I say plainly, "Out!" It goes immediately.

Meditation will do for you what it has done for all who practice it regularly: enable you to steer your car expertly. If you want to stay in one lane and cruise, your mind will obey you. If you want to change lanes or turn right or left or even make a U-turn, your mind will respond. When your mind does that at command, you have mastered the art of living. You are no longer dependent on external circumstances; you can decide how you want to respond, whatever happens. If a friend acts thoughtlessly, for example, you don't have to dwell on it; you can fix your attention on the good in that person instead. If you begin to slide into depression, you simply change your mind - you have learned how - and restore your equanimity and cheerfulness. You can now think what you want to think, and every relationship, everything you do, benefits enormously.

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