|Language||English (orig.) & trans.: Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Korean, Lithuanian, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Telugu|
|Publisher||Nilgiri Press; others|
|1978 (original); 2016; others|
|Pages||237 (1978); 270 (2016)|
Passage Meditation is a book by Eknath Easwaran, originally published in 1978 with the title Meditation. The book describes a meditation program, also now commonly referred to as Passage Meditation. Easwaran developed this method of meditation in the 1960s, and first taught it systematically at the University of California, Berkeley.
The program is an eight-point program intended for the "spiritual growth" of the practitioner. The first step in the program involves meditating on a text passage, and since the 1990s the method as a whole has come to be known as "Passage Meditation" (not Easwaran's term). The book has been frequently reprinted and translated into 14 languages. It is reported that more than 200,000 copies were sold in the period of 1978 to 2001.
The first edition of the book had the full title Meditation; commonsense directions for an uncommon life (1978). A second edition in 1991 was subtitled a simple eight-point program for translating spiritual ideals into daily life, and a third, revised edition of the book was published posthumously as Passage Meditation; Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart Into Daily Life (2008).
A fourth, revised edition was published as Passage Meditation – A Complete Spiritual Practice: Train Your Mind and Find a Life that Fulfills (2016). The fourth edition included a new part, not contained in earlier editions, with approximately 80 pages of "Questions and Answers" to numerous questions about meditation (pp. 182–264).
All editions of Passage Meditation contain a chapter dedicated to each of the eight practices or "points" of Easwaran's method of meditation. Each edition also contains a preface by the author in which he explains how he discovered the passage meditation method.
Meditating on a passage is the first point in Easwaran's eight point program of Passage Meditation, and he recommends practicing it for 30 minutes each day on first rising. The other seven points are to be woven in at various times throughout the day or week. Each of the book's eight main chapters are dedicated to explaining one of the eight points:
- Meditation on a passage
- Repetition of a mantram (mantra, or prayer word)
- Slowing down
- One-pointed attention
- Training the senses
- Putting others first
- Spiritual fellowship
- Spiritual reading
|A series on the life and works of|
|Books on Meditation|
|Daily Readers + Reference|
Other works · Other influence|
— Image courtesy of —
Blue Mountain Center of Meditation
Meditation on a passage involves silent, focused repetition during meditation of memorized selections from scriptures of the world and writings of great mystics. According to Easwaran, the practice of meditating on a specific passage of text (Easwaran suggests the Prayer of Saint Francis or Psalm 23 as examples) has the effect of eventually transforming "character, conduct, and consciousness." The term passage is chosen to describe a spiritually-inspired text that one meditates on, during an extended period of time set aside for meditation, as compared to a mantram (or mantra). Easwaran collected an anthology of selections from the world's spiritual texts, God Makes the Rivers to Flow, for use in meditation.
Repetition of a mantram. Easwaran describes a mantram as a short, powerful spiritual formula which can be repeated, at any time during the day or night, to call up the best and deepest in ourselves, and help to slow down, to become more one-pointed, and to put others first.
Slowing Down is an important spiritual discipline. Living faster and faster gives no time for inner reflection or sensitivity to others, making our lives tense, insecure, inefficient, and superficial. Slowing down helps achieve freedom of action, good relations with others, health and vitality, calmness of mind, and the ability to grow.
One-pointed attention helps to unify consciousness and deepen concentration. Training the mind to give full attention to one thing at a time, whether it is in science or the arts or sports or a profession, is a basic requirement for achieving a goal.
Training the senses means freeing the mind from the tyranny of likes and dislikes so as to "live in freedom", "live intentionally"
Putting others first. Dwelling on ourselves builds a wall between ourselves and others. Those who keep thinking about their needs, their wants, their plans, their ideas, cannot help becoming lonely and insecure. As human beings, it is our nature to be part of a whole, to live in a context where personal relationships are supportive and close.
Spiritual Fellowship with people whose companionship is elevating, and working together for a selfless goal without expecting any reward or recognition, augment and enhance the individual's capacities.
Easwaran says that the eight points, though they may at first seem unrelated, are closely linked. "Quieting your mind in morning meditation, for instance, will help your efforts to slow down at work, and slowing down at work will, in turn, improve your meditation ... Unless you practice all of them, you cannot progress safely and far".
Questions and Answers
The fourth edition (published in 2016) also contains about 80 pages dedicated to answering numerous questions about how to practice the program.
Influence, research, use
Workers in professional fields, as well as writers of popular books, have cited or been influenced by the passage meditation program. Sometimes, the passage meditation program has been included among resources for complementary and alternative medicine.
Several empirical research studies have examined the effects on health professionals and college undergraduates from receiving training in the Passage Meditation (PM) program. Peer-reviewed research, published in professional psychology and health journals, has shown that following the passage meditation program reduces stress and increases confidence in tasks such as caregiving
These studies mostly used randomized methods. Like much recent research on meditation (e.g., on mindfulness meditation), research studies on Passage Meditation have neither postulated nor claimed to infer the operation of supernatural or other non-natural, non-psychological processes. Research on Passage Meditation through early 2007 was reviewed in chapter 6 of Spirit, science and health: How the spiritual mind fuels physical wellness.
