Yes, you read that right. A routine, high-quality meditation experience may give the impression of calm, gentle people, entirely at peace with themselves and nearly looking like they’re floating in the heavens. Or that they’re in blissful enjoyment every moment of their lives.

While those are the outcomes that we strive for and are typical benefits, a meditator’s life is not easy and rosy. It requires hard work, tenacity, grit, determination, and getting past periods of poor progress and even failures along the way related to spiritual achievements.

If someone sold you 10-minute stress relief, a magical solution called meditation that grants benefits ranging from a complete makeover of your personality to almost being able to solve world hunger miraculously, you have been conned.

Meditation is a long-term effort with delayed gratification. Or at least the deeper benefits certainly take longer to manifest.

Yet, what keeps us on this path is that it offers the promise of the most significant and highest achievement of the purpose of our lives. And the rewards in the later stages of the journey are unmatched and life-transforming.

So, let’s understand the hard part of our spiritual journey clearly.

What we’re pursuing is profound.

Over the last several thousand years, yogis dedicated their entire lives to the mountains and caves to access the Divine power and their Self-Realization (the experience of their spirit in their conscious mind). Most of them still did not find it. Many of them did crazy things like hanging upside down from trees, starving themselves to death in bitterly cold weather.

But the time for easier access to one’s spirit had not yet arrived. Today it has. But that doesn’t mean that the achievement itself is any less profound. The vast majority of the almost 8 billion people on this planet have faith in some subtler, higher power. We’re talking about us becoming that almost negligible percentage amongst them that can move beyond faith and experience that power on our Central Nervous System. It’s the jump from faith to a scientific, physiological, and cognitive experience of the power within us.

The task we have on hand was never meant to be easy, and we should not expect it to be. Nothing good in life comes easy, even if there is light at the end of the tunnel. So, we need to prepare ourselves for the long slog ahead of us.

The trials and tribulations

The spiritual state is incredibly subtle, so subtle in fact that we can miss it even we’re close to it. The goalposts can also keep moving. The deeper we go, the more we discover its expansiveness and how small and inconsequential we are in the scheme of things. And then, there are those tests at every step when we have a chance to go higher – some of these can be tough. For instance, in Sahaja, getting and establishing the Kundalini energy awakening is just the first step and the tip of the iceberg. All it gets us is a chance to get a foot in the door. Then, we have to master Thoughtless Awareness after that and higher states like Doubtless Awareness. And while we’re into all this, these states have to change our personality positively.

There are great experiences and unique discoveries to be made at every stage of this journey, but also obstacles and tests that we need to pass before moving higher and deeper. It isn’t for people who give up easily or lose patience.

Growth is never linear and smooth.

Last week we spoke about regressive forces constantly working against our spiritual growth and why doing nothing at all causes us to get worse. The spiritual journey has many ups and downs and long stretches of plateaus that we have to navigate. We need to understand and accept this truth and have the will to keep pushing ahead. Sahaja provides a lot of help and practitioner experience along the way, but it is the determination of the individual that ultimately makes the difference. It can often be a struggle and a fight to stay on board and not wilt or quit in the face of the intense attacks by negativity.

Sahaja is an exact and intricate practice.

We’re all used to learning using a cognitive process – through analysis and thinking. In that sense, Sahaja is counter-intuitive; we can only learn and grow by not thinking and analyzing. Learning happens through the experience of our attention at a higher level of consciousness. The more time we spend there, the easier it is to make progress and access all the benefits. It takes a long time to learn, practice and perfect the experience, awareness and interpretation of this higher state and the mechanism of vibrations.

Further, the vocabulary used to define and describe the subtler aspects of our spiritual system are limited as is the English language. Some ancient languages like Sanskrit are more scientific and suitable for learning aspects like states of spirituality, different experiences, etc. So it takes even longer and multiple tries to correlate the experience with the precise knowledge of the whys and hows behind the experience. A lot of people confuse things like “energy” and “vibrations” with a lot of other things they understand or are used to; in reality, Sahaja’s experiences are unique, while the underlying body of knowledge is nothing new. The concepts have been well-known and spoken about for centuries, just not tried and experienced by many.

Hence, most people, including many Sahaja practitioners, stop making progress or hit a plateau at some point in their journey of spirituality. However, the innate desire and determination to keep exploring and learning throughout one’s life is the only way to move forward.

What you can do

We need grit, determination, perseverance and patience to be successful in the pursuit of spirituality, but here are some things that make the journey easier:

  • Treat meditation and spirituality as a lifestyle change and not as one activity amongst many others we do in our lives.
  • More time, effort, and knowledge won’t necessarily help; we need a balance between experience, knowledge, and high-quality meditation. Many times, less cognitive learning and giving up all that we’ve learned thus far is more beneficial in the initial stages.
  • Focus on some high-impact strategies – collective meditation, surrender and humility, use of Mother Earth.
  • Negativity works round the clock to oppose our progress, even if we don’t, so we have to be stubborn, unyielding and uncompromising to them.
  • Brace yourself for the struggle and fight, but seeking out the varied and profound experiences along the way makes it totally worth it.