What Can I Expect From Meditation?
This is meant to inspire those who are not sure about the benefits of meditation. It might be that you’ve tried it before, and it felt unproductive, or there were issues with getting the mind to settle.
This instruction is not meant for those who have had severe trauma, especially over many years, and one I can attest to that makes meditation a negative practice, in those circumstances. The psyche is too fragile in those situations, and it is better to stick with karma yoga alone.
My definition of karma yoga is all our daily actions that don’t involve sleep or meditation. This means getting up in the morning, going to work, and doing the necessities that sustain life. This is difficult for someone who has been traumatized and, in those cases, meditation will not help.
In this condition, a person can begin the healing process by taking long walks. The importance of making the body move is essential and cannot be overstated. Once the body stops moving, the mind relives the trauma over and over and only adds to the suffering.
During those walks, a person can focus on their surroundings that are not limited to what’s going on in the mind. It is most difficult if the trauma has been going on for many years and requires a longer healing process. The best action then is to simply move. Keep moving the body until the mind finds relief.
Through this process of constant movement, the mind will eventually calm down. At this point, which might not be a quick recovery depending on the trauma, a person can begin to work through anger, regrets, and sadness. Like mine, it may be a few steps forward and then a few steps back.
Mine lasted nearly twenty years with working long hours and constant movement. I’ve worked through most of these emotions and more, though the memories remain.
Now, when I glance back at the past, there’s more of a sense of detachment and I see the Lord saying, “All things work together for the good,” and I rejoice that somehow, like Moses, I (we) made it through the forty years in the wilderness.
Eventually, I was able to meditate so for those who are able, it will transform the mind like karma yoga alone cannot do in a much shorter period. The benefits of karma yoga are noticeable in a person’s life but takes more years of effort.
Karma yoga focuses on the outward or day-to-day living and raja yoga, or meditation, works from the inside out.
Everyone who begins the practice of meditation does so with bright hopes because no one really knows their spiritual stature until they’ve meditated. They either enter into wild and exciting spiritual states or have more mundane experiences, though still a far cry above the normal materially oriented mindset.
Children should not meditate at a young age. If a child is very eager, then introduce them to the practice of japam, repetition of the Lord’s Name in the silence of the mind and the depths of the heart, and however often they wish.
Meditation is a more serious and powerful discipline, and childhood is not a time for seriousness, but for play, learning, discovery, and fun. The earliest a child should meditate is age twelve if he or she is highly spiritually inclined, and then only fifteen to twenty minutes a day, with no real attempt to meditate daily.
Sixteen is the time when serious aspirants will want to begin meditating for a half hour every morning, perhaps on the “sweet sixteen” birthday, and for many, this will be sufficient for a lifetime practice.
Childhood is a time when the senses grow along with the body which is turned outward and is the natural and necessary progression of life.
This process should not be interfered with, though at age sixteen a person is ready to begin facing the reality of physical mortality, and the pursuit of going beyond death. At this age, a person is sufficiently developed physically and emotionally to begin the eternal quest for God-realization for another lifetime of happy striving.
Beginning the practice of meditation, all will feel very similar, since it is necessary to turn the senses inward into the spiritual depths and confront the monsters and demons that lie in the unconscious mind.
During meditation, these are transformed into “butterflies and eagles.” Until that time all live with the senses turned outward.
Spiritual people will have deep feelings of reverence toward God, the hopefulness of an immortal destiny, and excitement about transcending the base material point of view about life, which they may have noticed at odd moments during childhood.
These will be people excited to begin serious spiritual work at age sixteen, and much more numerous than we might think, even given the apparent lack of practical spiritual disciplines in the world today.
The actual experience of meditation will be the same for everyone for the first few days, weeks, and sometimes months as the soul recapitulates each stage of sadhana. They pass through pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana until they reach the place of their accumulated progress.
Those who have large spiritual legacies, and have meditated sincerely and enthusiastically for many lifetimes, will begin to have “stilling thoughts,” upon entering dhyana, while those in dharana will remain at this pinnacle to continue the growth process.
