What I'm Gaining from Two Years of Full Time Meditation.
I am happy that you have chosen to explore the power of prayer, affirmation and meditation with me, today! The truth is, there is a dynamo of love-and-power deep inside of us that is just waiting to be activated. For 24 months now, I have been practicing Kriya Yoga Meditation full-time; I've also been working to produce two manuscripts and two websites, so I have been pretty busy. But I feel rewarded. Sharing simply and directly with others, I have found friends in many countries--and from all walks of life-- who are interested in growing with me, physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. The deeper our search, the more obvious it becomes that the many and varied approaches to self-mastery merge in the direct experience of meditative absorption. Practice makes perfect.
Right here, in the beginning, I want to pass on a couple simple tips I have found truly helpful. These are tricks I have gleaned from many thousands of hours of meditation practice, and careful study. The first is simple enough: know that what you seek is already within you! Even if you are seeking the full-blown bliss of Nirvana, trust the meditation masters who declare, with one voice, that you are already complete, and only need to align yourself with that divine light which is your true strength, and identity. The second tip; seek out the most direct meditation path you can find. Having found it, make a strong determination to practice every day. If you read this article in full, you will learn about several popular paths of meditation.The one I recommend above all others, Kriya Yoga Meditation, is the path I took up after carefully practicing all the major traditions.
Kriya is simple, and complete. Proceeding with an open mind and open heart, the meditator gains the confidence that the Source it has been seeking outside was always within. When I was seventeen, my guitar teacher gave me a copy of Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. Reading it carefully, I came to understand that the sky is the limit for souls seeking self-realization, or self-mastery: full communion with the Eternal. I was relieved to find that the sages of all the major traditions remind us that the true Self is immutable, and unlimited. Having enjoyed certain mystical experiences during daily practice, I became convinced not only that the soul is real, but that, being a pure reflection of Spirit, each unique soul is capable of achieving self-realization. Accelerated meditation techniques like Kriya Yoga allow the soul to merge into Spirit fully, without hesitation or fear, as our practice becomes sufficiently deep.
Today, there is a lot of resistance in the culture to the idea that we can know God--and become one with Him--but all true Masters have openly declared that this is true. Jesus put it very simply by reminding us: "abide in me and I will abide in you." According to the sages, the quickest way to the bliss and empowerment of self-realization is through deep, daily meditation. Our practice will become enjoyable to us if we remember three simple things.
First, we must learn to trust ourselves, knowing that we are soul: unlimited-and-individuated Spirit. Yogananda tells us that the soul is omnipotent! And the zen master Nisargadatta reminds, "you are already perfect, you are just looking for a way to express your perfection." Second, our soul-power is expressed through wise action. It is not enough just to think about our spiritual, mental and physical growth; we must act on our best and boldest ideas! Third, and finally, we must make a habit of deep daily meditation. This is the highest action we can take, for by it, we learn the secrets of the sages who not only intuited their oneness with Spirit, but learned to xpress it fully.
I took my first steps on the path of meditation in 1996 after a period of comparative religious study. Initially, my practice was very simple--perhaps even crude. Relying on pithy prayers and breath-work, I began to learn how to slow my thoughts down as I tuned my mind in to the frequency of divine grace, acceptance and love. Practicing a simple self-inquiry, often repeating a form of the Jesus Prayer ("Jesus, Mercy," etc.) I was able to make gradual, but meaningful, progress. After a few years like this, I signed up for a one-hundred hour Vipassana (Pali: "Insight") meditation course, and I learned a lot. For some years afterward, I took and helped to teach Vipassana courses. I also practiced centering prayer, zazen, and several forms of yogic meditation in the years that preceded, and followed my practice of Vipassana. Then, about a decade ago, I began to practice Kriya Yoga meditation, deeply. After years of practice in a number of popular traditions, I came to feel that not all meditations are created equal. In order to make the most rapid progress, I decided to specialize in Kriya Yoga, which I felt was the most advanced and yet practicable of all the methods I'd learned, and taught. I later discovered that Kriya was known and taught by Jesus to some of his advanced disciples.
Wether we call our Source God, Nirvana, Self, or by some other name matters little. If we are truly earnest, our Source will purify us and lead us to a practice that has the power to protect and perfect us. Practicing consistently and with great devotion, we will find complete satisfaction. Gradually, our minds will be purified and strengthened until they are able to sustain the shock of divine union, or samadhi.
For serious seekers, I only recommend three meditation processes out of the dozen I have practiced myself. First is Kriya Yoga. Second is self-inquiry. And Third is non-dual devotion. Practicing Kriya, the meditator will learn to master all three of the above practices. This is true because Kriya is a form of Raja Yoga, incorporating the essence of all major practices. Self-Realization Fellowship is the easiest way to learn Kriya. Their website contains a number of excellent videos offering free guided meditations for souls curious to learn more, at yogananda.org.
If you are interested in learning more about protection, peace, and even self-mastery through meditation, continue to check back here for new blog entries, videos and books. If you already have a devotional or meditation practice established, and are looking for a spiritual director, perhaps we can work together. I have found that one of the greatest stimulators to personal growth is maintaining regular contact with a trusted spiritual director.
To close, I'd like to say a few words about my own path, about what I've found in 24 months of all-day, every-day meditation--and about the liberated masters who are eager to comfort and guide us. When I heard the call to begin a life of full-time meditation, I felt very fortunate. I knew that the Lord was inviting me to meet him intimately. After a month of all-day practice, my heart became intoxicated with great joy. A new freedom came, and I began to realize that it is true what the sages say: we are designed from the inside to express bliss, which is our real nature. The path has not been without its challenges, but it has proven to be deeply rewarding. Tuning in each day through deep meditation, the soul comes to enjoy the grace and guidance of the saints and sages of all the traditions.
Sages who have finished the path and become permanently absorbed in the Heart, in God, know that any truly earnest seeker can accomplish what they have accomplished. Some sages have been kings. Others, paupers. Some were very ordinary people. Others were wonderworkers, levitators, healers and mystics of the highest order. But all liberated souls have sought Reality with a perfect devotion, and have found It because they desired That above all things. Seeking honestly, we too, will soon discover the path that leads to divine union, and perfect joy.
Let us make up our minds today, to follow the path of the Masters! It is well-lit, and well-trod. Through the scientific and devotional practices of affirmation, visualization, concentration and meditation we shall meet the Source that abides in the soul! "In God you will tap the Reservoir of perennial, unending bliss." Yogananda.
Grace, peace and joy to you!