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Passage Meditation is a modern meditation program developed by spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, first taught systematically by him at the University of California, Berkeley.[1][2] The program is an eight-point program for the spiritual growth of the practitioner. The first step in the program involves meditating on a passage, and the method as a whole has come to be known as Passage Meditation. The program is described in a book entitled Meditation, subtitled 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, subtitled Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart Into Daily Life (2008).



Practiced for one-half hour daily on first arising, meditation on a passage is the first point in Easwaran’s eight point program of Passage Meditation for drawing spiritual ideals into every aspect of daily life:

  1. Meditation on a passage
  2. Repetition of a mantram (mantra, or prayer word)
  3. Slowing down
  4. One-pointed attention
  5. Training the senses
  6. Putting others first
  7. Spiritual fellowship
  8. Spiritual reading

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[3]) 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)

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,[4] and help to slow down, to become more one-pointed, and to put others first.[5]

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" [6].

Passage Meditation does not require adherence to any particular religion or belief. [7][8]

Influence, research, use

Workers in professional fields, as well as writers of popular books, have been influenced by the passage meditation program.[9][10]Sometimes, the passage meditation program has been included among resources for complementary and alternative medicine.[11][12]

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 psychologogy and health journals, has shown that following the passage meditation program reduces stress[13] and increases confidence in tasks such as caregiving[14]

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.[15] Research on Passage Meditation through early 2007 was reviewed in chapter 6 of Spirit, science and health: How the spiritual mind fuels physical wellness.[15]

Passage Meditation has sometimes been integrated into college curricula.[16][17]


In 2001, Publishers Weekly reported that the book Meditation (later republished in as Passage Meditation), which provides the fullest description of the Passage Meditation program, had "sold more than 200,000 copies since its 1978 debut."[18] It has been published in three US editions:

  • Eknath Easwaran, Meditation: commonsense directions for an uncommon life, Nilgiri Press (1978), ISBN 9780915132157.
    • reprinted in 1980, 1984, 1989 by Nilgiri Press, ISBN 9780915132164.
  • Eknath Easwaran, Meditation: a simple eight-point program for translating spiritual ideals into daily life, Nilgiri Press (2nd ed. 1991), ISBN 9780915132669.
  • Eknath Easwaran, Passage Meditation: Bringing the deep wisdom of the heart into daily life, Nilgiri Press (3rd revised ed. 2008), ISBN 1586380265.

Foreign (non-US) English-language editions have been published in the UK by Taylor & Francis (1979, ISBN 9780710003447) and Penguin (1996, ISBN 9780140190366); and in India by Jaico (2008, ISBN 9788179928134). Translations of the book into more than 10 foreign languages have also been published.[19]


  1. ^ Tim Flinders & Carol Flinders (1989). The making of a teacher: Conversations with Eknath Easwaran. Petaluma, CA: Nilgiri Press. ISBN 9780915132546 (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.")
  2. ^ Yoga Journal: Yoga Luminaries
  3. ^ Easwaran (2008), Passage Meditation, p. 37. (see bibliography section)
  4. ^ Eknath Easwaran (2008). The Mantram Handbook, Tomales, CA: Nilgiri, p. 12. ISBN 9781586380281
  5. ^ Easwaran (2008), The Mantram Handbook, p. 178.
  6. ^ Easwaran (2008). Passage Meditation, p. 24.
  7. ^ Monika M. Rodman, Passage Meditation: An Invitation to Drink Deeply of Scripture and the Saints’ Great Prayers. (accessed 18 Oct 2009)
  8. ^ AA Meditators, Passage Meditation & the Eleventh Step.[1] (accessed 18 Oct 2009)
  9. ^ Henri J. M. Nouwen (1992). Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World. New York: Crossroad. ISBN 0824511840
  10. ^ Thomas G. Plante (2009). Spiritual practices in psychotherapy: Thirteen tools for enhancing psychological health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN 9781433804298. (NB: Plante cites the program as derived from Easwaran, 1978/1991; he also included a "case example" for application to psychotherapy practice)
  11. ^ David Rakel & Nancy Faass (2006). Complementary medicine in clinical practice: Integrative practice in American healthcare. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. ISBN 0763730653
  12. ^ Diane Dreher (2008). Your personal renaissance. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 1600940013
  13. ^ 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 pp714-719 Aug 2006)
  14. ^ 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 pp1119-1135 Nov 2008.
  15. ^ a b 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
  16. ^ 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 pp79-107 Apr 2008.
  17. ^ 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 pp108-118 Apr 2008.
  18. ^ Michael Kress (2001). "Meditation is the message." Publishers Weekly, v248 n13, pS11.
  19. ^ Foreign editions of Nilgiri Press Books,, accessed 9 Nov 2009.

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