Quite possibly the biggest challenge that I have faced in my sadhana is that of variability in terms of intensity of meditation. Although it is stated that one should not seek meditative experiences, in the beginning stages such experiences can enhance a seeker’s motivation and create a virtuous cycle leading to deepening of the practice. While I have made a point of sitting down every day to do my practices, in my experience the session can sometimes be a miss. I have tried to analyse the several factors which play a role in the same. I will detail them out in subsequent posts. However, in brief I feel the following things play a role in no particular order –
- Food consumed in the previous day or two – Heavy/rich food means dullness, lighter fibre rich food and skipped dinners have marked my best sessions.
- Physical tiredness if any due to insufficient rest or travel – This generally links to the next point and I have found that there is a golden mean of rest where I have to be , anything more or less can lead to sluggishness
- Disturbed sleep in the previous night
- Arguments, disagreements with others – This has caused emotional turmoil at that point and sometimes get carried over into meditation
- Overthinking on pending or previous tasks related to office or home – This creates an unnecessary feedback loop where mind continues to wander
- Illness of the body – This is self-explanatory
- Disturbances during meditation – It can be a sudden noise from outside which causes disruption
- Place of meditation – A separate room in one’s house with burning incense and good ventilation makes a world of difference. Hotel rooms are the worst.
- Phases of the moon – My deepest meditative states happened on Poornima or full moon day
With the learnings of the past sessions I have evolved my algorithm for things I need to ensure for a good meditative session. Even when I try to plan everything perfectly and balance out all these variables, there can still be an x factor which can throw things off balance. It can be very challenging sometimes to accept that despite all the preparation, the meditation session was not as deep as expected. This is where at least for me surrendering to my Guru has helped. Instead of getting overly bothered by it, I have started doing the practices as a form of offering to my Guru. It is still easier said than done !!
As Guruji says, when you are flying high above the ground, a small pebble can make you crash to the ground. So it is important to really pay attention to the small things in order to bring consistency and build momentum. However when all is said and done, Gurukripa Hi Kevalam.