I recently received the following email from a young, dedicated seeker. His question is applicable to so many people who strive to undertake a practice of meditation and sadhana. Therefore I am sharing his question and my answer with you all.
His letter read as follows,
“I have one (1) question for you, Swamiji, In this busy world where there is so much going on and there is so much to do in just one working day, I find it difficult to slow down my thoughts and to sit down to pray in the evenings everyday when i return from work. How do you I focus on God? How do I sit down for even 10 minutes and focus on him? Could you advice me?”
The answer is simple: My dear, just love God. When you love Him, truly, then the focus will come automatically. When we love someone we don’t have to remind ourselves to think about them. We automatically think about them, whether we are driving the car, riding in the elevator, taking a shower, anything! The object of our love is always in our minds. If we pass an ice-cream shop and we know that our beloved loves ice-cream, we will automatically remember the beloved. If we pass a street sign that has some letters of the name of our beloved, we will see the beloved’s name in the sign! When we see a beautiful sunset or hear a beautiful song, we automatically remember our beloved.
We don’t need to take a mala to chant the name of our beloved. If we love Radha we don’t need a rudraksha mala to chant “Radha, Radha, Radha.” Rather, our heart chants Radha with every breath. Our beloved’s name is never far from our lips or heart.
In the same way, when we love God, His name and His presence are always with us. The mala is a tool we use until the love and presence flow automatically. But, don’t worry too much about focusing on God. Rather focus on loving Him! Through loving Him you will find that you are always focused on Him.
But how to love Him? Where to start? Practice gratitude. Every day thank Him for everything you’ve been given: your legs to get up and walk, your hands to perform duties, your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your tongue to taste. Think about all the people in the world who are handicapped and don’t have these facilities. Then think about how lucky you are to have them. Think about how blessed you are to have enough to eat, to have a bed to sleep in, to have family who love you. Think about how blessed you are to have an education. Realize the number of illiterate, starving, abandoned children in the world. Realize the number of widows, widowers, refugees and homeless people. Count your blessings.
As you thank Him each day for all your blessings, you will find that love for Him grows in your heart, for it is only He who has bestowed these blessings upon you. It is only by His grace that you awake from sleep each morning….
Then, as you start to love Him more and more, you will find that you automatically focus on Him. Not just for 10 minutes in your set “meditation” time, but all day every day.
Then, your breath will become a mala and every inhalation will chant His name.
With love and blessings.
In the service of God and humanity,
Swami Chidanand Saraswati