I am experiencing a subtle feeling in my spine, when I’m meditating. Is this the life force? Now, my meditations aren’t so deep, yet I feel very blessed by hearing the sound of Aum in my right ear all the time. But, I am fully aware that I am in need for more guidance. I really want to meditate more, but I procrastinate; how can I infuse more discipline in my days? I’m gentle with myself, but sometimes it is a struggle. It feels like I’m taking one step forward and two back.Kind regards.
—Wilma Jeuring, Denmark
That subtle feeling of energy in the spine that you are experiencing is indeed the life force. As we meditate more deeply, the life force withdraws from the body and senses and into the astral spine. It begins as a pleasant sensation of energy, and then more and more as divine bliss. The fact that you are also “feeling very blessed” by hearing the sound of AUM indicates that you are developing some depth in meditation!
People often think that the spiritual path is some sort of circus, with exhilarating events and experiences in meditation. God comes to different people in different ways, based on their karma and nature. Some of the most reliable signs of spiritual progress and depth are: a greater feeling of joy or bliss; an ever deepening devotion and love for God; a lessening desire for emotional or egoic fulfillment in the form of self-recognition or importance; a diminishing emotional reaction to personal hurts or slights; a greater desire to help others.
All of those signs develop naturally with meditation, devotion, and right attitudes. The more phenomenal type of meditation experiences can be helpful to encourage one to make greater efforts in meditation, but for some people they can even be a hindrance and cause spiritual pride, for example. So, seek God in meditation purely out of love for Him, and with a sense of receptivity, and your meditations will grow ever deeper.
Regarding discipline, sometimes we do have to push ourselves harder. The best way to develop a consistent and longer meditation practice is to start first with consistency. It’s often better to start with a short meditation, say 15 minutes, twice a day, every single day. Then you can build on that foundation of daily habit by gradually lengthening your sitting time.
People often think that if they don’t have ‘x’ number of minutes to meditate, then it isn’t worth doing. Even if you sit for five minutes, morning and evening on those days where you are the most unwilling, it builds the habit of daily meditation. After a while, many people find that they absolutely can not miss meditating every morning and evening — partly because of habit, but also because they more and more experience the fruits of meditation, and become willing and enthusiastic about meditation.
It can take some time, along with some understanding of your own nature, and whether to use “the carrot or the stick” (an American expression which describes using will and discipline vs. encouragement and reward).
Finally, pray to God and your Guru for help in this regard. Every time you fail to keep up with your practice, go right back to God. As Krishna counsels Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “But, if in this thy faint heart fails, bring Me thy failure!”
Many blessings on your spiritual efforts,