Introduction: Getting Started

For over forty years, Eknath Easwaran taught his method of passage meditation to small gatherings of eager students in northern California, where his Blue Mountain Center of Meditation is located. In the weekly “Tuesday class” as we called it, Easwaran gave practical instructions. The class always ended with half an hour of meditation. Throughout the next week, we all did our best to meditate each morning. When it was time for class the following Tuesday, Easwaran’s practical tips would add further instruction and inspiration.

Luckily, those classes were recorded. In the course you are about to begin, Eknath Easwaran will teach you directly – through his videotaped talks – just as he taught the generations of students before you.

This is a self-paced course. Feel free to explore each session at your own speed, and refer back to the course as frequently as you find helpful. We developed it originally as a four-week course, with the idea that you would be trying out passage meditation each day during the week. You may want to think of each session as at least one week’s worth of materials. For example, you might review all the materials for Session 1 in one sitting and then practice what you have absorbed for the next few days. Or you might go back to the session several times during the week, to support your effort to develop a daily practice of passage meditation.

The material in each session should take about an hour for you to absorb. In each one, you’ll find a couple of short talks by Easwaran, some additional tips and resources, and questions for you to reflect on. After your first session, set aside half an hour each day for meditation, preferably first thing in the morning.

But what if you miss a day of meditation? Don’t worry about it at all, just start again the next day. Every day holds new opportunity.

If you find this practice appealing, we encourage you to try passage meditation for at least 30 days, so you can get a real taste of what it can offer. Then, you will also be able to join one of our fellowship groups around the world (which we call a Satsang) or our online fellowship group, called eSatsang. We’ll tell you more about this at the end of the course.

Would you like a preview of what’s ahead? Here is an excerpt from the introduction to Easwaran’s book, Passage Meditation, which offers a glimpse of the great adventure on which you are embarking:

When the Compassionate Buddha began teaching meditation in ancient India twenty-five hundred years ago, little people like me, dazzled by the radiance of his personality, would gather around him and ask, “What are you? Are you a god?” The Buddha would smile and say no.

“Are you an angel?”


“Are you a prophet?”


“What are you, then?”

And the Buddha would answer simply, “I am awake” – the literal translation of the word buddha, from a Sanskrit root meaning to wake up.

This is the promise of meditation: to enable us to wake up into our full human potential.

Compared to the immense capacity for spiritual awareness latent in the human being, the great majority of us can almost be said to be living in our sleep – dreaming that if only we could have a million dollars, win the Nobel Prize, get our portrait on the cover of Time, or marry the screen star of the day, we would be happy. This is like chasing the horizon, because happiness does not lie outside us. It can only be found within – a most elusive realm which the modern world, with its overwhelming emphasis on sensory experience, has effectively hidden from our view.

In every age, East and West, daring men and women have made this stupendous discovery and told us how we can follow them. At first the challenge may not make sense, but when we think it over, we recall how many times we managed to get what we wanted and found that fulfillment had somehow slipped through our fingers. Gradually, a little voice inside us whispers, “Do you suppose...? Perhaps what I am looking for really does lie within – in my own heart.”

Once this suspicion arises, your spiritual journey has begun. You have your ticket; now all you need do is board the train. That is what meditation is for.

Ready for this journey? Then let’s get started with Session 1.