All those truly in dhyana will have less difficulty motivating themselves to meditate. Their hearts become warm, for they are tasting the spiritual effects and real sweetness that meditation brings.
Those in dharana will need extra help and motivation since their practice is more difficult to sustain. There are reports of “dryness” in meditation or prayer, loss of motivation, feelings of doubt, and uncertainty since the changes are too subtle for them to see occurring in their consciousness.
Dhyana, too, should think in terms of more than one lifetime, though they are able to feel the joy ascending so quickly that the reward is worth the wait.
It is wrong to promise enlightenment, or outlandish spiritual experiences, to people. It cheapens the goal and de-emphasizes the real Way to obtain these experiences.
Enlightenment is the day-to-day work, without ceasing, in every life leading to the ultimate one. It’s the experiences of ecstatic bliss that those meditating at ashrams or temples of competent teachers taste on a frequent basis.
Dharana is higher than pratyahara, more committed to daily meditation, and likely to a single guru or teacher. How do you learn to taste the sweetness that is available at this stage, which will ensure that meditation contributes to joy, instead of drudgery?
I will give you perhaps the greatest spiritual secret of all: Spiritual disciplines are intended to be Joy Generators, for all who practice them!
What this means practically is that there is tremendous room for everyone to keep working on an optimal inner technique, one that supplies joy and does not become mundane and commonplace.
The first and most fundamental benefit of meditation for everyone is an increase in the base level of joyousness, underlying a person’s life. Even if meditating feels like drudgery, it is still better than not practicing.
By making it a living practice, a person comes to know themselves better and better until the knowing becomes a fountain of joy, as the senses turn inward.
The first fruit of daily meditation is happiness in daily living. All receive this in pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana, and commensurate with the consistency and intensity of their efforts.
This happiness sprouts from several real sources within the being apart from meditation itself.
First, meditation gives life context into eternity. We begin to understand that we are a soul, created long ago and on the way to enlightenment and astral ascension.
The soul stops thinking in terms of a single life and stops identifying with the body so much. Everything starts to make sense, and a feeling of having a real purpose, and a meaningful existence.
Second is the control over the thinking process, which means we no longer merely react to life but gain a portion of venerability and wisdom. It allows us to step back from situations and understand their spiritual underpinnings before acting.
The clutter of the mind slowly reduces which is noticeable. It is most obvious to those who keep a spiritual diary or life journal. With less clutter, our thinking is clearer, and the heart is more peaceful: happiness ascends!
Third, attachment to material objects lessens, which is one of the greatest sources of human misery.
Those who are attached to objects are always thinking about things, never stepping back, and turning inward, which is inherently unsatisfying and denies the fundamental reality of being, which is non-material in nature.
Fourth is control over a person’s total life situation, without letting life control them. Through spiritual practices, a system is available that ensures the attention is always on what is most important and significant in terms of spiritual growth, hence happiness.
Fifth, the earnest meditator gets smarter, with better memory, more practical wisdom, and an ability to relate the facts they know in an overall spiritual view of their life.
Sixth, relationships improve, as one becomes less quarrelsome, understanding that bickering reduces happiness. Free of materialism, they become capable of deeper and more abiding love, which is itself a very sweet experience.
Seventh, our creativity is enhanced. It is better to never stop meditating to write down ideas, for they will come and will still be there at the end of a session to dwell on and write down later.
If you are an artist, your skills will improve as will your ability to perceive and express the spiritual, underlying beauty of situations in painting, music, sculpture, or carving.
Eighth, oddly enough the experiences of pleasure will also be heightened, because as you grow less tangled in the sense world, the senses operate as they were intended to operate, in freedom and sweetness.
Do not pursue pleasure as an end, for it is a dead end. Meditators truly have the best of both worlds, the highest sensory appreciation, and the deepest spiritual awareness.
Ninth, we find ourselves gaining a sense of our spiritual weight, i.e. that we couldn’t have been created in a single life, but must have been alive before, and hence, will be alive again.
The fear of death will lessen, though it won’t disappear entirely until enlightenment, and the sheer awareness that is gained at times may become almost overwhelming.
Tenth, summing up all these points, there will be an increasing sense of leading an optimal life or “la vida loca,” a life wild with energy, fun, power, goodness, and wisdom.
You will discover that the power to meditate is a native power of the soul, like breathing or eating. Just like breathing and eating, you feel so much better when you do than when you don’t!
We were “born to meditate,” because of the Creator’s dispensation in this regard. The path to discovering the awesome wonder that is the core of the personality is meant to be strewn with the flowers of happiness and the birds of joy, all along the way and the whole way to samadhi!
If sitting down to meditate for the first time, what can you expect? Some gurus and teachers will say that you shouldn’t begin meditating without finding a teacher first, but this is nonsense and based on their remaining egoism, hoping you pick them.
A guru is non-essential for spiritual growth, although good instructions, through written form, are indeed very helpful and almost indispensable.
Even if no one had ever attained enlightenment before, or teachers didn’t return, or if no spiritual instruction were available anywhere, all people would continue to go forward to enlightenment, and some would still attain it.
Spiritual instruction increases the rate of this process, and very significantly, as people make their efforts in the light instead of in the dark, directing their steps optimally instead of sub-optimally, and avoiding hell easily.
You don’t need a guru to begin meditating, but you do need instructions!
Unless the choice is totally obvious, make the first six months to a year of practice an experience of trying different meditation methods to see which one is most suited to your personality, and more effective in terms of granting joy to your heart, and order to your mind and life, and freedom.
In my humble opinion, visits to a guru are essentially wasted if one hasn’t already been practicing meditation for a year or two, without a guru.
There needs to be some experience of “inner engineering” before we can appreciate how such a master can help with any specific difficulties we may be having.
Workers in the inner fields of the Lord are the real spiritual aspirants, and the scene around a guru is really one of a supreme master of the trade, and novices.
It isn’t a show for entertainment, but a very practical setting intended to disseminate greater wisdom to hungry and eager lesser minds, who wish to become greater.
A guru or teacher works on a higher plane, but his students are also workers, beside him.
Please don’t feel the need to be with a guru constantly, to make optimal spiritual progress. This is a falsehood introduced by the teachers who are insecure, and feel they need attention to add to their very real greatness.
I would recommend everyone to visit a bona fide guru once or twice during their lifetime, however, which will become a holy pilgrimage that fills the spirit with fire and enthusiasm for the spiritual quest.
It is important to see the goal of life personified, at least once or twice if you are excited about spirituality. Meditation every single day is the key to safe and secure progress.
When sitting down to meditate for the first time, realize that it can be an optimal experience for you, whether you have met a guru or not!
Sadhana is all about what you do, by yourself and for yourself, working upon yourself to transform yourself into a spiritual powerhouse!
Meeting such powerhouses will help one to visualize the goal, and may solidify the efforts, but in many people, the spiritual longing will be intense enough without a guru, based on spiritual literature, where one finds descriptions of the Lord’s Personality and the saints, etc.
The first meditation will induce changes in the personality, though they will be subtle and difficult to discern at first. Everyone should keep a spiritual diary or life journal, to track the changes that occur over time as objectively as possible.
Reading this will become a source of great comfort and delight in the older years, as you come closer to the end of life, reflecting on the good things accomplished and the real progress you have made.
Some people will want to write in their journal every single day, perhaps generating many volumes over a lifetime. Others will only want to write when they are in the mood, as they go through major events or have significant spiritual experiences.
It is a purely personal matter, but the goal is to watch the mind carefully, to see the effect of meditation upon it over longer periods of time.
The very first day, you will notice a sense of relaxation, as your Atman reassures you of the veracity of this truth. Those who meditate at least a half hour every day fix the time of their enlightenment to a specific date, that does not continue to recede into the future as when meditation is ignored.
If you are more aggressive, meditating longer, or growing enthusiastic in japam or selfless work, you can shorten the time to enlightenment, but may find that just fixing the time, will be enough for complete joyfulness.