In Neurology Now, published by the American Academy of Neurology, the article "Meditation as Medicine" states that various well-designed studies show that meditation can increase attention span, sharpen focus, improve memory, and dull the perception of pain, and lists Passage Meditation as a common meditation method.
In 2001, Publishers Weekly reported that the book Meditation (later republished in as Passage Meditation) had "sold more than 200,000 copies since its 1978 debut." English editions have been published in the US, the UK, and India. Non-English translations of the book have been published in Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Korean, Lithuanian, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Telugu, The four US editions are:
- Eknath Easwaran, Meditation: commonsense directions for an uncommon life, Nilgiri Press (1978), ISBN 978-0-915132-15-7 (237 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran, Meditation: a simple eight-point program for translating spiritual ideals into daily life, Nilgiri Press (2nd ed. 1991), ISBN 978-0-915132-66-9.
- Eknath Easwaran, Passage Meditation: Bringing the deep wisdom of the heart into daily life, Nilgiri Press (3rd revised ed. 2008), ISBN 978-1-58638-026-7 (233 pages).
- Easwaran, Eknath (2016). Passage meditation – A complete spiritual practice: Train your mind and find a life that fulfills (4th ed.). Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press. ISBN 978-1-58638-116-5. OCLC 950007677. (270 pages). e-book ISBN 978-1-58638-117-2, Audiobook ASIN B01KOZA8X4
English-language editions have been published in the United Kingdom by Taylor & Francis (1979, ISBN 978-0-7100-0344-7) and Penguin (1996, ISBN 978-0-14-019036-6), and in India by Jaico (2008, ISBN 978-81-7992-813-4).
- Екнатх Еасваран (2003). Медитация (Meditation) (Данчо Господинов [Yordan Gospodinov], trans.). Sofia, Bulgaria: Iztok Zapad Publishing House. ISBN 978-954-8945-74-5 (208 pages)
- Ai si hua lun [Easwaran] (2010). 沉思课 / Chen si ke (Meditation class) Archived 2014-08-08 at the Wayback Machine. (高天羽[Gao tian yu], trans.). [Changchun| [Chang chun]], China: 吉林出版集团有限责任公司 [Jilin Publishing Group]. ISBN 978-7-5463-2233-9, OCLC 678924223 (230 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (2004). Meditace: jednoduchý osmibodový program pro uplatnění duchovních ideálů v každodenním životě (Meditation: a simple eight-point program for the application of spiritual ideals in everyday life) (Marie Bednářová, trans.). Praha Prague], Czech Republic: Dobro. ISBN 978-80-86459-40-0, OCLC 85111484 (230 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1993). [Op de goede weg: meditatie in acht stappen (On track: meditation in eight steps)] (Peter Slob, trans.). Deventer, Netherlands: Ankh-Hermes. ISBN 978-90-202-8043-2, OCLC 66291149 (185 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1996). Méditation: un programme en huit points pour donner un sens à sa vie (Meditation: an eight-point program to give meaning to his life) (Marie-Annick Thabaud, trans.). Saint-Laurent, Québec, Canada: Bellarmin. ISBN 978-2-89007-788-1, OCLC 35935719 (236 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1991). So öffnet sich das Leben. Acht Schritte der Meditation (Will open your life. Eight Steps of Meditation) (Susan Johnson, trans.). Freiburg, Germany: Herder. ISBN 978-3-451-22323-5, OCLC 256198841 (217 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1998). Meditieren als Lebenskunst.: Acht Schritte zu innerer Harmonie und zur Entfaltung des eigenen Potentials (Meditation as the art of living. Eight Steps to inner harmony and to develop your own potential) (Susan Johnson, trans.). Freiburg, Germany: Herder. ISBN 978-3-451-04683-4, OCLC 67996981 (217 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (2009). Meditation: Das einfache 8-punkte-programm für Spiritualität im Alltag (Meditation: A simple eight-point program for spirituality in everyday life). (Peter Kobbe, trans.). Munchen [Munich], Germany: Goldmann. ISBN 978-3-442-21848-6, OCLC 301964827 (295 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1999). Meditáció: gyakorlati útmutató a Mindennapokra (Meditation: A practical guide for everyday) (Simone Avarosy Eve, trans.). Budapest, Hungary: Édesvíz (Freshwater). ISBN 978-963-528-327-9, (269 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (2003). 명상 의 기술 (Meditation) (Kim Sŏng-gyun, trans.). 강, Sŏul-si, Korea: Kang, 2003. ISBN 978-89-8218-059-0, OCLC 76837064 (270 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1999). Meditacija (Meditation) (Arvydas Pliučas, trans.). Vilnius, Lithuania: Alma littera. ISBN 978-9986-02-775-1 (236 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (2008). Opt paşi spre infinit (Eight Steps to Infinity)(Antoaneta Goţea, trans.). Braşov, Romania: Editura Kamala. ISBN 978-973-1837-10-9 (185 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1991). [медитация (Meditation)]. Moskva [Moscow], Russia: ZAO Skorpion.
