It is a little ironic for me to be writing about this subject just now. Here at Ananda Village, in Northern California, we’re in the midst of yet another major storm, experiencing the greatest rainfall in over twenty years. The rivers are roaring, the reservoirs are full, the mountain snowpack is huge, and more is on the way. Maybe, just maybe, getting soaked whenever I step outside is what got me thinking about dry spells. But let’s move on from the weather and talk about those spiritual dry spells and how to deal with them.

Photo of the Yuba River by Barbara Bingham

What triggers a spiritual drought? Here are three important causes: lack of will power, a temporary drop in our “specific gravity,” and the effects of past karma. The way to deal with each of them is different.

Lack of will power. Paramhansa Yogananda defined will as “desire plus energy directed toward a goal,” and said that every test is a test of will. We might think that the solution to a dry spell of this nature would be to put out more effort. Generally speaking, this is wrong. Will power, it turns out, functions somewhat like a muscle. It gets fatigued by overuse and too much stress. It is stronger in the morning, when we are fresh, and wanes throughout the day and during the week. If you want someone to grant your request, try to ask him on a Monday morning.

Athletes know that overtraining leads to injury. We spiritual athletes, too, can push hard when we are fresh, but need consciously to relax when we’re tired. For me, this means that my morning meditations are longer, deeper, more focused on techniques, and more intense. I have more will power when I’m feeling rested. In the evenings, I tend to do more inward chanting and adopt a “softer” approach to my sadhana. But everyone is different, so work with your own rhythms. Self-discipline is absolutely necessary, but should be applied with discrimination.

Specific gravity is how light or heavy our consciousness is, how sattwic or tamasic. If your specific gravity is lower than usual, then be more careful to avoid people, places, entertainment, and even foods that pull you down. As with will power, our specific gravity tends to drop when we’re tired. Build in rest periods, do things that are fun and uplifting, monitor your energy level, and you’ll find that you will quickly pop back up to your normal buoyancy. Then you can try to go even higher.

The effects of past karma. Spiritual dry spells are generally due to past moods, indulgences, and lack of discipline. Counteract their effects by making the right spiritual effort now. What is the right effort? In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says, “Yoga is not for him who eats too much or who fasts too much, who sleeps too much or who sleeps too little.”

In other words, efforts that are balanced and consistent gradually overcome internal resistance. When our energy flows without resistance, we find that we have plenty of will power and a buoyant specific gravity, and that past karma loses its force.

Finally, pray for God and Guru to help you in your efforts. Remember, they are on your side.

In joyful balance,

Nayaswami Jyotish

32 Comments

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  1. Thank you, dear friend. I do go forth (perfect..I’m still working on) in Faith with my God Given gurubhais supporting me to always succeed. In deepest gratitude and Divine Friendship. Namaste

  2. Thank you, Jyotish! Another wonderful and wisdom-filled article. I have been enjoying and looking forward to these blog posts each week. With Love and Gratitude … <3

  3. We kriyabans know Babaji is God, physically immortal,has whatever he desires in life:please tell me what specific kriya kundalini techniques I must practice to achieve these seemingly impossible goals; and achieve like Babaji: physical immortality,God,my desires in life: true love,God’s love with a wife,billions,trillions to give back to Babaji,Jesus,my wife; please help me achieve these goals like the great God Babaji himself has already achieved in kriya yoga!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Hello, your article on spiritual dry spells was really what I needed to read after a long struggle. You just hit the nail on the right spot, hence I’d like to request you to suggest more ways to counteract them, I didn’t realise how spiritually drained I’ve been and how this has been affecting my academics. But I’d really like to move on and feel rejuvenated again!

  5. Dear Baba,

    Thank you for making me understand about Specific Gravity. I was never able to figure this one out.

    May You always be a Channel for Yukteshwarji’s Wisdom and Power for all.

    With God and Gurus Love and Light.

  6. Thank you Jyotishji.
    This is very relevant for me now, to read between applying willpower and relaxation in balance (and with willingness and openness to grace). Thank you. Om Guru.

  7. Thank you Jyotish. For your wisdom and guidance. I also appreciate the reminder to take Seclusion that you shared with us in the Inner renewal video.

  8. I am eating up this balanced approach, Jyotish. Every point here makes so much sense, and I already feel increased positive, motivated energy from it.

  9. Thank you Dear Jyotish for this great article, it contains everything ! And what a wondrous ending statement – I feel so uplifted as you have confirmed both prayer and answer that’s been in my heart and soul and I have been waiting to see it in print. Thank you again and God Bless always

  10. What an amazingly helpful post, Jyotish! Thank you for the clarity and suggestions. In Master’s Joy, jiavanna

  11. Thank You Jyotish,
    Beautifully written and expressed…

    … “efforts that are balanced and consistent gradually overcome internal resistance.”

    “When our energy flows without resistance, we find that we have plenty of will power and a buoyant specific gravity, and that past karma loses its force.”

    so true, so true!

  12. Thank you, Nayaswami Jyotish, for this wonderful article. Your words helped me so much and put things in a new perspective. It is comforting to know that I’m not alone when dry spells occur. I will put your advice into practice. I hope that it won’t be long until my own reservoirs and snowbanks will be full. Blessings…

  13. A good article.But also needed to be listed as a cause for spiritual dry spells is the presence of & attacks from the satanic force,which is,as the bible states, like a roaring lion roaming about & seeking whom it can devour.Especially & obviously in the world now, this conscious force which always seeks to steal,kill & destroy, appears to be more prevalent,powerful & active than ever before.Therefore,what is also much needed are instructions which give proven effective methods a person can & must use in his or her life to properly confront,resist or battle & ultimately be free from the constantly present,deceptive,destructive evil force of maya

  14. Thank you for posting this. I have started a home chanting practice and evening is the perfect time for me to do this. It is good to relax and find the path of least resistance.

  15. Perfect timing, as always, with these comments on spiritual dryness. Exactly what I needed to hear today … As if Guruji, HimSelf, knew what I needed to hear… of course He does!
    Thank you for being His channel.
    Joy.

  16. That’s perfect timing. I always think that more effort is the key, like hitting the gas on a snowmobile. You have given me a great guideline to approach it in the right way depending on what’s Happening. Balance, what a delightful guidline. See you and Devi in June in Seattle ♡

    Bhaktan

  17. What a delightful and inspiring read. Thank you, Jyotish. “The path to God is not a sprint. It’s a long-distance race!”

  18. Oh this couldn’t have come at a better time, ya’ll are brilliant at tuning into the needs of souls lurking about:) This past week or so I was a wee bit upset with myself for not being able to meditate as deeply as I wanted to. I kept feeling something was off, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. After reading this and tuning into the feelings I was having, I know without a shadow of a doubt that fun and exercise was indeed the remedy to my resistance. Yet again, I thank you for this single dose of inspiration!

  19. This is an excellent article on spiritual “dry spells” that clarifies what is going on when we have them and how to deal with it.
    I found it very helpful!

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