Dear Daily Meditator,
What a special moment! A New Year is waiting for us, full of golden opportunities. Let’s remember: the way we begin it is essential. As Aristotle said, “Well begun is half done.” All of us, the family of Daily Meditators, may therefore determine to begin our New Year with a positive impact.
Will the year be easy? Probably not. But an easy life is not a victorious life, as Yogananda tells us. So no matter how many dark clouds there may be in our outer life, and in the world everywhere, our inner life as meditators can become ever brighter. And that alone – positive consciousness – will change the world.
So here is an idea… why not celebrate this New Year together, in a special way? Let’s celebrate the golden gifts we share as meditators: an inner life, inner happiness, growing contact with Spirit, which are more precious than all the dollars of the world.
But of course, if we really decide to celebrate we need to dress up. Are you ready for it? Of course we will be dressing up spiritually, inwardly. This is our dress code:
- We put on beautiful white garments, representing our soul’s purity.
- Next, let’s wrap ourselves with our softest shawl, symbolizing our warm heart’s devotion.
- Then we chose our best watch, representing regularity in our practice.
- Women can also don some colorful bangles, as a sign of spiritual creativity. Men may use something else, anything creative, fanciful.
- We can all put on some sandal fragrance, which signifies both concentration and upliftment.
And finally, we will make our outfit irresistible: we put on an amazing diamond, which represents the most precious element of of meditation: our inner closeness and attunement to a great soul who has far advanced on the path of meditation.
Beautifully dressed in that way, we sit down to meditate. To celebrate appropriately, we will especially concentrate on that diamond during this month. It will be our constant focus, our joy, the center of our celebration.
Why is this practice a diamond? Because meditatively speaking, there is nothing more precious in all the yogic teachings than attunement with a saint, who subtly fills our meditations with his (or her) divine magnetism.
The great Adi Shankaracharya, revered by all yogis, wrote in his famous Century of Verses: “There is no known comparison in all the three worlds [causal, astral, material] for the venerable teacher that bestows knowledge. If the philosopher’s stone be assumed as such, it only turns iron into gold, but, alas! cannot convert it into philosopher’s stone. The venerable teacher, on the other hand, creates equality with himself in the disciple that takes refuge in his feet. He is therefore peerless, nay, even transcendental.”
Without such a diamond, in fact, our meditative life will never be quite rich enough. Our own efforts alone will not suffice to reflect the glory of Spirit: for that goal we need the “diamond” of a saint who close to us, to our heart and mind.
This is why Swami Kriyananda writes:
The secret of meditation is…
dwelling on the thought of great saints,
past and present,
who have known God;
attuning your consciousness to theirs.
Let’s Wear the Diamond!
So our meditative celebrations can begin, even today. Our job is mostly this: to invite a saintly soul into our meditative efforts. Many readers of this article are certainly already used to doing so. Their task is to do it “more and better,” to let the diamond shine as never before.
Which Kind of Diamond to Chose?
For others this practice will be new. In this case you have to decide: which saint do I chose for my meditations? Swami Kriyananda in his above Secret of Meditation tells us that we can chose any saint, past or present. In other words, you can chose freely, letting your heart decide. Think about it, and make sure tell him or her that this will be your celebration together.
How to Wear Our Diamond Daily
Here is the plan how to wear our diamond of attunement most brilliantly, day by day.
Prayer to the Saint
In your daily meditations, once you sit down, start by praying to “your” saint. As these great souls listen and respond to our heart, make sure that your prayer is filled with sincerity and love. Our prayer can be simple, like “Beloved (name of saint), bless my meditation, be with me, help me to feel your presence, guiding and inspiring my techniques. Help me to lift my consciousness toward Spirit.”
Or pray to the saint spontaneously, with the natural language of your heart.
Or else you may use is the following prayer, by Yogananda (adapted to a saint):
“Beloved… (name of saint),
I will enjoy you.
I will feel you in my emotions.
I will think you in my thoughts.
I will use your wisdom-guided will
to guide my habit-guided will.”
Singing to the Saint
Then sing to him or her. You may chose or learn the song “Polestar” by Yogananda, applying it to your saint. Here you find it:
If Yogananda is your saint and Guru, then you may chose “Jai Guru Jai” as the chant of this month, singing it again and again, to his listening presence, with love, remembering that love is the most effective method of attunement. If you don’t play and instrument, you may sing along here:
Meditating with the Saint
When you start your silent meditation, it is important to feel your saint very near, so that his vibrations can magnetically infuse yours.
There are numerous ways to do that:
- You may visualize him or her meditating at your side. Feel him alive, present, intimately near. Yogananda sang: “Sitting in the silence on the sunny banks of my mind, sitting in the silence, with my guru by my side…”
- Or, if you prefer, visualize him in front of you, looking at you with love and power. Alternatively you may imagine that you are sitting inside “your” saint: he is your aura, your shakti. Or imagine that you are not even there: his body alone is meditating.
- Or feel his presence in your heart, following another one of Yogananda’s song: “Think ye in thy heart, lotus feet of thy guru.”
- Swami Kriyananda also practiced another form of meditating with a saint: he visualized Yogananda sitting in miniature form on top of his head.
- Another inspiring technique is described in Swami Kriyananda’s book, The Hindu Way of Awakening. It works with the medulla oblongata: “If you have a guru, you may think of him thus, also. Visualize that spirit descending through your medulla, brain, and spine and out into your nervous system, filling your entire body. Feel that he has, in some mysterious but exalted sense, become you. And feel divine devotion toward him, especially in your heart. You are that divine consciousness which now dwells in your body! Pray that it fill you, and purify you of every human imperfection. Uplift the attunement you feel in your heart, and offer it up to God.
