loves to meditate, for in contact with the Spirit lies its greatest joy. If,
then, you experience mental resistance during meditation, remember that
reluctance to meditate comes from the ego; it doesn't belong to the soul."
"The devotee who makes the supreme effort is the one who finds God.
Not the one who keeps seeking excuses, saying, 'Let me find a quiet
place; then I'll meditate.' Procrastinators will never reach God. But
if you tell yourself, 'Right now I will go deep in meditation!' you
can be there in an instant.
person is really sleepy, can't he fall asleep anywhere? So is it with the person
who loves God. He can meditate even in a train station or in the market place."
"One who wants to be a concert pianist will practice at the piano
twelve hours a day. If, instead, his practice consists of pecking
half-heartedly at the keys for a few minutes every day, he'll never
become any good as a pianist.
how it is with the search for God. How can you expect to know Him if you only
very difficult to reach God. If even a concert pianist must work hard to become
successful in his profession, how much more earnestly must the devotee 'work' at
meditation in order to realize the Infinite!
however, is an encouraging thought: Everyone who makes a sincere effort on the
spiritual path will surely reach his goal. You cannot say that of worldly
ambition. Not everyone can become a famous pianist, no matter how hard he tries.
For in every field there is room at the top for very few. All men, however, can
claim their sonship equally with the Heavenly Father."
"To meditate a short time with depth is better than to meditate for
long hours with the mind running wild.
beginning, therefore, don't force yourself to sit for a long time. Strive for
shorter, but deeper, meditations. Then gradually, as you become accustomed to
going deep, lengthen the time you sit in meditation."
"Don't feel badly if you find yourself too restless to meditate
deeply. Calmness will come in time, if you practice regularly. Just
never accept the thought that meditation is not for you. Remember,
calmness is your eternal, true nature."
"In meditation, try to go beyond thinking. As long as thoughts enter
the mind, you are functioning on the conscious level.
dreaming, you are in subconsciousness; then you are more aware in the astral
"When your consciousness withdraws still more deeply, into superconsciousness,
then you are centered in bliss, in the spine. In that bliss-state you are aware
in the causal body, the soul."
A devotee was having difficulty remaining awake during meditation. To
him, Yogananda made this suggestion: "Squeeze your eyes shut several
times, then open them wide and stare straight ahead. Repeat this
practice once or twice more. If you do this, sleepiness will cease to
"While meditating, don't concentrate on the results of meditation.
Meditate, rather, to please God. If you seek results, you will be
disappointed if they don't come.
Bhagavad Gita, Krishna counsels action without desire for the fruits of action.
Meditation, too, should be approached in this spirit.
without attachment to the fruits of meditation."
A disciple was digging a cesspool at the Master's desert retreat. He
kept on digging all day long, without stopping to see how far he had
come. That evening, to his amazement, he found that he had dug a deep
Paramhansa Yogananda saw what he had accomplished, he said approvingly, "That is
how the devotee must seek God-continually digging, digging, without looking to
see how far he has come. Then one day, suddenly, he will find himself there!
Mahasaya used to tell his disciples, 'Banat, banat, ban jai!-doing, doing, at
"Where motion ceases," the Master said, "God begins."
A disciple was having difficulty with his meditations. He asked Sri
Yogananda, "Am I not trying hard enough?"
answered, "You are trying too hard. You are using too much will power. It
becomes nervous. Just be relaxed and natural.
as you try to meditate, you won't be able to, just as you can't sleep so long as
you will yourself to sleep. Will power should be used gradually. Otherwise, it
may become detrimental. That's why it is better, in the beginning, to emphasize
"Do not get excited or impatient in your efforts to find God. Be
wholehearted, but not anxious about getting results. Be patient. Move
toward your divine goal ever calmly, with tranquillity."
"Meditate more and more deeply, until calmness and joy become second
nature to you.
"To be ecstatic is not difficult. It is thinking that it is difficult
that holds you apart from it. Never think of divine joy as distant
from you, and it will be with you always."
Paramhansa Yogananda told the monks, "Memorize my poem, Samadhi, and
repeat it daily. It will help to awaken within you that lost memory of
what you are in reality: sons of Infinity."
"Try to feel, when walking out of doors, that everything around you is
part of your own expanded awareness.
the leaves trembling on the trees, and try to feel their movement. Imagine in
that movement that God is expressing His thoughts and inspirations.
meadow grasses as they wave in the wind. Imagine the breeze as God's breath
blowing over the world, inspiring all beings and giving them life.
the birds singing. Feel that God, through their songs, is trying to reach you
with feelings of divine gladness.
of the sun's rays on your skin. Think of the heat you feel from the sun as God's
energy. Let it fill your body with vitality and power. Imagine divine energy,
through the sunlight, strengthening creatures everywhere on earth."
"Master," said a disciple, "I am afraid to go breathless in
meditation. What can I do to overcome this limitation?"
are facing is a normal obstacle on the path," replied Yogananda. "'False
notion,' it is called. You are fearing something that, to the soul, is perfectly
natural: deep stillness within.
is like a bird that has been locked in a cage for many years. It fears liberty.
Yet, freedom is its birthright.
opens the door to let the bird out. It may hop outside a short distance, but
then suddenly it thinks, 'Oh, this vast world!' Terrified, it hops hurriedly
back into its cage again.
"Gradually, then, by repeated sorties, the bird becomes accustomed to being
outside its cage. Then at last, one day, it spreads its wings and soars up into
the sky, free at last! And why is it free? Quite simply, because it has finally
accepted freedom as its natural state.
"So it is
with the devotee when he first experiences soul-freedom. But remember, as it is
natural for the bird to fly up into the sky, so is it natural for the soul to
soar in omnipresence."
"Just behind the darkness of closed eyes shines the light of God. When
you behold that light in meditation, hold onto it with devotional
zeal. Feel yourself inside it: That is where God dwells.
the other hand, you behold no light in meditation, then concentrate at the point
between the eyebrows, and gaze deeply into the darkness that you see with closed
eyes. Try, by your devotion, to penetrate that thick veil.
you will surely behold the inner light, for it is ever there, shining in your
forehead. Just as all human beings have eyes, so does everyone have this
spiritual eye within his forehead. It awaits only his discovery in deep
"A bent spine is the enemy of realization. In meditation, always hold
your spine straight, that the life force may flow through it
hold your attention fixed at the Christ center between the eyebrows. The more
deeply you concentrate at that point, the more you will find your ego dissolving
"If you want to be a Master in this lifetime," Yogananda told a
disciple, "then, along with your other meditation practices, practice
Hong-Sau* at least two hours a day.
"As a boy,
I used to practice Hong-Sau sometimes for seven hours at a time, until I entered
the breathless state of ecstasy."
"If you eat your dinner and then run, you won't be able to enjoy what
you've eaten; you may only get indigestion. But if you rest
afterwards, you will find that this is the best time to enjoy the
effects of your meal.
the same practice after finishing Kriya Yoga. Don't jump up immediately, but sit
still for a long time-as long as you can do so comfortably. Pray to God deeply.
Practice Bhakti Yoga, or devotion. Or watch the flow of breath in the spine
while practicing Hong-Sau. Or listen to the inner sounds with open ears."
A disciple asked, "How can intuition be developed?"
"The best way is, every time you meditate, to sit calmly for a long time after
doing the techniques. It is during this period that you will be able to deepen
your awareness of God's presence within you. Go ever deeper in your enjoyment of
longer and more deeply you enjoy the peace within, the more quickly will your
The Essence of Self-Realization,
By Paramhansa Yogananda