Have I Failed at Meditation?

Question

I have been attempting to meditate for the past 8 years, though only recently very consistently and I have only had fleeting moments of deep meditation in these years. Still, I have felt an increasing sense of peace that pervades my everyday life and makes it easier to calm down in times of distress. My questions are: how can I be experiencing peace without the deep meditation, how can I deepen the mediation and how can I keep from feeling like I have failed since it’s taken 8 years?

—AC, US

Answer

Dear AC,

Thank you for your questions. First, I congratulate you for persevering in your meditation practices for these past 8 years! Perseverance is one of the main qualities that a meditator needs to achieve success.  Where meditation is concerned, the willingness to continue to try and try again, no matter what does or does not happen, or how long it takes, is an attitude you really need to have. Paramhansa Yogananda states this principle clearly when he says, “It’s discipline which brings God’s grace!”

Consistency, which you say you’ve been able to have more of lately, is another essential quality that a meditator must have! And the gift of peace in daily life that you are experiencing is so great! Yogananda often explains that the truest tests of spiritual progress are not visions or phenomena, but rather how you are changing as a person in daily life: how peaceful you can remain in stressful situations, how well you get along with difficult people — that sort of thing.

You do not mention what meditation practices you are using, but I would like to suggest that if you are not already doing this, let us help you learn and practice Yogananda’s techniques of Kriya Yoga Meditation. It will speed up things for you very effectively! See https://www.ananda.org/kriya-yoga/ for information on how to get started.

To answer your final question, Yogananda says, “Never say you have failed. Instead say, ‘I have not yet succeeded!’” To me, it sounds like you are doing very well. Ahead of you awaits undreamed-of possibilities, so have courage and keep going. Eight years is really not all that long in the grand scheme of the many lifetimes of truth seeking that has brought you to this point. The journey is only a tiny bit further for you, by comparison.