5:57 am Realizing what time it is, you wake up and take your baby daughter into the living room so that her mother can get some sleep.
6:03 am You start a diaper change while trying to stay awake. Aphorisms pop into mind which you can’t resist sharing with your eight-week-old, an obvious symptom of early-onset dad humor. “Life is diaper change,” you tell her. “True diaper change comes from within.”
6:05 am She’s been quiet; this seems promising. You set her down in a swing and wait.
6:08 am Her eyes are closed and she’s sleeping soundly. You know from experience that this could end at any moment, but until it does, you have a choice: get some sleep or try to meditate.
6:10 am After mentally asking your guru whether you should meditate or sleep, you feel like you should meditate.
You would love to begin with Yogananda’s Energization Exercises. You would. But you don’t think you can stand up.
6:12 am You finish praying to God and your line of gurus and lean back against the pillow on your couch. Technically, you should be sitting up straight in a chair. You know this, and you know how much the change in posture would help the energy rise in your spine, since it’s something you’ve been feeling regularly. But you do what you can manage.
6:14 am You practice the Hong-Sau Technique and use your index finger to help you concentrate. Nayaswami Gyandev mentioned it in Sunday Service the other day while you listened from home, and you can’t believe you forgot something so simple and helpful.
6:15 am Wow, you think, that technique with the index finger sure is good. How can we get it out to more people? Should we make a YouTube video? Who could do that?
Oh, right, you’re meditating. Back to the breath. Hong, sau… Hong, sau…
6:22 am You realize you forgot to chant again. You rationalize this by thinking about how in the evenings you sometimes sing “Lord, I Am Thine” while holding your daughter and walking around the house. It has no appreciable impact on her as far as you can tell, but it helps you feel connected to the divine, and a little goes a long way.
Sometimes you even try a sort of walking meditation while carrying her. It’s hard to concentrate, but watching the breath brings peace to your life no matter when you do it or for how long.
6:35 am Your daughter is wiggling, but it looks like she’s staying asleep. Amazing. This deserves to be immortalized in a blog post. You could write it as a time-stamped journal with a new entry every ten or twenty minutes. It seems like that would—
Whoops, back to meditating.
6:43 am You can’t help but open one or both of your eyes every time you hear her make a sound, so it isn’t a deep meditation, but it’s better than anything you’ve experienced recently.
6:50 am You probably should have started your Kriya Yoga practice a while ago. You’re slow to start it, even though it’s the most effective meditation technique you know. You know this, and yet you love the technique of Hong-Sau. It’s—well, if you’re being truthful, it’s just easier.
At the moment, it’s a joy to be in silence with your energy withdrawn. But you start doing your Kriya breaths, since you don’t know how long you have left in the meditation—such things are no longer up to you. Your daughter has an adorable onesie that reads, “No one sleeps till I say so.” She might as well have another one, saying, “I’ll be the one to decide how long you meditate.”
7:02 am The wiggling has increased. She’ll be crying in a minute, you think.
7:05 am Your daughter wants to be picked up. You try the easiest thing first: scoop her into your arms, lie back so she can rest on your chest, and hold her just enough to stop her from sliding off.
7:06 am If you pat her bottom, is that energizing her root chakra? Would that be a bad thing, if so? After all, every chakra plays an important part in our spiritual, emotional, and even physical development. The root chakra, when properly awakened, helps us to be steadfast and loyal. Maybe it’s only a problem if there are blocks in the flow of energy up the spine or if the energy of it is directed in attachment towards the world.
The question, though interesting, is beyond you. You decide to split the difference and put your other hand higher up on her back, and pat whatever seems to work best to calm her.
You forget about this until tomorrow morning, the next time it’s quiet enough to worry about the impact of esoteric yogic principles on a baby’s development.
7:07 am She’s fallen asleep in your arms; what great luck!
7:10 am You finish your Kriya Yoga practice and focus on the flow of energy in your spine. Occasionally, you feel the energy expand and surround this beautiful little girl. Even with all its challenges, you see that this is a blessed way to meditate, and you’re glad that you’ve kept it going, even on the days when all you can do is a few minutes.
You remember Badri Matlock’s advice to parents in the Q&A on Family, Children, and Spiritual Life session the other day,
“Without being dogmatic, we need a commitment of the heart that says, ‘Spiritual living is of the utmost importance to me. Therefore I will make a commitment with the entirety of my being to a daily meditation practice.’”
Whatever you can do, at least you’re keeping it going.
7:16 am You notice that you’re getting sleepy. Maybe it’s because someone is literally asleep on you, or maybe it’s because you’re lying back, or maybe because the heater is on and it’s warm…
8:06 am A little person is wiggling on your chest; this always has a way of waking you up.
Well, God knows, Guru knows, that you fell asleep during meditation again. You get the sense that they understand.
8:08 am That was actually the best meditation you’ve had in a while. For a moment, you feel that everything is just as it should be, and your heart expands with gratitude for this perfect life in God.
