I recently sat down in my meditation room one morning to get ready to meditate and noticed a sun beam shining through the window. The light beam shone at an angle that hit our altar table where my husband and I keep sacred photos, objects, and statues of our lineage of Gurus. To my surprise, the sunlight brought to my attention a thick layer of dust covering the entire table! Oh no, I thought, this is no way to keep the sacred space where we pray and worship the great ones.
It was now or never, I thought. So I stood up to get some cleaning supplies and returned with the mission to tackle that layer of dust before meditating. Instead of thinking this would take away from my designated meditation time, I chose to make it a part of my spiritual practices.
As I cleaned, I was reminded of a talk that inspired me during the last Spiritual Renewal Week 2015 held here at Ananda Village. One of the speakers spoke about the importance of giving just 1% more to our meditation practices every day. He compared this to athletic routines or exercises, that when done the same way regularly, the practitioner’s body hits a plateau and then remains there, not progressing, unless he decides to add a little bit more to that routine each day.
The same is true with our meditation practice. For those of us who have been meditating regularly for some years now, we know what it’s like to get into a comfortable groove where we repeat the same thing morning and night, almost to the point where we put ourselves on auto-pilot, and no longer feel an inspiration to seek more and meditate deeper. When this happens we feel less inspired and less connected to our Divine Source.
Being a parent, when I heard the concept of just 1% more, I thought, now this I can do! If the speaker had said, “We all need to put 25%-50% more effort into our practices.” I think I would’ve said, someday that will work for me, but not now. However, 1% is so practical and doable for everyone; even me!
As I wiped the thick layer of dust off of my altar, I realized that the dust was symbolic of the old stagnant energy of my past habits that were keeping me from growing and expanding into higher states of consciousness. I washed it away with devotion, as I kept my focus on the love that I feel for God, and the gratitude I feel for His presence in my life. This simple cleaning session became an act of self-offering. (If only I could clean the rest of the house with this attitude! That’s another lesson for another day).
This time, as I sat to meditate, I felt the room’s vibrations were clean, fresh, and vibrant. My outer life was a reflection of my inner thoughts, and both had been in need of an upliftment of energy.
I’ve continued to apply this principal of 1% more to my meditation practices to this day. Each time I sit to meditate, I try to feel an awakening of devotion and inspiration in my heart before I begin. I choose what feels right in the moment, and practice one or more of the following:
- Chanting before meditating, until I feel God’s presence
- Reading a prayer from Whispers from Eternity
- Reading a few paragraphs from The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita or any other uplifting book
- Lighting a candle in self-offering to God
- Bowing before the altar with devotion
- Praying to the Masters, not mechanically, but with sincere interest
And so, the thought I’d like to leave you with, is to give this a try your daily practices. How can you make your spiritual practices fresh, ever-new, and more vibrant? Is there dust on your altar?