How can a person maintain a profound sense of tranquility and communion with Divine powers throughout their entire lives? Many hope to reach such a state, though the people who’ve actively chosen to walk this path know all too well the many difficulties this road presents.
It can even seem almost impossible to achieve this on your own, but nobody said you can’t find a guide: a mentor, a friend, or even a work of art. We can use spiritual poetry to guide ourselves through our life’s journey, educate ourselves and turn to these writings in times of need.
Reading poetry can be, in itself, a spiritual act that can aid meditation, as the two can often be intertwined.
Paramahansa Yogananda, and the Journey towards Enlightenment
Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian Guru who introduced many westerners to the art of meditation, is perhaps best known for his spiritual teachings through the use of mystical poetry. His most known work, The Autobiography of a Yogi, is often regarded as one of the best-selling spiritual classics of all time, becoming a staple resource in this spiritual world.
In his teachings, Yogananda often advised his disciples to integrate spiritual poems into their spiritual journey, in particular encouraging them to memorize his own poem, Samadhi, which describes his personal experience of cosmic consciousness.
In this poem, Yogananda recounts the many challenges he was faced in his spiritual journey: “The universe, a forgotten dream, lurks subconsciously,
Ready to invade my newly wakened memory divine.”
Samadhi is the transcendental state reached through meditation, where logic becomes silences, and the spirit is freed from the conscious mind and body. Even so, the “universe” or the material plain continues to lurk subconsciously, as Yogananda puts it, threatening his paths towards enlightenment. But through meditation, these challenges can be overcome.
Yogananda encouraged his disciples to study, memorize, and recite his power as a reminder of the intricate path spiritual liberation often presents, and the effort it often takes to achieve it. This teaching was a part of his Kriya Yoga teachings, which sought to help followers accelerate spiritual growth.
In his book the Autobiography of a Yogi, Yogananda claims “Kriya Yoga is the jet airplane route to God.”
It is an ancient meditation technique that involves energy and breath control, connected to a complex spiritual path that includes meditation and a perfected way of living, or dharma. It’s considered one of the most effective techniques available to us today in order to reach union with the Divine, by working directly with the source of our growth: the spiritual energies that lie deep within our spines.
Kriya Yoga is more direct than any other yoga practice, as it helps its practitioners control their own life force by mentally moving the life force up and down their spine, using their own will and awareness. Yogananda believed that one Kriya, meaning around half a minute, is the equivalent of one year of spiritual growth.
The effects of Kriya Yoga spill into the material life as well, with its followers experiencing enhanced abilities to concentrate, cope with life’s obstacles, and improving the self.
Meditation techniques of Kriya Yoga
- Energization exercises – Preparing the body for medication, which promotes mental and physical relaxation, and strengthens your will power;
- Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration – Learning to withdraw thought and energy from external distractions.
- Aum Technique of Meditation – Experiencing the Divine Powers as Aum.
- Kriya Yoga Technique – Reinforcing and revitalizing individual life energies.
Throughout this process, spiritual poems like Yogananda’s Samadhi can help Kriya Yoga maintain focus throughout their journey towards spiritual liberation.
Starting your Journey
Ellen Grace O’Brian is a Yogacharya in the tradition of Kriya Yoga and can help you start your journey towards spiritual enlightenment right now.