There will be a sense of rightness, as though you are doing what you were meant to do. You will also have a feeling of having found a real purpose to life and one that transcends this single lifetime, and takes you beyond death’s forbidding doorway, once and for all.
This sense of reality takes a while to develop fully, but it is this which you find to be the “coolest” thing of all because you are no longer just floating through life as a victim of the material world.
You become a substantive entity, swimming against the current conditioning, and really becoming mighty and venerable in your inner nature, which benefits not just one life but all lives for infinity.
The three advantages of meditation are relaxation, rightness, and real purpose and will come on the very first day of meditation. They will never leave as you continue meditating every single day for at least half an hour, without fail even (especially) when sick, tired, or lacking enthusiasm.
Meditation always improves where we are, in terms of mental stability, equanimity, and joyousness. People may find it dry because they aren’t comparing the before- and after-states.
Meditation will even help alleviate symptoms when sick. It sends peace and helps heal the body. When tired, it helps attain more energy and enthusiasm for living!
Meditation is a native power of the soul, and like any muscle, it becomes stronger with practice. Very powerful meditators seldom have problems with dryness and lack of motivation, because their “meditation muscle” is strong, and their technique is perfected.
Meditation is not dissimilar in some ways to digging a well and finding living water. This living water is the divine in you, which is ever-fresh, ever-new, and ever-exciting.
The Atman lives in perpetual awareness of the miracle that is life, and it has access to avenues of cosmic consciousness, which are like “eternal peak experiences.”
This is how spiritual teachers are easily able to forgo the common pursuits for pleasure in which all others seem to engage, and function as the spiritual support of all those around them at the same time.
They live in the house of eternal joy and everlasting bliss, never dreaming again that anything that is outside of them in the external world could add anything to the vast inner storehouse of spiritual riches they have discovered.
If you knew the richness of the goal, then you would never miss a single meditation period, which the ancient Hindu scriptures say is critically important. When you haven’t tasted immortal bliss, you need help to keep your meditation practice constant and consistent, never missing your half-hour every single day.
If you miss in the morning, you could sneak in a half hour later in the day and still be fine. Also, if you meditate weekly with a satsang group, you can reduce the time to twenty minutes that day, making up in intensity what you miss in time.
Just as there are small positive signs when we meditate every single day, there are small negative signs when we miss. Noticing these signs may help you with consistency, which is of the utmost importance for serious practitioners.
Those in deep dhyana, nearing samadhi never miss a single period of meditation for it is as important to them as breathing. The rewards are so great and obvious that there is no option of missing this inner activity, which is wondrous, ecstatic, and glorious.
Meditation is like a security blanket for mature people. Children carry these around and feel secure when they are going to sleep.
Adults can carry daily meditation around with them and feel secure and especially near the end of life. Going beyond death is perhaps the most important fruit of enlightenment, and one you first smell, then begin to taste, as your meditation deepens.
Meditation is really the Power the Creator has given to each of us to optimize life, speeding our path to enlightenment and eternal joy. When we exercise this spiritual power, we find we are the happiest of all!
Unused, sorrow increases as the Atman looks around in every direction, saying “How can I get my soul to begin searching for me earnestly? I, the divine, and real Self, am waiting inside, but you aren’t even looking for me!”
When we miss a meditation period, therefore, the first thing we will notice is a pang of insecurity, as though we have somehow missed something that was terribly important, something vital, something that is now gone forever…
This is a good sign, not a bad one because it means we are receptive to the Atman’s inner call. The pang of insecurity is somewhat disproportionate to the real situation.
If we stop meditating entirely, the Atman gives up and enters other modes of trying to get us to go forward, such as prompting us to selflessness and devotion to the duty of raising our families.
We are still losing a great amount, by not meditating, but the Atman at some point decides that the pangs of insecurity become counterproductive. This is why those who give up meditation completely enter a kind of numbness, feeling a little discontent but not much and going through life in a “normal” fashion (according to the world’s standards).
