For the Ask Roger column, Roger Gabriel, Chopra’s Chief Meditation Officer, answers questions from our community. If you have a general question for Roger around meditation and spiritual practices, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your question may be one he answers next.
In this article, Roger answers questions about people-pleasing, meeting your life partner, being comfortable and at ease in meditation, and more.
How do I break the chain of people-pleasing?
Well, it is certainly better to please people, rather than upset them. However, this should be a natural, effortless result of who you are and not something you have to work at. Be honest and true to yourself, live from your values, rather than what others expect from you. Look within, find the joy and bliss of your true self, and allow that to be expressed in your daily life. Then people will automatically be happy to be around you. Phillips Brooks said, “Be such a person and live such a life that if everyone were as you and every life was such as yours, this earth would be God’s paradise.”
How do you express yourself so plainly?
Keep it simple, have fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
How do you know when you’ve met your life partner?
One answer would be when you’ve been happily married to them for 73 years like Queen Elizabeth of England and Prince Philip. However, I assume you’d like to know before the wedding.
In India, it’s customary for a couple to visit an astrologer before making a final decision on marriage. The astrologer will look at both horoscopes to determine their compatibility.
When I’m faced with important questions, I sit quietly and imagine I’m asking the question at the level of my soul. I listen to any answers that arise but also, I observe how my body feels. The body is a very good indicator of what’s right for you. If it’s calm and comfortable then it’s telling you, yes, if there’s some feeling of discomfort, maybe you need to rethink. Trust your intuition or your gut feeling. Unlike the mind, the gut hasn’t learned self-doubt. I hope you meet the perfect partner.
Is there any meaning to the colors we see in meditation with our eyes closed?
Different colors vibrate at different frequencies and have different qualities. For example, green is generally associated with healing, violet with transformation, white and gold with higher consciousness. However, in meditation, colors or other images we see are simply visual thoughts and indications of the release of stress. Notice them, let them go, and return to your mantra. They aren’t necessary, don’t waste time analyzing them.
I have difficulty meditating, what can I do?
The answer depends on what the difficulty is. Make sure you’re comfortable where you’re sitting and in a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. Be gentle and effortless with the process, forcing or concentrating can cause us to feel uncomfortable. Meditation is the simplest thing you can do. Let go of expectations about the practice itself, the experiences we have during meditation are those the body needs at that time. Instead of judging the meditation, look for the results in the activity. Ask yourself, what can I do so my meditation isn’t difficult? And be patient.
How do I meditate without a guide?
While having someone guide us through a meditation can be useful in many ways, it’s not essential. In fact, when we are listening to someone guiding us, our awareness will always remain in the activity of the mind. The only guide we really need is the one we find inside, our inner guru. This is our true essence, the one who always knows what’s best for us. Using specific mantras such as Primordial Sound mantras or simply observing your breath will take you on the inward journey to reunite you with this person.
Could meditation mean resting or taking a break?
Meditation is the ultimate resting and taking a break. Meditation allows us to take a break from all the chaos and confusion of the world around us. It also gives us the opportunity to just rest in the state of Being. Remember we are human beings, not human doings. Take a break, rest in the silence of who you really are.
How do you feel comfortable in meditation?
Start with a comfortable seated position and know that it’s okay to move if you need to during the meditation. Repeat your mantra or observe your breath with the least amount of effort. If you’re associating the mantra with a meaning or another word, let that go and come back to the sound of the mantra. Don’t try to fix the rhythm, speed, or pronunciation of the mantra, as you progress to more refined levels, these will become more refined and naturally change. Meditation is a process of doing less to accomplish more, the less you do, the greater the rewards. Experiment and find what is comfortable for you.