Meditating for God, Not for Yourself

Question

Read this Q&A regarding meditation Experiences asked on (30th April 2018) & answer by Nayaswami Chidambar which said "The first thing to remember is devotion to God and to meditate for God and not for yourself. ". I really want to know this concept -" To meditate for God and not for yourself". To meditate for God will maybe begin by loving but I don’t feel my love is so deep now. Becomes chicken & egg. Please explain as this will help in starting meditation for me! What to think/ feel to start

—DK, India

Answer

Dear DK,

An important way to approach meditation is as a self-offering. In meditation offer all that you are to God. The Bhagavad Gita states that ‘Whatever action you perform with dispassion, O Arjuna, whether eating or performing spiritual rites or making gifts in charity or in austerities (self-discipline), dedicate that action in offering to Me.’ 9:27 (These Gita quotes are from The Essence of the Bhagavad-Gita Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda as remembered by his disciple Swami Kriyananda, available in India at Ananda Sangha Publications.)

If we meditate seeking benefit for ourselves, we meditate with a merchant consciousness. The attitude of ‘what’s in it for me’ keeps our hearts closed to God’s love. If we freely give our love to God through every activity including meditation, seeing each of our actions as loving service to God then we open our heart to the flow of God’s love. Relate to God in the way that is most personal to you and feels most expansive in your heart. Your connection to God may be as Mother, Father, Divine Friend, Beloved, or a divine quality of God such as Infinite Peace. Meditate for God — and with God — and do not worry about ‘results’. Let God be in charge of that one. Meditation then becomes a self-offering.

The Gita verse just before this states ‘Whenever anyone, with pure intention, offers Me (even) a leaf, a flower, a (piece of) fruit, or water (whether poured out or help up in a vessel), I accept his offering (as symbolic of his love). 9:26.

Begin by offering yourself to God at the level that is most true for you right now. Our devotion to God must be nurtured, strengthened, and cared for every day — not only in the meditation room but in how we live our lives. To truly love God is to make God part of every detail of our lives and not just set Him aside until the next temple visit. Take time and have the intention to offer your very next action, the very next step your take (regardless of how simple or routine it may seem) as an offering to God. Think of God, feel God’s energy flowing through you, express your gratitude that God is here in this moment.

Each time you open to God in this way, you will find your loving connection growing stronger. Don’t allow shadows of doubt to limit the growth of this tender plant of devotion. Be always aware, looking for signs of God’s presence.

Yogananda translated a famous Bengali chant titled ‘Door of My Heart’. The final line of the chant is ‘Night and day, night and day / I look for Thee night and day.’ When we see God everywhere, in all of life, in all experiences, we will also see God within.

Many blessings,
Nayaswami Mukti