How does one reach deeper states of meditation? I am a kriyaban and I have an effective grasp of Yogananda's four main techniques (hong-sau, etc.), yet I don't feel I've excelled in meditative depth. Should I remain passively open to such states, or is it simply an act of pure will to go deeper? Maybe the grace of God grants us these experiences, like a winning lotto ticket dropping from Heaven into our laps. Or maybe they are purely random, like accidently exiting an elevator into a subterranean parking garage. Yet maybe I shouldn't concern myself with details like depth...It will come in time.
Or will it?
—Dean Opseth, USA
You should concern yourself with depth and you must remain open to deeper states of meditation but your openness must be active, not passive. Paramhansa Yogananda wrote in his poem Samadhi, “By deeper, longer, thirsty, guru-given meditation comes this celestial samadhi.” While all four requirements are important, the most essential is “thirsty”, for without an active longing for God, meditation depth and its concomitant benefits elude us. We may be surrounded by water but unless thirsty, we have little incentive to drink, whereas a dying man in the desert will want nothing but water.
Divine ardor is essential to draw God’s response. Without it, the devotee finds himself on a meditational plateau with only occasional, fleeting glimpses of something more lofty. Just as the ardent lover will persist until he finds a way to overcome whatever obstacle separating him from his beloved, so too will the devotee persist until God replies. Be willing to wait as long as necessary but you must not be passive! Remember the story from the Autobiography when Master prayed to God for divine assurance before embarking for America. He prayed with such fervor that, he says,”I felt as though my brain would split.” Babaji came to him then.
When sustained ardor for God is awakened in the heart, “things” of this world have little appeal in comparison. The impulses of the heart usually flowing toward the senses are reversed and, as a consequence, the inner energy bound and commited to sustaining our material identity is released to flow upward. Renunciation, often thought of as a rejection of outer realities, is seen then to be a positive embrace of God resulting in a natural disinclination for anything keeping us bound to our little self, ego.
Do what is necessary to awaken your ardor for God. Remember your iniial enthusiam for the spiritual path, your desire to receive kriya initiation, or the feelings of “recognition” that perhaps came when you first read Yogananda’s autobiography. Chant and pray more and especially associate with other devotees of positive spirit . If you cannot have such satsang, keep Master close through his books and those of his disciples. Listen to his voice and gaze into his eyes as you pray for devotion. Master said we must “whip up devotion.” Depth and length of meditation will follow, but don’t wait. Try to go deeper and longer now with an ardent spirit.
My best wishes to you,
Nayaswami Jaya Helin