So, the first day we miss we will feel a great pang of insecurity, proportional to our sensitivity to the Atman, which is one of the ways that those in deep dhyana are prompted to begin meditating, and enabled to continue doing so most enthusiastically, their entire lives.
If we continue missing meditation periods these pangs of insecurity will lessen, which is not a sign of the right decision, but that the Atman is moving its inspirational resources into other areas of life, trying desperately to somehow encourage the soul to go forward towards the supreme goal of samadhi.
Along with insecurity, if we miss a meditation period after having engaged in the practice for some extended time, we will notice a deadening of experience. Life will begin to lose some of its luster and freshness, a phenomenon that is easy for the advanced to recognize.
The soul falls a little more under the sway of the ego, being trapped in its concrete views of reality, falling into its dark land of stultified bondage. Creativity in solving daily problems begins to lose its sharpness.
The thinking isn’t as clear as the day before when we meditated. Inner happiness decreases, though we might not quite be able to discern the source.
Perhaps most interesting of all, our sensory experience will lose some of its depth. Foods will not taste as delicious, sights and sounds will not seem so pleasing, etc.
The optimal condition for the soul is with sails set, plowing into the sea of decreasing egoism, which is crossing the ocean of existence, and headed towards union with the Self on the other side.
If not, the soul isn’t growing, and the failure of growth means the failure of joy, the diminishing of the personality, a decrease in the skill of living, and a slow loss of the fresh experience of existence.
Religion is not repression, but fulfillment. It’s in asserting oneself against selfishness, that’s achieved optimally through meditation. You become the Glorious Conqueror of Evil and the All-Powerful One, within your own mind and life!
In refraining from meditation, we are not becoming venerable and mighty within spirit. The one who doesn’t becomes a miscellaneous, craven, unfocused, irresolute, aimless, and vacant character, with experiences of all kinds of various forms of misery and personal grief.
We are meant to become godlike, and until we make efforts in this direction, optimal happiness will not be ours. There won’t be an optimal command of the faculties, optimal creativity and wisdom, optimal inner strength, optimal awareness, and even optimal sensory experience.
Meditation is the most powerful spiritual tool for becoming a mighty spiritual entity. This means complete command of thinking and deep creative wisdom. It’s unfailing security even in the face of the worst of foes and even death.
There’s a tremendous increase in mental energy and alertness, as well as a gradual increase of ecstatic bliss, which arises in coruscating waves from the divine Atman within.
A teacher of meditation is like one who rides around the neighborhood selling ice cream. The children who have tasted ice cream come running eagerly, knowing what treats to expect, while those who haven’t keep their distance.
Meditation becomes a self-perpetuating phenomenon within a person’s consciousness, the closer he or she comes to Self-realization. At a distance from the Self, it doesn’t feel like it will be that great. Grow near to Self and the excitement is tremendous!
It’s like going mad with desire for it! Before this time, one is thinking, “Yeah, being godlike sounds alright, I suppose I should try it since I’m not doing anything better with my life.”
After the experience of savikalpa samadhi, which is “the taste,” one will have experienced godhood; and after this, the desires become completely unified. One understands at last what the phrase “supreme goal of life” means.
It is one thing to think about immortality, and quite another to experience it, even briefly as occurs in savikalpa samadhi. St. Augustine went through savikalpa samadhi, and most likely later became one of the world’s current Illuminati.
The gurus may tell you about divine madness, and if they are wise, they will help you to traverse this dangerous realm safely.
It isn’t necessary to speak of divine madness in an essay describing meditation’s immediate benefits, but the meditator should feel secure, knowing that this wisdom now exists in the world, to help through difficulties that may loom ahead.
The danger in divine madness is the longing for Self-realization that takes over the entire mind, and a person may fall victim to the egoic forces in the world who do not comprehend this vulnerable state and will attempt to victimize in selfish ways.
There are two doctrines in which to cling to avoid all trouble. The first is the “Golden Doctrine,” and is Trust No One, by which I mean not that you shouldn’t trust others with common, everyday matters, but that you should trust no one with your life, not even your teacher or guru.
Always remember that other people do not have the same inner experience, so betrayal is always a possibility. if not betrayal, then negligence in perceived responsibility.
