Why Meditate?

Most people are trying to achieve outward security and outward fulfillment but always find that something doesn’t go right.  There’s always something missing. That something, in the last analysis, is God. -Swami Kriyananda

At age seven, I had no idea I was looking for God but when my great uncle whom I was very close to passed away, I knew I needed something to fill the gap and give me some answers. It seemed like things just should not be like that — dying and so on.

I asked my parents if I could attend vacation Bible school at the Nazarene church next door to our home. They were always supportive of my spiritual quest but not involved or affiliated with any particular religion themselves.

So I became a born-again Christian at vacation Bible school! It was a good and strong start. I could keenly feel the presence of Jesus and got a glimpse of a reality much bigger than what I knew about thus far in the small town of Newbury, Ohio. That episode had a big impact on the rest of my spiritual search.

Growing up as an only child and with no other children around my age, I learned how to be happy and content being alone. A favorite activity of mine was to be outdoors sitting. I would sit for hours near the pond and waterfall overlooking a cemetery near our house observing the surroundings and contemplating life and death. I was looking (even then) for ways to calm my mind so that I could be more in the moment and let go of daily concerns.

I was also very interested in church services and metaphysics in general. I later visited many types of churches, synagogues, and metaphysical groups with friends throughout high school. I was searching for some kind of spiritual practice that seemed worth doing.

When I got to college, I continued the search. I knew I wanted to be with other people who either meditated or had other spiritual practices. After trying quite a few different spiritual paths, I settled on Zen meditation.

…the only way out of ego involvement is to go in.

It was my first glimpse of what happens when you go deep within and find your true center. Zen taught me that the only way out of ego involvement is to go in.

It was a very smooth transition from Zen meditation spanning ten years, to embrace the more devotional path of Vedanta. I learned much about the guru-disciple relationship with my first Vedanta guru, including when to let go.

I Find My Path

I visited the Ananda Palo Alto Center with a friend in 1988. I was mysteriously drawn by Paramhansa Yogananda’s photo on the altar. I say “mysteriously drawn” because I was not looking for another guru.

Swami Kriyananda

When I met Swami Kriyananda in Palo Alto, I was even more drawn to the path of Self-realization. I wrote about this to my Vedanta guru and she said simply, “Proceed without any sense of conflict.”

I began to take classes at Ananda Palo Alto and resonated deeply with the meditation and all of the practices, especially listening to Aum. I knew this path would take me to God, so I was all in!

Looking back on this progression, it seems I was always looking for a way to balance my outer life with my inner life.

The person who really succeeds, wants to do a good job and doesn’t think about himself. He doesn’t even think about success or failure; his whole consciousness and concentration is on the thing that he’s doing.  In other words, getting away from the thought of self and merging into a larger reality.

Meditation is a means of helping us to achieve this long-range goal.  The more we understand meditation in that way, the more we can relate it to life as a whole; and not see it only as something that we do as a means of separating ourselves from whatever other reality we are a part of.  I think it’s important to understand this aspect of meditation. -Swami Kriyananda, “The Purpose of Meditation”

Swami Kriyananda left a vast legacy of wisdom in his thousands of recordings of classes, events, radio and TV series, and more. If you listen carefully to any given talk, you will find that he mentions meditation almost every time.

Here is a song by Swami Kriyananda, Peace. This song, written and sang by Swami Kriyananda, describes the true state of Peace we are all looking for. The musical arrangement helps you to feel this state of peace in a deep way.

Other Resources

May your spiritual quest and meditations be filled with a sense of purpose, inner stillness, and true peace.

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21 Comments

  1. What a deep and beautiful article, Krishna. Thanks for sharing more about your own journey. I had to read a blog to find out all this even though we work everyday next to each other :-)

    1. Thanks for your comment. It’s so true, we all are so busy, and because of COVID, casual conversations don’t happen as much, and we don’t get to hear each other’s stories of life experiences that often.

  2. Thank you, dear Nayaswami Krishna, for sharing your beautiful adventure with meditation and finding your way to Master and Self-Realization!

    Blessings and gratitude to you and all our Ananda Sangha family around the world,

    Vivi

    1. Dear Vivi, Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. If you could explain what were your experiences in the course of your meditation it will be much more helpful to other followers. I never heard meditation in Churches in any place except loud prayers. I have been in Master C V.V yoga since 13 years

    1. Dear M.,
      Thank you so much for your comments.

      Since the article was more about the flow of events that led me from one meditation approach to another, sharing experiences in meditation was not really in that flow.

      The next article I do, will have one or more examples of a meditation related experiences.

