A free public lecture “Meditation: Finding Inner Peace and Joy” will be held Friday, April 19 at the Washington D.C. Meditation Center of Self-Realization Fellowship from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. All are welcome!

Led by Brother Govindananda, a monk of Self-Realization Fellowship, founded in 1920 by renowned world teacher Paramahansa Yogananda, the event will offer an introduction to India’s timeless science of Yoga and how to use meditation to discover one’s greatest inner resources.

Learn more about the free public lecture and guided meditation

Brother Govindananda offers some insights on yoga meditation and its benefits:

How can meditation help me in my life? What are the practical benefits?

There are many practical benefits that come with regular meditation. Some of these benefits are felt right away — others unfold over time. One of the first benefits is a deepening sense of calmness, inner peace, and greater clarity.

Over time you may notice that your intuition — that sixth sense or inner knowing — improves, and then you’re off and running! Because that’s the source of making wise decisions. You can more easily and effectively handle the problems that arise in daily life.

Yogananda described these effects as an ability “to be calmly active and actively calm — a Prince of Peace sitting on the throne of poise, directing the kingdom of activity.”

Are there any other benefits?

Yes, many more. Meditation practice affects our relationships by helping to expand our awareness and our attitude toward ourselves and others. It awakens compassion. We come to see more clearly how we are all in this together. We become less self-centered and able to be more of service. It improves our ability to love and be loved.

Can meditation help me with my studies at school?

Yes, by improving concentration and focus. You also come to better understand how the mind operates, and how to make it work for you — in your schoolwork and in the broader work of building the life you want.

You may find that information or insights you need just conveniently pop into your mind, often in quite surprising ways!

Are there physical benefits?

Eventually, regular meditation affects the body, reducing anxiety and strengthening one’s life force, the source of health and vitality. Meditation helps to restore balance and harmony in body and mind.

Does meditation have a spiritual aspect? What can you tell us about that?

Yes, for us monks and probably for most members and friends of Self-Realization Fellowship, the sense of spiritual connection that meditation provides is the most important aspect. We don’t have to add anything to who we are to become “spiritual.” The process of meditation allows a direct experience of the blissful qualities that we already have within us. As a result of the clarity this awakens, our lives become full of purpose and joy.

With so much day-to-day activity going on and pressure from external factors, what is your advice to college students seeking to deepen their spirituality?

Meditation is key. Even with just five minutes of meditation a day, we can begin to feel an internal shift of awareness.

It’s also helpful to read spiritual books, especially the ones you’re naturally drawn to.

My first introduction to Yoga and meditation was through Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. I would recommend reading this book, for those interested in yoga and meditation. It is a rare personal account written by a great yogi about his encounter with other great yogis of India and offers a revelatory view into the wisdom of the East.

Why would you encourage people to explore meditation — and the teachings of Self–Realization Fellowship?

We are all facing so many challenges in today’s world! Meditation offers a practical tool for helping us get and stay grounded in the peace of our true nature. Yogananda taught a universal and scientific path, a complete system for accessing the wellspring of wisdom we all have within us. It is ancient and time-tested, and Yogananda’s approach is accessible and practical. It requires no special beliefs to practice.

What can people expect at the event “Meditation: Finding Inner Peace and Joy” on April 19?

Expect an immersive experience! The evening will include a one-hour talk that introduces key concepts of yoga science and provides a chance for everyone to connect directly with the peace within through a guided meditation.

Who is Paramahansa Yogananda? What is he known for?

Paramahansa Yogananda, who founded Self-Realization Fellowship, is considered a key pioneer in bringing yoga to the West — one of the first Indian swamis (monks) to come from India to America. Through his society Self-Realization Fellowship, and his many writings, including the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, he has introduced millions around the world to Eastern philosophy and yoga meditation.

Does Self-Realization Fellowship have a place in the D.C. area where people can come to meditate?

Yes, for those who want to establish a regular meditation practice, the Washington D.C. Meditation Center of Self-Realization Fellowship offers services and opportunities for meditation, volunteering, spiritual study, and fellowship. Currently, there are more than 600 SRF temples, meditation centers and/or retreats in more than 60 countries. The SRF website is also a great resource to learn more, including how to begin meditation.

Do you think people’s individual meditation practices have any effect on the world?

Yes, absolutely! Sometimes the news and social media can give us the impression that everything is chaos and overwhelming. But we can cultivate peace, love, and joy in our own lives and see for ourselves that it has an impact.

When we start with ourselves, we are making a real difference — and it does affect everyone around us. According to Yogananda, it’s the most important thing we can do in this life.

“What is important is self-reform: for if we ourselves have reformed” Paramahansa Yogananda said, “we shall reform thousands by our example.”

Learn more about the free public lecture and guided meditation

Email: washington.dc.srf@gmail.com; Telephone: 301-514-5792 or 718-902-4486.

For more information about Self-Realization Fellowship and the yoga teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, please visit yogananda.org