It was quiet and cool in the interior of the dimly lit church – a dramatic contrast to the ceaseless activity on the college campus during this hot day in late spring of 1969. A friend had given me Autobiography of a Yogi to read, and it had awakened in me a keen desire to learn to meditate.

My friend had been studying meditation through the mail for three months and considered himself somewhat of an expert on the subject (a little prematurely, I’m afraid.) We decided to find a quiet place to meditate, and the little stone church across from the student library seemed an ideal place.

Without any idea of what to do, I simply found a seat on a wooden pew, closed my eyes, and relaxed into the silence around me. What happened next was an experience that remains vivid after all these years, and that determined the course my life would take.

First I felt a heightened sense of awareness, an expanded sense of personal identity, and a deep peace. As these intensified, I began to experience a great joy welling up within me that seemed to come from the core of my being.

After some time, I couldn’t contain myself any longer, and I enthusiastically burst out, “It’s all inside us – a tremendous sense of joy!”

My friend dismissed my words with a shrug, and replied, “Oh, no – it’s much more difficult than that. You have to study meditation for years and learn different techniques before you can experience anything.”

A little crest-fallen, I thought I must have done something wrong. It took me some time to realize that my first impressions had been quite right. The fruit of meditation, whether for a mere beginner or one who has practiced for years, is the experience of the joy of our own being. Don’t lose sight of this and mistake the means (the techniques of meditation) for the end (God’s bliss).

Paramhansa Yogananda gave us these words of encouragement: “If you have made up your mind to find joy within yourself, sooner or later you shall find it. Seek it now, daily, by steady, deeper and deeper meditation within.” This was the gift God gave to a beginning meditator many years ago in a quiet little church, an experience she has cherished and tried to build on ever since.

With deep gratitude,

Nayaswami Devi

13 Comments

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  1. It is really nice to read your first experience. Your peace & joy always reflects on your face, which I have seen from the very first day I met you. Aum soma

  2. Hi I dont mind that my comment was published but some people might especially when your website says that comments wont be published, and then it is! This is an important detail!

    1. Dear Christopher,

      Thanks for your words. To clarify, our webpage says your email address won’t be published, not your comments.

      Love,
      devi

  3. Thank you so much for this timely message! I’m really just so happy to receive it at this time. Raising a child and being part of a famoly is wonderful but has so far leftvno time for attending meditation classes or practicing tequniques, but when I have caught a moment alone to meditate my expexperiences have been wonderful beyond what seems like appropriate context to be having them…

  4. Dear Devi,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story… So meaningful now and always…

    I also had my first divine experience of God love and Joy pervading everything in that same city, walking on the frozen lake in Madison, WI. No way did I “deserve it” – but I fully recognized it for what it was. I knew we were all made of God’s love and it pervaded everything… By God’s grace we are sometimes given the complete picture in the movie “trailer”, but we still have to watch the whole movie to complete our understanding, Thank you for the reminder – for now that I have seen much of my life’s movie – I can see that it’s time to live in that divine joy and love always. I ask God and Guru’s grace to make it so…

    Love in Master,
    Mary

  5. This is such a sweet story. I know that Joy can bubble up whenever I am concentrating on Divine Mother and Master. I’m so happy you had that experience and we are all blessed by the channel you have grown into. In Joy

  6. Bless You Devi and Thank you so much for this post.
    I was just thinking today about what is opposing my progress and I
    received the guidance of your post and from another source saying
    to trust your first instinct; that when we reflect too much, inspiration and
    clarity are lost in self-doubt.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
    JAI GURU!
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  7. Hi Devi,
    I just read the Touch of Light this morning. My first response was simply wow, Wow, WOW. Then I remembered an experience at a Kriyaban Retreat with Dianna on my 50th birthday. It was winter at the Meditation Retreat and we were meditating 3 hours a day. It was a deep week. During a morning meditation I had a flash about a childhood issue that troubled me. I had not been thinking of it at all. I suddenly and completely understood how that situation protected and served my greater happiness. I wanted to jump up and shout to everyone in the meditation dome “Don’t you see? It’s all perfect! Everything is perfect!!” The issue resolved in that flash and never troubled me again. To this day, I feel only peace and gratitude about it.
    Thanks for sharing your touches of light.

  8. Bravo! This is so important. It is easy to get stuck on the techniques and forget why we do them in the first place…..we can find ourselves worrying about doing it “the right way,” instead of getting into the Presence. Meditation can become just another thing on our to-do list instead of the profound experience of joy. Thanks for all your posts – they are great and much appreciated!

  9. Jyotish and Devi,

    The Touches of Light are so inspirational. Thank you for doing this each week. No matter where we are, whatever distance separates our physical bodies, you feel ever near through these letters.

    Joy to You,
    Willow

  10. I’ve been consistently reading touch of light letters. It feel like I’m climbing a mountain where I run out of water…very thirsty and suddenly I find a stream of water coming out of mountain quenching my thirst and help me climb up further. These letters resembles that stream of water where it doesn’t need any purification as it comes from pure source.

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