Harmony is a precondition for peace, and peace opens the door to joy. All of us know this from our own experience. In matters of health or study, work or worship, harmony is what we strive to achieve. When harmony is lost, the result is stress and anxiety, pain and sorrow.
Concentration can be practiced on any object. In fact, in our daily life we are concentrating on something or other most of the time. This kind of concentration is more or less unconscious and is done under the compulsion of desires. True meditation differs from it in being a conscious process involving the detachment of the will from lower desires and its focussing at a higher center of consciousness.
Before we begin the study of different types of meditation it is necessary to keep in mind two important points. One is that meditation is not just ordinary concentration but a special type of internal concentration.
Knowledge originates in two ways. One is direct perception in which the senses receive energy from the external world. The other is memory, which is the result of the sprouting of samskaras or latent impressions of past experience lying buried in the mind. Just as a tape-recorder when played back reproduces the original sounds, so also latent impressions in the mind when activated recreate the original experience.
Meditation is the bridge that connects the lower mind with the higher mind. Through that the aspirant crosses over from the din and distractions of the sense-bound world to the world of stillness and silence, from the world of darkness to the world of everlasting light. All preliminary spiritual disciplines end in meditative awareness.