      One thing I will say, is that I did not meditate much when I served at the Vedanta ashramas on the U.S. East, then West coast. The longer meditations started when I started Zen. Those meditations were deep because there was much effort to concentrate the mind. But, as time went on, I wondered how to get closer to God. That’s why I was grateful to meet a Vedanta guru who could show me what devotion was all about.

      My meditations in these recent years at Ananda, have been growing in devotion and a feeling of being close to Divine Mother and the Masters in meditation and in daily life.

      I understand that in many churches there is not much focus on being silent and receiving God’s presence.

      What is Master C V.V yoga?

  4. Beautifully written! Thank you so much Krishna for sharing your journey on the path. My journey to Ananda also began with Palo Alto Ananda. It was January 2011- I will never forget the music and uplifting vibration as I first stepped into the temple there- I am the bubble make me the sea” was playing. When the prayer was recited and I heard “And All Saints of all religions” my whole entire being just knew I was home. So many churches, so many religions…I had always wondered about that and here these people honored and prayed to All of them. AUM Guru. Thank You Swamiji and Thank You to all Ananda Ministers and long time devotees for continuing to show us the Light. Thank You Krishna 🙏🏽❤️

    1. Dear Simone,

      It’s so nice to hear that you too, were brought to Ananda through Palo Alto, and that early on, you knew this path was your spiritual home.

      What you said about including saints of all religions is truly a ‘find’ for us – a path that includes and honors all paths.

      May you grow ever deeper to God’s presence!

      Thank you for your comment!

  5. Thank you for sharing Krishna. I always enjoy learning about gurubais individual journeys…reminding how each of us is walking a unique path to reach same destination. I especially enjoyed this Krishna because you are able to step back and share the “longer” view. of how God works in our lives. God bless you for all the great work you are doing with Treasures.🙏

    1. Dear Suman,

      Thank you for your comment. It truly is an inspiration to learn more about the ways we came onto the path. It is so reminding that we certainly are not in charge! Just by writing the article, it gave me more to reflect on.

      When we read or listen to stories of the spiritual progression it reminds us of proof of divine intervention. Sometimes this is hard to see in one’s own situation.

      Someday I look forward to hearing your story of entry onto this path!

      Joy,
      Krishna

    1. Thanks for your comment great soul!

      My friendship with you over, lo these many years, has been been a significant inspiration!

  6. Thank you for this sweet and beautiful article Krishna. Very insightful and instructive towards the peace and balance I have been trying to find.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      It is a privilege to share and walk this path with you!

  7. A very interesting story – thank you so much for sharing. It brought a sense of lightness and clarity.

    1. Thanks for your kind comments. And THANK YOU, for writing your book that is a shining inspiration for many truth seekers! And thank you for including me in that project.

  8. Wonderful to be with you Krishna-ji.
    Much Love dear friend.

  9. Krishna, I just loved hearing about your lifelong spiritual quest in all its varied stages. It struck a lot of familiar chords for me, not only in the general nature of these stages, but in their sequence. You have a very clear, direct, unaffected writer’s voice. I hope to read more from you in the future.

  10. Dearest Krishna, thank you so very much for sharing! So Inspiring! What a beautiful journey God, Christ, Guru has led you on! You’re such an inspiration in my life and I know many, many others lives as well. God bless you, dear friend. Love and blessings always, Seraphina

    Jai Guru!

  11. It is amazing how close our lifelong search for God, leading to Ananda, compares to each other. I too started my search as a young child. My family were open to my spiritual quest without having any spiritual inclinations of their own. My first encounter was through Christianity. I felt very very close to Jesus .

    The main differences between us were: 1) I also had a very strong belief in reincarnation as a child (probably from reading about Edgar Cayce) which led me through most of the Christian religions which, of course, didn’t believe in reincarnation. 2) I needed a big push! This came about when I was 22 and in the hospital where the doctors had given up hope on my survival. I had a quasi near death experience (no tunnel with light at the end) but all of a sudden I understood it all. It was so simple and so beautiful. I was sure I would remember but it faded away like a dream. The only thing I did remember was “Meditation was the key”. I left the hospital and took my first meditation class as soon as I could.

    Meditation brought to mind the hours I would spend when still a child (usually in nature by myself) just being aware without thought. Soon after I started meditating, I found myself attracted to SRF. However, I felt conflicted between Jesus and Yogananda. I dealt with this by going to services at Lake Shrine and meditating on the Lord’s Prayer for a number of years. Then, when I was at a turning place in my life, I felt as if both Jesus and Turiananda (a monk at SRF) were telling me I should check out Ananda. When I turned off the highway into Ananda Village, I knew I had finally come home.

    After practicing Kriya at Ananda, I also realized that Masters who are One with God are also One with Each Other.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has taken me through memory lane of my own life / spiritual journey and inspired me to spend more time in meditation.

    Many joyous blessings,
    Michele

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