Sleepy or Restless Meditations


Is there such a thing as a wasted meditation? I wonder about this sometimes when I meditate while being assaulted by sleepiness and restlessness. Like perhaps I even fell back a little bit from the goal of superconsciousness by succumbing to these things?

—kerry, canada


Dear Kerry,

Good question! Who among us doesn’t sometimes have a sleepy or restless meditation? In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna: “What if I fail in meditation? What if I can never control my mind?” Krishna’s response goes right to the heart of your question: “No good effort is ever lost.” As long as you’re doing your best, neither God nor Guru will expect more of you than that. Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: “God reads the heart,” which is to say, sincerity is the bedrock of the spiritual path.

Another side of this is, What makes you think a sleepy or restless meditation is wasted? Sure, you wish it were better—both for your own enjoyment and to connect better with God. But scientific research has shown that, even on a physical level, every meditative effort is literally helping to rewire your brain to be better at meditating. Who knows what additional good things are happening at subtler levels?

So no meditation is ever wasted. Take heart, never give up, and leave the results of your meditations in God’s hands.