I am a police officer who took to meditation about five years back and ever since, I look forward to meeting people who have benefited from it.
On an official visit to Italy for a training course, we were located in a small but very beautiful city. One of the faculty members there surprised me by his knowledge of pranayama and his interest in meditation. He is a keen learner and wanted to absorb whatever little I knew about meditation.
He informed me that there was a dedicated group in that city that earnestly practiced meditation. During my stay, I attended a session with this group.
The meditation began with the mantra Om Namah Shivaye, sincerely chanted by about a hundred people, young and old, men and women. After that there was half an hour of silent meditation, followed by another chant of these five sacred syllables, and a brief recorded discourse from their guru. There was pin-drop silence in that half an hour of meditation.
Later on, I was told that they follow mantra meditation, which is meditating on the mantra given by the master. After the session when I showed my interest in meeting the master, I was told he had gone to India. I discovered that the master is a follower of the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharishi in Arunachalam, Tamil Nadu.
The master has hundreds of Italian followers. Many have themselves been to Arunachalam and consider the place the holiest of holies. One Italian lady told me that she has been meditating for more than 10 years and said, with a tinge of wistfulness, that others much younger had been in it for even longer than that. In effect, she regretted picking up meditation slightly late.
As to what motivates them to meditate, I was told that meditation has brought them peace of mind, happiness and the bliss that cannot be described but only experienced. I saluted the efforts of the master and the total dedication of the practitioners who follow this ancient spiritual path.