The second doctrine, which I call the “Silver Doctrine,” is Obey Common Sense. In a world based on currency exchange, everyone needs money, and so obtaining an adequately remunerative position is a spiritual discipline; all things in accord with reality are spiritual, springing from the Atman’s wisdom.
You need a job, and you need to curb excessive behaviors, which arise during divine madness so that others do not come to feel that you may be losing your mind.
For instance, Ramakrishna used to dance around like a monkey, emulating Hanuman, when He was in divine madness. To Him, this seemed like a good spiritual discipline, but the others around Him accused Him of insanity on this account…
Now, there are reasonable limits to behavior; but always remember it is time to stop when people begin to openly question your sanity.
These two doctrines are meant to be a shield by which advanced sadhus may safely traverse the stage of divine madness, and their developing wisdom will allow them to see this truth.
It’s their tremendous longing for God-realization and their increasing level of self-purification that makes it difficult to see that real evil still exists in the world around them.
Advanced aspirants lose the pattern within themselves which is necessary to recognize the evil that is without, and they are not close enough to the Atman to take advantage of its superior awareness.
In today’s world, for instance, one could include the “peaceniks” in this category, and particularly when they begin to practice meditation and start to experience intense longings for God (which is totally fulfilling), they enter danger, not from within, but without.
The rajasic understand that war is sometimes necessary to fight evil, but that is because they see the evil in the world, retaining an inner pattern for this evil.
The “peaceniks,” however, have lost this inner pattern, and so advocate peace at all costs. They might change their minds watching a marauding army killing their brothers, and raping their mothers and sisters, as occurred quite often in W.W. II, for instance.
The sattvic “peaceniks” have greater wisdom than the rajasic; but by becoming good, they lose their practicality.
The Golden and Silver Doctrines are meant to restore a right situation as goodness and wisdom ascend within a person, keeping him or her safe and secure within the egoic world that we call home.
It’s a world of training, with all kinds of people at all different levels of spiritual development, some saintlike, and some not.
In Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the character played by Burl Ives, who I think was a wily snowman, sings, “Silver and gold, silver and gold, means so much more when I see, silver and gold decorations, on every Christmas tree!”
Let the Silver and Golden Doctrines decorate the Christmas tree of everyone’s sadhana because then I know you will travel safely and securely to the final goal, on the training ground that is Earth, from where still higher things await you!
Besides the benefits of meditation, there are certain deeper benefits that will take more time and closer observation to discern, and correspondingly, a failure in growth results in a despondent feeling of going nowhere, by failing to meditate every single day.
These deeper benefits amount to positive, fruitful changes in personality, which are gradually reworked totally, from within, as we go from “sinner” to saint, from saint to sage, and from sage to ascension.
These deeper changes include appreciation, love, fearlessness, the conquest of anger, a feeling of lightness, a sense of triumph and mastery, daring, self-confidence, positivity, equanimity, illustriousness, and venerability.
Appreciation includes artistic and creative appreciation, as well as gratefulness for the gift of life. You come to feel that your very life is a wondrous miracle and rejoice in it every day.
Love is the sweetest of emotions, and comes in greater and greater measure, though clinging to the Silver and Golden Doctrines, we won’t become blinded by love until it is safe to do so in Heaven.
Fearlessness shouldn’t be confused with stupid fearlessness or a person who cares not whether he lives or dies, but a loss of the fear of public opinion.
These can bind a person down, though again observing these two all-important Doctrines, there will be a healthy fear of not allowing anyone to begin labeling you as “insane.”
When a wave of anger overtakes you, there are three choices, not just two. Express it, repress it, or transform it.
Through repetition of God’s Holy Name, perhaps with long walks into the sunset, we can learn to ride the greatest wave of anger with skill and exuberance, reaping the reward of its energy, now tapped from the side of evil and destruction to the side of goodness and sobriety.
The feeling of lightness which comes means we no longer feel stuck in our opinions and ideas. We learn to change our mental course “on a dime,” when we perceive some greater truth or some more applicable rational principle.
