A Step-by-Step Guide to the Art & Science of Meditation
by Jyotish Novak
Originally this book was written to accompany a "How to Meditate" class series I taught. The students wanted a simple guide which reviewed the details of the meditation techniques they were learning. Because the book was meant only to supplement a much larger body of oral material, it was purposely kept very brief and succinct.
Over the years there has been a growing demand for this kind of short, practical guide to the art and science of meditation. While there is much to be gained by brevity, there is also something inevitably lost. I urge readers of this book to expand their understanding of meditation, and the philosophy of life from which it sprang, through further study and, more importantly, daily practice.
The material covered here is based primarily on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple Kriyananda, who is my teacher. Paramhansa Yogananda was one of the greatest yogis ever to teach in America. Coming to this country from India in 1920, he spent the next 32 years here writing many books and lessons, lecturing to hundreds of thousands of students, and training dedicated disciples. He took the deepest philosophy and the highest techniques of the ancient science of yoga and put them into a language and system uniquely suited to the modern Western mind. His book, Autobiography of a Yogi, is a spiritual classic which has inspired innumerable readers throughout the work and has been translated into dozens of languages.
Kriyananda became Yogananda's disciple in 1948 and lived with him until the great master's passing in 1952. Kriyananda has taught yoga and its related applications for over forty years and, at last count, has written nearly forty books on the subject, including The Path, which tells about his years with Paramhansa Yogananda. I cannot recommend highly enough the writings of these two great teachers. Their works are listed in the Resources section at the end of this book.
In 1968 Kriyananda founded the spiritual community Ananda Cooperative Village, which is a living laboratory for these teachings. Ananda, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, is commonly considered the most successful community of its kind in the world. It has over four hundred full-time residents, some eighty homes, its own school system, and many businesses. Ananda also includes five urban branch communities in the United States, a branch community near Assisi, Italy, and more than fifty meditation groups throughout the world.
I am a founding member of Ananda, and have lived and taught there since 1969. My wife and I serve, under Kriyananda, as the spiritual directors of Ananda. Over the last twenty years I have had the opportunity to teach, counsel, and form deep friendships with many hundreds of truth seekers. I have seen, first hand, the power of these teachings to transform lives.
I pray that this book can serve as a guide to this wonderful science. May your spiritual quest be filled with joy.
John (Jyotish) Novak