Question: “How long before you start to feel the benefits?”
Answer: How long, depends on you. Let’s go to that sutra, a phrase, from the Yoga Sutras of Sri Patanjali, that tells you how long. “Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time without a break and in all earnestness.” (That means with all your heart and, for me, with all love).
This is the ingredient for success in any field you do in life. If you watch anybody who is successful in life, you will see that they’ve done it for a long time, without a break, meaning that they’re always focusing on it, and with all their heart— they love it! Let me give you an example. Henry Ford, the car manufacturer, just focused on car, car, car, car and he got a car, and when he was successful he said that he did not know where all his information came from! He didn’t learn it from childhood; he thought the information must have been there in a past life, or from the heavens above!
Some of you are very good at certain things and never studied them or never have been taught it. I’m sure everybody in this room has a talent, and it’s inborn. Sometimes when you work with this talent you say to yourself, “But how did I know this?” I used to teach dance and I used to see this in a lot of my pupils. I used to watch them, especially the little ones, and I’d tell them, “Create your own choreography, make up your own,” and sometimes when I’d just taught them three or four steps, they would come up with their own beautiful dance. They used to create beautiful movements, movements they had never done before. So where did this knowledge come from? We never take time to look at these things. This is the process of meditation. It helps us to look at our life as it really is, to see beyond the physical eye. So, how long it takes depends on you.
Later on in the same book Sri Patanjali also says, “To the keen and intent practitioner this samadhi—(which is a state of awakening, of awareness, a state of knowledge, of enlightenment) comes very quickly.” (Book I sutra 21)
So it’s up to you, not up to me. If you’re excited and you want to know about your life, and you want to make it more peaceful, then all you have to do is to decide “I am not going to talk about meditation, I am going to do it every day, five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening.” That is how I started, and in three months, just three months, I noticed a difference. I’ve now been meditating for ten years. Six years ago I made a promise and I have not missed a single day since then. I will tell you what happened.
When you start to meditate, lots of wonderful changes start to happen in your life, as well as lots of tests. Tests to test your spiritual muscles. When I first started meditation I got a bit lazy and stopped practicing every day, sometimes I would skip a day. So I decided one morning, when I woke up, “No, I really want to know this knowledge that is beyond all knowledge. There IS a Spirit in me and I want to know it, because there’s nothing interesting out there.”
Really, after you’ve travelled all over the world and you’ve seen people and you’ve seen suffering, it’s the same story everywhere, “Poor me, poor me,” and you’ll see the really happy people will never say, Poor me.” I saw that the really happy people, the really peaceful people, are the ones that say God is in everyone.
Recently we met a lovely gentleman who is peaceful like that. His face was shining. He was seventy-one and he was shining. He was sitting in the hotel talking to my husband and they were talking about business and suddenly he said, “We’re all God’s instruments,” and we keyed in right away. I had thought he was just another businessman just discussing business. It’s very exciting when you tune into this energy, because once you tune in, you meet so many who are tuned in and you say, “Oh, this is a coincidence. ” It’s not a coincidence. Once you become aware, there are many, many, many miracles.
Returning to the question, “How long before you start to feel the benefits?” how long depends on how you want to practice! I became very excited seeing some of the progress in myself I just wanted to do more and more and more, and I still feel the same. One and a half hours of meditation today, is too little for me now. It’s too little because it’s such bliss, such peace. That’s the idea of meditation. How long depends on you.
Nalanie Chellaram ,having had the enormous privilege of growing up knowing Sri Swami Satchidananda as a close family friend, became a formal disciple of Sri Gurudev in 1986. She is an accredited Integral Yoga® teacher and teacher trainer as well as a therapist trained by the British School of Yoga. Nalanie is the first of a new generation of spiritual teachers. Her particular upbringing and education has given her a special insight into both Hinduism and Christianity, inspired by her Beloved Guru.
(Excerpted from How to Meditate by Nalanie Chellaram, reprinted IYTA Newsletter, May 2012)