Meditation Technique vs. Meditation Experience


I’m looking forward to my initiation into Kriya Yoga this fall. Unfortunately, my spiritual practice is not as steady as it could be. Nevertheless, I experience a strong energy that can manifest itself at will. Combined with my focus on Satchitananda, it creates a sensation that is making me feel so joyful inside. As I understand it, Kriya and meditation is about a subtle process in the spine, but in my experience it can be distracting when I meditate. How to proceed?

—Wilma, the Netherlands


Dear Wilma,

When one is feeling inspiration and upliftment (joy, etc.) in meditation, this is the purpose of meditation techniques. In general, therefore, it is ok, when suddenly uplifted into soul-joy (etc.), to enter into that experience and cease the practice of whatever technique you were doing when the experience appeared. When the joy begins to fade or diminish, resume your technique practice. It might even bring you back to the joy.

Now, there are always “but”s… For example: it might be that if you continue the technique you’ll go even deeper into the experience! So, you simply need to experiment. Be open to that possibility.

As a long-term meditator AND meditation teacher, I can say confidently that the hidden unconscious agenda of some students who state that they find techniques distracting to the peace and joy of meditation is that they don’t want to put out the energy and will power and are sometimes resisting attunement with the guru through the practices given to them at initiation!

So, BE CAREFUL. Typically, a student who goes more by “feeling” (perhaps a fledgling “bhakti”) tends to resist techniques or find that they even diminish the joy they’ve gotten accustomed to in meditation. (Whenever we learn a new technique, whether in sports or meditation, it can take a while to re-gain the momentum and success one had previously. This is the “price” one pays for advancing.)

BUT… a newbie bhakti is all too often the victim of moods, ups and downs. Techniques can help her gain consistency and self-discipline in her meditation and in her life, as well as attunement with the guru. If we ONLY go by inspiration and feeling, what happens when we hit a dry spell?

The combination of techniques and inspiration is unbeatable to all types of devotees: bhaktis, gyanis (mental), and karmis (active types).

Lastly, always, daily and throughout the day, and in respect to questions like this one, ask the guru for guidance. Ask without condition and without expectation; be open to be guided no matter your likes and dislikes. God, through the guru, WILL guide you! As your attunement grows so too will your confidence and recognition of that guidance.

Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman