Recently I was meditating and not doing a very good job of it. My mind was wandering, and no matter how often I tried to bring it back into focus, it quickly resumed its wanderings. Plus my body was, shall I say, “not interested” in sitting still. After quite a long time of frustrating reminders, I gave up trying and just sat quietly, looking at the pictures of the Masters on my altar. What a surprise when I realized that 30 minutes had gone by, my mind was calm and my breath was very shallow. It even stopped for a few minutes at a time. The thoughts that had been annoying me had receded into the background, and I felt peace at last.
Of course, I wondered what had happened that made it work. Here are some things I noticed:
When I gave up trying so hard I surrendered everything to God and the Masters. Doing this, I no longer was concerned with my likes and dislikes, but instead was willing to accept whatever they chose to give me. Reminder: Make the gurus your partners in your meditation and everything you do. When Swamiji once asked Yogananda if he was trying hard enough, Yogananda’s reply was “You’re trying too hard”. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re not the doer, that, in fact, all our power comes from God, through the Masters. By keeping my gaze focused on their images I invited their presence. The image of Yogananda in my mind lingered even after finishing my techniques.
I was reminded of earlier difficulties some years ago. Sometimes when I was calmer than usual I felt myself going deeper into my meditation. But, nearly every time this happened I shied away from it. Clearly, my ego was preventing me from relaxing into the deep state of awareness. I was afraid to let go of my “bundle of self-definitions”, as Yoganandaji called them. I told myself that just sitting in the silence wasn’t enough, that I also needed to be serving others. Somehow I thought that I was being selfish by continuing to sit, and that everything was “all about me”. But it’s only by allowing God and gurus into our hearts that we begin to expand our awareness and make real progress, along with being “spiritually useful” to others by sharing the grace of the Masters.
Swamiji once told us that while techniques are important and we should practice them regularly, he had come to realise that the essence of the spiritual path is self offering. Finally I understood that meditation can be a service in itself, especially if we pray for others, and ask the Masters to work through us.
As Swamiji said, “The whole secret of the spiritual path is to get the ego, and the attachments and desires that cling to it like barnacles, out of the way, and to receive into our souls the blessings of God. What the guru does for us is primarily on a level of consciousness. He works from within, on our thoughts and feelings. Our job above all, then, is to offer our hearts and minds up to him, that he may transform us. Gradually, his ego-less consciousness seeps into our ego-centered consciousness, and transforms us with new understanding of our own reality.”
Joy to you,
Nayaswami Sadhana Devi