- Eknath Easwaran (1999). Meditacija in še 7 stvari, ki vam lahko spremenijo življenje (Meditation and 7 things that can change your life) (Jasna Kamin, trans.). Ljubljana, Slovenia: DZS. ISBN 978-86-341-2289-3, OCLC 445092762 (184 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1995). Meditación: ocho puntos para transformar la vida (Meditation: eight points for transforming life) (Juan Andrés Iglesias, trans.). Barcelona, Spain: Herder. ISBN 978-84-254-1883-9, OCLC 37037689 (259 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1999). Meditación (Meditation) (María Emilia Negri Beltrán, trans.). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Atlantida. ISBN 978-950-08-2117-9, OCLC 644730507 (262 pages)
- Eknath Easwaran (1998). Dhyanam (Meditation)(Madhuranthakam Narendra, trans.). Chennai (?), India: Subashini Publishing. (196 pages) (printed in Channai, India, by Nagarjuna Printers)
- Tim Flinders & Carol Flinders (1989). The making of a teacher: Conversations with Eknath Easwaran (see article). Petaluma, CA: Nilgiri Press. ISBN 978-0-915132-54-6 (p. 148: "On the evening of Monday, January 3, 1968, 2000 LSB had standing room only for the several hundred Berkeley students who had registered for The Theory and Practice of Meditation (Religious Studies 138X, four units' credit; instructor, Eknath Easwaran). To anyone's knowledge, it was the first accredited course on meditation offered by any university in the United States - or, for that matter, in the world. ... For ten Monday nights, Easwaran sat atop the black veneer of the demonstration table and lectured on the ancient mystical teachings of the Indian spiritual tradition. Required texts included Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and Sidney Spencer's Mysticism in World Religion.")(quote viewable online)
- Yoga Journal: Yoga Luminaries http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/1192
- Easwaran (2008), Passage Meditation, p. 37. (see bibliography section)
- Eknath Easwaran (2008). The Mantram Handbook, Tomales, CA: Nilgiri, p. 12. ISBN 978-1-58638-028-1
- Easwaran (2008), The Mantram Handbook, p. 178.
- Easwaran (2008). Passage Meditation, p. 24.
- Monika M. Rodman, Passage Meditation: An Invitation to Drink Deeply of Scripture and the Saints' Great Prayers. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-06-21. (accessed 18 Oct 2009)
- AA Meditators, Passage Meditation & the Eleventh Step. (accessed 18 Oct 2009)
- Henri J. M. Nouwen (1992). Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World. New York: Crossroad. ISBN 0-8245-1184-0
- Thomas G. Plante (2009). Spiritual practices in psychotherapy: Thirteen tools for enhancing psychological health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 978-1-4338-0429-8. (NB: Plante cites the program as derived from Easwaran, 1978/1991; he also included a "case example" for application to psychotherapy practice)
- David Rakel & Nancy Faass (2006). Complementary medicine in clinical practice: Integrative practice in American healthcare. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. ISBN 978-0-7637-3065-9
- Diane Dreher (2008). Your personal renaissance. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-1-60094-001-9
- Doug Oman, John Hedberg, and Carl E. Thoresen (2006). "Passage meditation reduces perceived stress in health professionals: A randomized, controlled trial", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology [Washington, DC: American Psychological Association] v74 n4 pp 714–719 Aug 2006)
- Doug Oman, T. Anne Richards, John Hedberg, and Carl E. Thoresen (2008). "Passage Meditation Improves Caregiving Self-efficacy among Health Professionals", Journal of Health Psychology v14 n8 pp 1119–1135 Nov 2008.
- Tim Flinders, Doug Oman, and Carol Flinders (2007). The eight-point program of passage meditation: Health effects of a comprehensive program. In Thomas G. Plante, & Carl E. Thoresen (Eds.), Spirit, science and health: How the spiritual mind fuels physical wellness (pp. 72–93) (table of contents), Westport, CT: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-99506-5.
- Amy Paturel (2012). "Meditation as medicine". Neurology Now. American Academy of Neurology. 8 (4): 30–33. doi:10.1097/01.NNN.0000418730.21607.7d. ISSN 1553-3271. OCLC 56829386.
- Doug Oman, Tim Flinders, and Carl E. Thoresen (2008). "Integrating Spiritual Modeling Into Education: A College Course for Stress Management and Spiritual Growth", The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion v18 n2 pp 79–107 Apr 2008.
- Richard M. Lerner (2008). "Spirituality, Positive Purpose, Wisdom, and Positive Development in Adolescence: Comments on Oman, Flinders, and Thoresen's Ideas About 'Integrating Spiritual Modeling Into Education'", The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion v18 n2 pp 108–118 Apr 2008.
- Michael Kress (2001). "Meditation is the message." Publishers Weekly, v248 n13, pS11.
- Easwaran Teaches Passage Meditation (4-session video introduction)
- Blue Mountain Center of Meditation (BMCM) and Nilgiri Press
- Michael Nagler (2004). "Passage to meditation". Yoga Journal 200 (March/April 2004). (page view at Google books)