The sense of triumph and mastery appears when we become the Ruler of our minds and are no longer ruled by it.
Those thoughts and urges are meant to obey our will; and begin to do so naturally once we sit in our own judgment seat, condemning the evil in our minds and upholding the good in eternal righteousness.
One becomes more daring, trying new things all the time since more of the mind will be present and able to see opportunity when it arises. Even older people retain their daringness when they meditate, and may take up new sports, for instance, like hang gliding or tennis.
A person gains self-confidence, making public speaking or meeting new people a breeze, and will also assert an air of confidence in relationships. Meditation gives living ground on which to stand, to face all the challenges that life may bring.
One achieves positivity, or always feeling upbeat, as though there is really something good going on in their life, something worthwhile and rewarding. This feeling means they are growing closer to the Self, who sends its reward daily, or even hourly for some.
At the same time, they gain equanimity, meaning that when things do not go so well, they take them in stride, not becoming depressed and despondent.
They can always think, “Things may not be going well for me, but at least I am asserting my immortal nature, and by and by my other problems will be solved, which are objectively very small by comparison to the eternal Glory that I seek.”
There’s an illustriousness or a kind of glow that comes to their spiritual aura, where they appear as a “bright” person, both in terms of inner experience, and outer as others perceive them.
Last (though there are more benefits I could list), is venerability, or spiritual weight, so that one can easily prioritize all the issues of their life according to spiritual principles, with an eternal, optimized joyful condition.
The benefits I have listed are essentially personal ones, but one will also discover that their relationships will improve as their personality becomes more spiritual and less worldly.
You come to see vain arguments and obnoxious quarrels as being like blights upon the life and soul, and avoid them at all costs, preferring to engage in level-headed discussions meant to truly resolve the issues at hand, in the most expeditious way possible.
Although love is a private emotion, it may be that you and another begin to feel this deep emotion simultaneously and form the death-crossing bond of a soulmate union, which is a mutual commitment to marriage and perhaps children, for many lifetimes, quite often all the way to enlightenment.
Not only are soulmates reunited, life after life, but this is also true of entire families where love is strong in everyone, for one another.
Love is not a bond in the sense of grasping, but of mutual commitment to deepening the private feeling of love each person has.
A true lover thinks, “Ah, how sweet it is to experience love! I love that person very much, and lo! Mysteriously, she (or he) loves me in return!”
When two people feel this way, they feel a soulmate connection, and when whole families feel this way, they are soul families. These tend to be looser than that of couples, which becomes almost unbreakable as the two ascend in their spiritual stature towards enlightenment.
I have also not mentioned worldly benefits such as riches and the like, yet the history of religious striving reveals that inner riches are everything, and outer riches next to nothing.
Each person should seek and maintain a comfortable lifestyle for themselves and their family, neither grindingly poor nor ostentatiously wealthy.
There needs to be a material base of support, so seek out a good job, but greed is also wrong, so don’t seek to “lord it over” others.
As Krishna said in the Gita, through efforts in the world, worldly desires are easily fulfilled. We must make an effort in society for the basic necessities of living.
The main spiritual action is meditation because through it we will achieve inner renunciation, regardless of the number of material possessions that are owned.
In samadhi, one attains a state where the world, and all objects in the world, are separate from Self, which is the meaning of “freedom.” Gold and dirt become spiritually equivalent, just atoms in a world comprised of atoms.
Keep yourself reasonably comfortable, materially speaking, because if you are uncomfortable, it will make profound meditation difficult.
People should fulfill their little desires, such as for food, or for sex with their soulmate, because the unhappiness that comes with defying these desires can make profound meditation difficult, and progress may suffer.
The jnanis, those who seek knowledge devoid of any personal connotation, rejoice to defy desires; but this is only a small subset of all the people, and as Krishna said, the Way of Love is better for most.
Meditation is so powerful that it makes defying desires unnecessary, though one must always cling to ahimsa, come what may.
In most, defying desires makes meditation difficult and unproductive, though the jnanis, who devote a lot of time and attention to how to do it right, do not find it so.
