There was a three-month period of my life where I had all the excuses in the book for not practising Atma Kriya Yoga. I told myself I was too busy. I couldn’t focus. I was too tired. You name it, I used it as an excuse. I still practised, but it was a shadow of a practice.
I’d do my obligatory one round of Main Kriya while struggling to stay awake, sometime after midnight simply because I realized I hadn’t done any Atma Kriya Yoga that day while I was brushing my teeth and longing for my bed. Afterwards, I’d crawl into my bed, fall asleep wake in a rush only to repeat the process the following night. My mind was strong enough to prevent me from seeing the problem with this. It would only be in empty moments, rare and sudden moments of silence where my radio wasn’t going off and no one needed anything from me and the paperwork wasn’t urgent, that I would find myself full of some grief or inexplicable longing for the practice I’d coveted in the years prior.
Sometime during this stretch, I had a rather unexpected visit with my satguru, Paramahamsa Vishwananda. He called me over to him and asked me how my Kriyas were going. I knew He was referring both to my practice and to my teaching. Both were suffering. Both were practically non-existent.
I looked away. ‘They’re okay,’ I whispered.
That was it. He looked away. Conversation over and I knew something had to change.
As both a student and teacher of Atma Kriya Yoga, I have heard or said nearly every excuse in the book. There are few that are most common and often the most dangerous because the mind makes them sound like good excuses. There is also a way to get over them.
I don’t have enough time.
As a teacher, this is one of the most common things I hear from students regarding their practice. To be completely honest, it’s also something I really struggle to help them with because I know it’s not true. I know it’s not true because it’s the same trap I fell into and got out of. It’s one of those things the mind comes up with to avoid it.
Ultimately, we all have twenty-four hours in the day. How we choose to use that time, is a reflection of our priorities. If you are the person who thinks you don’t have enough time, I encourage you to take some time to think about it. What do you prioritize over your meditation practice? Where do you waste time? Could you fill that time with a meditation practice instead? What expectations do you have for your meditation practice that, if you let go of them, would allow you to make it more of a priority?
If you really want to make meditation a part of your day, you’ll find the time. Make sure you set yourself up for success. Start small and build up. Everyone has five minutes to spare in their day. Find that five minutes and give that to God, give that your meditation. Build up from there. Like that, you’ll find the time.
I can’t focus. My mind is too active for meditation.
This is another excuse I hear a lot as a teacher. It’s also something I struggle with in my own practice. More days than not, my mind is more monkey than mind. It’s kind of the point. Meditation practices help us calm the mind.
In fact, there is only one person I know who can truly achieve a state of meditation. That is Paramahamsa Vishwananda. He can meditate. The rest of us are practising, so we can achieve a state of meditation. But that requires us to practice.
Mudras are an amazing tool for calming the mind. Jyanna mudra specifically can be super beneficial for this. If you’re not sure how to practice Jyanna mudra check out this post here. It will teach you how to do it.
Additionally, practice Japa. One of the first things the mantra om namo narayanaya does is calm the judging mind. If your mind is really active, start by chanting out loud. The more active your mind is, the louder you chant. As your mind begins to calm, start whispering the mantra or humming it. Once you feel ready to sit your practice, start chanting silently. Allow yourself to go within and experience the mantra, then continue your practice.
An active mind is normal. But not meditating because you have an active mind is self-defeating. In fact, an active mind is a pretty good reason to meditate.
I just don’t feel anything
Yeah, this happens too. This is normal. It’s normal because expectations are normal. Not feeling anything when you meditate is typically a result of expectation. Whenever we have an expectation of what it should feel like, we close ourselves to experiencing it however it is.
Your sadhana practice is doing whatever it needs to do whether you feel anything or not. It’s doesn’t owe you anything.
Let go of your expectations and just allow your sadhana to be whatever it is. When you start to practice simply for the sake of the practice, for the sake of love, then you’ll open up to all the gifts it has to offer you.
After my trip to see Paramahamsa Vishwananda, I committed myself to my practice again and to teaching. It wasn’t overnight. It was a slow process of self-analysis, questioning the excuses I was making, and carving out time in my day that was just for sadhana.
Two of the biggest lessons I learned was that when I dedicate time for my sadhana, time for my practice, I feel closer to God. Even if I wasn’t focused or didn’t feel anything, in the space afterwards I felt closer to God simply for giving Him that time. The other lesson was that the world wasn’t going to end if someone had to wait ten, twenty minutes more for me. My life did not need to be ruled by other people’s needs. They would be just fine or seek out other help and it was going to be okay.
If you do anything today, carve out a few minutes for your sadhana practice. Just do it. Do it again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Let it be messy and chaotic. Let be beautiful and inspiring. Let it be whatever it is but just do it.
Due to our current climate right now all around the world we have people connecting via online platforms to do daily sadhana practice together. This is the perfect opportunity to delve deep into your sadhana with the love and support of our worldwide community.
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