Not Everyone Can Meditate Ten Hours a Day. Isn’t It Better to Meditate Some Rather Than Not at All?


It says in the book _Conversations with Yogananda_ that if a man wants to be a concert pianist, he must practice for twelve hours a day. One who pecks halfheartedly at the keyboard a few minutes at a time, then gets up to eat, never becomes a true musician. And he says it’s the same when you seek God. I think this is a very strict/hard saying. Not all are ready to meditate 10 hours a day, every day. It is true but is it not better to do some or nothing at all? Some can only meditate a few minutes.

—V, World


Dear V,

Yes, you are correct. Few can meditate ten hours a day with burning devotion for God! And so, yes, it is better to do what we can do at this stage of our development. Once when Dr. Lewis (a disciple) had again pestered Yoganandaji for a taste of samadhi (union with God), Yogananda looked him fiercely in the eyes and asked, “Doctor? If I gave it to you, could you take it?” That very “look” convinced Dr. Lewis that he wasn’t ready!

“No, sir,” he replied. But that didn’t stop Dr. Lewis’s progress on the path through self-effort and the guru’s grace.

Ramakrishna Paramhansa once put it this way: unless you want God the way a man with his hair on fire wants to jump into a pond, you will not succeed in finding Him.

Our soul itself is free and awake in God. To the extent, through prayer, meditation, and right action, that we nurture our love for God and for soul-freedom, God will come to us and guide us: first through books, then lesser teachers, and with techniques, until at last God comes to us as our Sat-Guru (true guru).

That “conversation” was designed to give us some perspective on the journey to Self-realization: it is not a picnic or for dilettantes. For those who earnestly seek freedom, we will (at some point) give it our all. In the meantime, we foster that deep desire by doing what is good and right for our soul now.

For some, this perspective is necessary, for they might imagine that having a few experiences in meditation makes them saints or special. Okay?

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA