Our thoughts are much more powerful than we realize. In fact, they are often self-fulfilling prophecies: If we are preoccupied, for example, with thoughts of failure, we can draw to ourselves the very thing we fear. On the other hand, if we develop underlying thoughts of success, we can attract those things that will lead to further achievements.
The same is true for our thoughts about meditation—it can seem hard or easy depending on how we think about it. Let’s look at some common problems people have that make meditation seem hard:
“When I try to meditate my mind is so restless.” This is a shared experience for everyone who sits to meditate. As soon as we try to focus our mind, restless thoughts come rushing in to fling our efforts to the wind. In fact, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna: “The mind is more difficult to tame than the wind.”
But remember, restless thoughts are just part and parcel of the conscious mind: having randomly firing activity is what the mind does. The trick is to find that part of your consciousness that observes these thoughts, but is separate from them.
The more we can relax and observe, the more we can sit in a state of concentration, which is when meditation begins. Once when Swami Kriyananda was a new disciple living with Yoganandaji, he was struggling to focus his mind in meditation. Finally, in frustration, Swamiji asked his guru, “Am I not trying hard enough?” Master’s answer was wonderful: “You are trying too hard. It’s creating tension.”
In his book Secrets of Meditation, Swami Kriyananda writes: “The secret of meditation is to send any vagrant thoughts in your mind soaring, like little balloons, upward through skies of Infinity until they disappear in the blue distance.” Meditation begins to feel easy, once we can stop fighting the restless mind, and relax beyond it.
Another common problem that people share is: “I don’t have any time in my day to meditate, and if I do carve out a few minutes once in a while, I can’t stick with it regularly.” There are some good solutions to these problems that can switch our thoughts about meditation from hard to easy.
First, analyze with honesty how you spend your time, particularly in the morning. Search for those extra five or ten minutes when you are lingering over your cup of coffee or browsing the Internet. Then make a commitment to yourself to USE THAT TIME EVERY DAY TO MEDITATE. Once you decide when and for how long you will meditate, stick to it. Meditation is a self-reinforcing behavior that will gain momentum as you commit to it. What at first seemed impossible for you will become not only possible, but eventually easily attainable.
Swami Kriyananda writes: “The secret of meditation is steadfastness: For the more you meditate, the more you will want to meditate, but the less you meditate, the less will you find meditation attractive.”
Finally, why is meditation easy? Because the soul already loves to meditate. It’s our natural state. Have you ever gone hiking with a heavy pack on your back? Remember the great feeling of relief when you finally took off that weight? That’s what it feels like when we drop the heavy load of restless thoughts and body consciousness that we carry around all the time.
Meditation is our natural home to which we long to return from the foreign land of ego-consciousness. Swami Kriyananda writes: “The secret of meditation is affirming that you already are those high truths towards which you aspire: inner peace, divine love, and perfect joy.”
Tomorrow when you sit to meditate, affirm that it’s the easiest, most natural thing to do. Soon this will become your reality.