Experiment and find out which visualization is most effective for you. Try to practice your techniques with his power, with his concentration, with his devotion. See if this kind of practice gives a new brilliancy to your meditations.
As you practice your techniques, keeping the company (satsanga) of that saint, mentally speak with him/her: “Is this correct? Am I practicing correctly?”
A result of such a practice is that it gradually changes our magnetism. Yogananda describes this effect in the following words: “One can develop cosmic magnetism by thinking of God and saintly people. By concentrating deeply upon a certain personality, one can attract that personality. That is why one should think only of great individuals.”
Include a Technique of Attunement
You may also include the following technique by Yogananda, which helps to deeply attune to your Guru, or to a saint (taken from The Essence of Self-Realization):
“To tune in to the guru’s consciousness, visualize him in the spiritual eye. Mentally call to him there. Imagine his eyes, especially, gazing at you. Invite his consciousness to inspire your own. Then, after calling to him for some time, try to feel his response in your heart. The heart is the center of intuition in the body. It is your ‘radio-receiver.’ Your ‘broadcasting station’ is situated in the Christ center between the eyebrows. It is from this center that your will broadcasts into the universe your thoughts and ideas. Once you feel an answer in the heart, call to the guru deeply, ‘Introduce me to God.’”
This Diamond of Attunement is More Important Than the Techniques
Swami Kriyananda explains that such attunement is essential for sincere meditators: “Techniques such as Kriya are secondary to attunement and discipleship to the Guru.” Think about it! His wording “such as” means that this principle applies to all practices, of all paths.
Techniques Without the Diamond?
Here is another central teaching by Swami Kriyananda, in which he explains how little we can understand our meditative techniques from classes and books alone. Deep and true understanding will only come from our inner attunement with a saint, or from our Guru.
“We need to understand that the technique must be practiced correctly. And how to practice it correctly? In the years when I lived with Yogananda, he talked a lot about the techniques in public, but to us disciples he talked much more about the importance of attunement… Try to tune into the Gurus’ consciousness and ask them to guide you. Ask them to inspire you in your Kriya. The more deeply you pray for that, the more understanding will come from inside. We can give you the technique, we can give you classes, we can give you insights into the techniques, but ultimately we can’t give you understanding. It can’t come in words. It can’t come in the form of a class or a lecture. But at least we can tell you this much – if you tune in deeply with hunger to be guided from within, you will find that the Divine and the Masters will guide your thoughts. You’ll come upon many discoveries about how to meditate correctly, and practice Kriya correctly.”
Discover the Diamond’s Greatest Value
What happens if we advance highly in our attunement, in our “diamond practice”? We will achieve a state called dhyana (signifying meditation, the 7ths step of Patanjali’s eightfold path). Dhyana means that if our concentration grows deep enough, bit by bit our consciousness becomes one with the object of our meditation. In other words, we don’t only meditate on the light, but become that light, or we become AUM, etc. Applied to the practice of our month – the attunement and meditation on a saint – we become one with him/her consciousness. Yogananda describes this experience in the following words:
“There was a devotee sitting before an image of his Guru, chanting and tossing flowers onto it as an expression of his devotion. His concentration became so deep that, all at once, he beheld the whole universe contained within his consciousness. ‘Ah!’ he cried, ‘I have been putting flowers on another’s image, but now I see that I, untouched by this body, am the Sustainer of the universe. I bow to my Self!’ And he began throwing the flowers onto his own head.”
The Result of Wearing the Diamond
To encourage us all, let’s look at a great example. Swami Kriyananda throughout his life practiced complete attunement with Yogananda, and achieved high meditative states:
- The natural breathless state, which he describes as being “wonderful” in his book, Raja Yoga: “Indeed, the rejuvenating effects on the entire being of superconscious breathlessness are truly wonderful.”
- Kriyananda tasted amrita, the inner nectar of immortality, an experience relates in his booklet, Keys to the Bhagavad Gita: “But the practice [of Kechari Mudra] isn’t the same as when it happens automatically when the mind goes into samadhi. At that time, in addition to the energy being withdrawn from the body, there is a certain energy that is drawn from the brain down into the mouth. It has a sweet taste, and that energy keeps the body sustained for a long period of time so that one doesn’t need to eat. One can remain for very long periods of time in samadhi without having to come out. And the curious thing is that the taste has been described — and it seems to me, too, when I taste it — as a combination of ghee, which is clarified butter, and honey.”
- He communed with the cosmic sound of AUM. In his book The Hindu Way of Awakening he describes how one hears the three aspects of that sacred sound.
- Especially in the later years of his life, Swami Kriyananda was increasingly immersed in a river of inner bliss, which often brought him to tears of joy. In his book Patanjali Demystified he writes: “I feel increasing bliss, complete non-attachment, sincere love for all mankind, and indifference to everything but God.”
All this happened because he chose to wear the diamond. Swami Kriyananda’s inner experiences can offer encouragement to us all, as he always said: “What I have done, you too can do.” The most important experience, and the true measure of our advancement, is bliss. In fact, in his Autobiography of a Yogi Yogananda quotes his Guru Sri Yukteswar:
“Spiritual advancement is not measured by one’s outward powers, but only by the depth of his bliss in meditation. “Ever-new Joy is God. He is inexhaustible; as you continue your meditations during the years, He will beguile you with an infinite ingenuity. Devotees like yourself who have found the way to God never dream of exchanging Him for any other happiness; He is seductive beyond thought of competition.”
Are we, by any chance, interested in such divine bliss in our New Year? Yes, we are!
So then, our New Year celebrations are about to start. Are you dressing up? Is your diamond ready? Our celebrations will set the tone for the rest of the year. Let’s make our life shine with inner attunement, with saint-love, and with happy God-speed.
In divine friendship,