What is the best time to meditate?

—Abhijit, India


Dear Abhijit,

Yogananda recommends meditating twice a day. Most important is the regularity of our meditation—daily if possible. The length of our meditation increases as we go deeper into our practice, so 10–15 minutes length is a good for a beginner.

But what is the best time to meditate? The best time to meditate is when we can do it regularly! There are times of day that are better than others. Meditating when we first get up before becoming involved in daily activities is good. Also that time coincides for many people with sunrise which is a still point of energy in the 24-hour cycle of the day and supports going deeper. There are other still points at noon, sunset and midnight.

Ideally meditation should occur at quiet times of day when most people are asleep and the city or your surroundings is calm. Yogananda noted that any time between 5 am and 8 am, or 10 am and 1 pm, 5 pm and 8 pm, or 10 pm and 1 am are fruitful times for meditation.

“All the laws of attraction and repulsion which cover the body are more harmonious during the above periods, and thus help an individual to withdraw the Life Force from the sense-telephones of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch,” Yogananda said. “This frees the attention from all sense disturbances and allows it to march toward God without interruption.”

Yogananda emphasized that it is best to make sure that you find a peaceful place to meditate in which you can avoid “the wrong vibrations of restless people working around you.” He shared that “Restless thoughts silently pass through the body of the meditation individual and keep his released energy rushed toward the senses instead of toward God.”

For those whose daily life is busy and noisy, Yogananda advised giving special attention to meditation on holidays.

However, Yogananda also encouraged that if a person “makes a super effort of will, he can concentrate in spite of all noise.”

It really helps if you are not meditating on a full stomach which tends to encourage sleepiness during meditation. It is best to wait for an hour or more after a meal. But if you have no other time to meditate, doing meditation under less than ideal circumstances is much better than skipping meditation. Other good times to meditate are before your midday meal, late afternoon/early evening, before your evening meal, and before bed, as long as you are not too sleepy to meditate at that time.

In his book Meditation for Starters, Kriyananda said that if none of those times suits your personal schedule, choose other times that are suitable. “But make it a point, if possible, to meditate at the same times every day,” he wrote. “In that way, you’ll develop a habit pattern. It will become easier, then, to put aside distracting thoughts as you begin your meditation.”

For inspiration, you may like to review the “I Will Meditate” section of Yogananda’s Metaphysical Meditations:

Beloved God, since no earthly engagement is possible without using the powers borrowed from Thee, I will renounce everything that interferes with my engagement to meditate on Thee in awakened silence.

Today, I will meditate no matter how tired I think I feel. I will not allow myself to be a victim to noise while trying to meditate. I will transfer my consciousness to the inner world.

Through the gateway of meditation, I will enter God’s temple of peace everlasting. There I will worship Him at the altar of ever-new contentment. I will kindle the fire of happiness to illuminate His temple within.

I will meditate regularly that the light of faith may usher me into the immortal kingdom of my Heavenly Father.

I will cultivate calmness of mind, knowing God is ever with me. I am Spirit!

Divine Mother, I will pull away the starry veil of the blue, I will tear away the cover of space, I will melt away the magic carpet of thoughts, I will shut off the diverting motion pictures of life, that I may behold Thee.

I know God can be realized through meditation with the intuition’s perception, but not by the restless mind.

I will open my eyes to the joy of meditation; then I will see that all darkness will vanish.

I will make my inner environment perfect through meditation, that it be impervious to all adverse outside influences.

I will begin each day with concentration and meditation on the supreme Being.

I will bathe in the sacred pool of God’s love hidden behind the ramparts of meditation.

– Paramhansa Yogananda, 1932 Edition

Many blessings on your meditation practice, Abhijit. Would you like to learn more about meditation as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda? There are a number of ways to learn in your location from Ananda India. I recommend the “Learn to Meditate” and “Deepen Your Meditation” programs.

Many blessings,
Nayaswami Mukti

Updated by Ananda Communications, March 2023

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