Is it possible for anyone to achieve enlightenment in this life, if he/she is regular with meditations and starts early?
Yes, it is possible to achieve enlightenment, also called self-realization or finding God, in this life even if the meditator does not start ‘early.’ One of Yogananda’s most advanced disciples did not know meditation practices as a younger woman, did not come to her guru until advanced in years and Yogananda said she became free in that life. It is not only the depth and regularity of our spiritual practices but also the complete offering, without reservation, of our little ‘self’ into the Divine Presence. This disciple, Sister Gyanamata, did this completely.
Spiritual teachings are available to everyone but it takes readiness on the part of the disciple to truly receive them and apply them to his life. In fact, each of the teachings of a true path have as their central element God realization and the flawless practice of that teaching will lead the devotee to that realization. The devotee’s openness and receptivity are necessary to understand and truly use the teachings. In our soul’s long evolution toward liberation, it takes many lifetimes to reach that stage where we realize we want nothing but God realization, no worldly attainment will do. The devotee must move beyond the stage of spiritual dabbling in various paths (often a necessary early step on the spiritual path) to complete commitment to a path, commitment to faithfully follow its practices and attunement to the Guru. Yogananda said desires, many of them subtle, bring us back again and again. The soul needs the help of a true Guru to achieve enlightenment.
What we have to do is our very best. When Yogananda said that 25% of the path is your effort, 25% is the Guru’s effort and 50% is the grace of God he also meant that the 25%, which is your effort, is a 100% of your effort. You have to put out all that you have in order to reach self-realization.
You may have a guru in which case your attunement to your guru’s guidance is essential to your spiritual progress. If you do not yet have a guru continue your spiritual efforts with all possible sincerity and focus. God watches the heart. Your increasingly deep practice and devotion will draw to you the spiritual help you need right now.
If you would like to learn more about this path of Self-Realization through the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda please go to our website in India anandaindia.org.
Many blessings on your spiritual journey to enlightenment,