Satisfy little desires, and heat is generated that benefit meditation tremendously, which puts a double smile on your face. Both because you have done what you wanted and then used this happy state to push your sadhana along even further, in your meditation period!
I have sung the praises of meditation and will go on singing its praises. Meditation is a native power of the soul, and we won’t be happy until we begin to exercise this power consciously with awareness.
Similarly, as the soul progresses on the spiritual path and each lifetime as a child, there will be a strange feeling that an inner muscle isn’t being exercised. Rising up as a man or woman, one begins stretching this muscle and resumes the practice!
Pursue a half hour of meditation every single morning as a first action upon rising. This will give complete contentedness and reassurance from the Atman that the date of enlightenment is fixed instead of sliding further into the distant future.
In my own humble opinion, passage meditation is a supreme form of meditation because of its high degree of intense inner action. One grows a wide collection of spiritual passages worthy of meditation from all the world’s major spiritual traditions.
Passages can be selected for a current mood or life circumstance. In the latter years, one can choose passages that speak of going beyond death and the first fruits of samadhi.
Others may choose verses emphasizing love and devotion to deepen the relationship with one’s soulmate.
One may choose passages that emphasize the Ascendancy of Spirit if having difficulties at work. If listless or bored, one can meditate on verses that generate energy and enthusiasm.
Passage meditation helps improve memory both directly and indirectly, as the inner repertoire is slowly built with the “right passage” in our back pocket for the precise situation and mood.
Though I have mentioned soulmates, there is another group that is very dear to me called the aerosexuals. These are those who choose to avoid physical intimacy with others.
These people are currently unsupported and ostracized, sometimes even by their parents, because the world has not yet recognized this option, making it a viable and refreshing alternative for many.
Jesus referred to the aerosexuals by saying, “There are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven,” and Himself exhibited this lifestyle, which is the Avatar or Lord’s true mode of Appearance.
He has entered other modes (for instance Buddha, Mohammed, and Ramakrishna) in order to show the way to harmony in the home.
In summary, our sadhana is our life and our life is our sadhana. Everyone is moving toward or away from nirvana, whether we are aware of or even like it or not.
The only question is how much does one wish to remain in the dark about their destination? If the desire is great, then the notion of Heaven after one life as seemingly revealed by Mohammed and Jesus is easily embraced.
If one wishes to travel in the light instead of the dark, then take to the daily practice of meditation since this is the Supreme Vehicle for spiritual progress. Among the forms of meditation, reciting passages slowly and carefully is a supreme form of meditation.
The soul works within the mind to change and optimize moods to make deep and lasting changes through concentrated attention. It’s a transformation from a plain man or woman into a budding god or goddess!
It may take sustained effort through daily meditation but one of discovery in the endless fascination and delight of meditation as a Life Enhancer, and Bliss Generator Extraordinaire!
You will forget the lowly material and soar up into supernal realms of pure spirit! It will make the rest of your life sing with joy, harmony, sweetness, and glory, giving you spiritual experiences amid mundane life.
Is this all we are, to be material in nature? Grabbing various objects and calling them our own, then dying after just one life?
Is existence saying, “I am my body, nothing more than this, and when the body dies, I die, ashes to ashes, dust to dust”? Or is there a yearning for immortality, and the bliss that never leaves, come what may?
Do we want to be ready to face any and every situation with calm security? Maybe at first beginning to suspect, but then later realizing absolutely and without doubt that we are a spirit living in a body, that can never die?
This is the promise of enlightenment, immortal bliss, and the promise of sustained, enthusiastic, concentrated sadhana, and a taste of immortal bliss for everyone, in the here and now, in your own little (and slowly growing larger) life.
It may take some time to reach the goal, but the entire path is strewn with the flower petals of lasting happiness, the pine boughs of calm satisfaction, and the dewdrops of universal love.
If we stick to our spiritual disciplines daily, meditation is without question and hands down, the undisputed Champion and King.
Well? Let’s get started! Meditate, friend, and so find your immortal bliss.