How to define “deep” in meditation


Sir, all of you advise that one should meditate very deeply.Can you please explain the word deeply. Thanks in advance.

—Ravichandran Iyer, India


Dear Friend, I can’t tell at this great distance if you are having a little fun with us, but I’ll give this a try with a “straight face” (as we say here in America).

What constitutes a “deep” meditation? Hmmm… one could say that a deep meditation is at least a satisfying one. One during and after which we feel an abiding calmness and quiet joy in our hearts and throughout body, mind, and spirit we experience a wholesome satisfaction.

Some people meditate with devotion to God, guru or chosen diety, others more with concentration, others with relaxation, some with an impersonal frame of mind, and so on. Each of these might therefore express their “wholesome satisfaction” in more particular terms but the feeling of it is largely the same.

Of course, that’s just a beginning. I suppose one might also say that a “deep” meditation would be one in which we have an experience with “superconsciousness.” Superconsciousness is the level of atman or soul and manifests itself in eight distinctly familiar ways: peace, wisdom, power, love, calmness, inner sound (AUM), inner light (JYOTI or the spiritual eye), and joy (bliss).

Paramhansa Yogananda was once asked what the end of meditation is. He replied that we go on into endlessness, or, perhaps he could have said, Infinity. Thus, when you ask what is deep, there is no “end” to what is “deep.” Therefore, the question in truth has no (intellectual) answer.

For a beginning meditator, feeling peaceful might constitute “deep.” For a more experienced meditator, communing with AUM for a lengthy period might be “deep.” For an advanced yogi, the feeling or inner sight of one’s guru, or diety; for a saint, a samadhi! And so on.

When every cell of the body is thrilled and satisfied, when the heart is softened, when the mind is expanded beyond egoity and pettiness, when we cannot but smile within and without, when divine goodness is what we feel in everyone we meet… are these not signs of a deep meditation?