8:12 am Your daughter is moving around and complaining. By this point your bag of tricks is empty and she’s screaming in your ear. Now it’s a little harder to feel grateful.
8:13 am She’s clearly ready for baby breakfast, so you take her in to her mom, now awake and sitting on the bed, with headphones in her ears. You see from the app on her phone that she’s been meditating for 27 seconds.
First, congratulations on your new daughter. This is a beautiful post. Thank you.
Awww :-) So beautiful…Thanks!
What a fun blog, Nabha, thank you for sharing. Great sense of humor, and a glimpse into the parenting yogi’s life! Thanks for sharing.
Too funny, Nabha.
Love the glimpse into your world!
God bless you three!
Keep it up :)
OHHHH – such sweetness !!!
Enjoy each precious moment –time w/ our children is “un viaje may rapido” !
My grandchildren are already adults. (& I am old as dirt..?)
A fortunate child whose karma brought her your sweet love.
Having been through all that you speak of here, I would like to share something Anandamayee Ma said to one of her disciples who complained that she could not meditate because she had a newborn for whom she had to care:
Ma told her, “just think of your child as baby Krishna and you will see things differently”. (Paraphrased)
Congratulations and God and Gurus bless you three!
Thanks Jayanti and Mary for mentioning this. I’ve been trying to work with it, only substituting the spirit of Yogananda for Krishna. It’s a good reminder that God is with us even in the sometimes very mundane moments.
Thank you for this wonderful blog.
It was suggesting to me by Sagar, when I was telling him about the difficulties for my wife and I have to dive into twice daily practice, with our 2 year old little girl who refuse to understand how great it is to lay down and get some rest ;)
I was reading it, as if it were actually happening to me ! It was very funny. You have such a talented way of sharing this experience.
Next time we struggle putting her asleep, though we have a spiritual appointment coming up, I will definitely try to bounce baby Yogananda, or baby Jesus… Even if it doesn’t help her to sleep, it will surely help me to never loose my temper !
Chanting for her in the evening is always a great moment we share. She might not fall asleep easily anyway, but at least she knows many chants by heart already.
Let us all enjoy those divine gifts we receive all along our journey on Earth, and experience ever more deeply the inner joy that never leaves us.
What a delightful post ❤
So beautiful! What a great inspiration to your new journey. Master is blessing you.
Beautiful – and Swamiji mentioned to me that for the first two years – “Love your baby as your own baby Krishna…”
God is within… Do your best… Love God, and Guru in your sadhana and in your little one. It is all worth it.
My son, Keith, and his wife, Michelle, just brought home today’s their new little baby girl, Kimberly! These are wonderful tips as I see the immediate future unfolding ???
Congratulations Priya. Hope all is going well with them. :)
Thanks for sharing! I’m expecting my first child in March so this is a nice glimpse into my near future. Jai Guru!
Wow, Julie! Many blessings to you and your family. So many spiritual opportunities, and what a gift to share whatever you can of higher consciousness with your young one.
So beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Blessed family!
How real, and heartfelt, and open hearted. This is a wonderful gift to all parents with a spiritual practice. I hope this becomes a regular kind of post, a life affirming, loving tribute to the new energies in which you and a Radhika are immersed!!!
So beautiful. So absolutely charming. Such self-honesty and sincerity is deeply moving. I trust Divine Mother is much pleased with whatever we can give when we give it with childlike sincerity and openness. “Even a leaf offered with devotion is pleasing to Me.” Thank you for the hearty laughs and heartfelt inspiration, Nabha.
That really is a spectacular blog :-) Really wonderful!
Much appreciation for the joyful sharing in the Truth as Ame and I are on the newborn baby journey. Brought a smile to my being and offered gentle reminders that it’s all practice and doing the best we can at any given moment. All is Love! Peace and harmony be within each and everyone of the Divine Mother Fathers ideas. Aum Guru Aum God Aum.
Thanks for sharing, Aryeh, and congratulations! It is a journey indeed.
In France they have a saying, “There’s no such thing as a perfect mother.” I guess we can’t say “There’s no such thing as a perfect devotee” since the whole idea of Self-realization is to become perfect — but in the sense of checking all the boxes on what we think a perfect devotee does, I think God gives us a lot of slack. “To he who loves much, much is forgiven.”
Joy to you.
Thanks Nabha for sharing such a wonderful meditation experience. Your post has really given me inspiration to lead a peaceful life in any circumstances ?
This is fabulous, Nabha – truthful, sincere, and funny! Bless you for sharing this. Your spiritual efforts are surely making a difference. Will there be a part two now that Mala is older??
Hah, thanks Joy! I’ve been thinking about writing one called “Practicing the Presence of God with a Toddler.” :)
Hihi, Nabha, this is an awesome post! Are there more like this! So utterly authentic and charming, but still very inspiring! Thank you for sharing!