I am 57. For most of my adult life I have been a Catholic. That path has left me spiritually dry. There seem to be too many unanswered questions and things that don’t make sense. I’m trying to figure out if I should try to go deeper into that path or seek another path. I want to know the Divine in my life, not just practices and dogmas. Where do I start?
Growing up as a Catholic and even studying for priesthood, with 16 years of Catholic education, I can relate to your dilemma.
We can never know God with our intellect. The intellect has its place in human life and is necessary but like Moses who could lead the Israelites but couldn’t enter the Promised Land, the intellect cannot “know” God. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
I teach philosophy, cosmology, and theology of Vedanta, Shankhya and Yoga as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda; I teach classes on the Bible, the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita but none of these can bring me to that ‘promised land’ of God-realization! I treasure all of these inquiries and the revelations of eastern timeless wisdom are thrilling to me but they don’t solve my day-to-day problems. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee” (St. Augustine).
Prayer is talking TO God; meditation is LISTENING for His answer in the form of inner peace; true joy, unconditional love; power & energy; and, with deeper practice in the form of the Comforter: the Word, the Aum, the Amen, the “true and faithful witness” of God’s presence IN and AS the creation itself. The “word” of God is not something in a book. It is what you and each of us, in our souls, are born to find by the free choice of our own heart, in preference to the gifts and blessings, and temptations, of His creation. “I will wait,” God says. “I won’t tempt you with miracles you can’t understand but I will tempt you with my Love.”
Michael, there are many forms of meditations and reasons to meditate. You can practice sanitized forms of mindfulness or devotional forms seeking to know “the Lord.” Ananda offers the teachings and techniques of Paramhansa Yogananda, now world renowned through his life story, “Autobiography of a Yogi.” Kriya yoga is an advanced meditation technique for those seeking God-contact through an effective, time-tested, and divinely blessed channel of teachers, teachings, and techniques.
If you haven’t read the “Autobiography” I suggest you start there. Do you live near an Ananda Center? If not, we have wonderful online resources at Ananda.org. In any event, your sincerity as expressed through focused spiritual commitments of prayer and self-discipline, self-purification by right attitude and virtue, devotion, selfless service, and perhaps as much as anything, seeking the good company of others of like-mind, surely God will show the path.
May the light of Truth and Love be always your guide!
Seattle WA USA