Ive been meditating for three years now and though I haven't experienced very deep states of peace during my meditations, yet I am experiencing a strange phenomenon.Every time I listen to certain devotional songs or new age music I am overcome with emotion and I start to weep. Its a state of rapture, of such unfulfillable longing and at the same time a torrential state joy that I feel my heart would explode! However that state vanishes when the song ends..is this normal? what is this state?

—ashwin, Canada


Dear Ashwin,

I was recently reading something by Yogananda that I think might be helpful to you:

“When a spiritual devotee, after a few years of deep meditation, acquires a divine joy, he should not be over-confident in the lasting quality of that experience, until he reaches the final beatitude.

“Many devotees become self-satisfied with the superconscious joy of the soul and with beholding a few astral lights. They do not make further deep efforts at meditation, and thus fail to unite their consciousness with the omnipresent joy and light of Spirit.

“A devotee who meditates regularly but finds himself the victim of a sudden explosion of subconscious restlessness should not be discouraged nor stop making renewed efforts at deeper meditation and God-contact. Until one is anchored in the Infinite, he must valiantly race his mental ship of concentration on the calm or rough seas of inner experiences until he reaches the shores of unending communion with the Infinite.”

An endless variety of things can happen to the sincere spiritual seeker – sometimes very sweet blessings, like the deep response you are feeling to devotional songs right now. Sometimes you hit very rough periods in meditation or in your outer life.

Neither is a real indicator of if you are moving forward or not. Ups and downs are part of the path. The important thing is to keep your focus on your goal of God and not be elated about the “exciting” experiences, nor depressed by seeming lack of spiritual progress.

The spiritual path involves purifying oneself, learning to become more in tune with God and Guru, learning to concentrate one’s attention on the goal of God. Remain calm through the outer events, work on developing devotion by keeping the mind at the spiritual eye and practice doing everything you do WITH God, no matter if you feel elation or nothing at all.

Blessings on the journey,