If a little meditation can give you this kind of experience...
by Pragya Gerig
I grew up in a little village in the countryside, where being Catholic and going to church at least once a week was a must. When I was a little girl I asked my mother, "How do you pray?" She told me, "You just have to imagine talking directly to God." This was the best part of my spiritual education.
When I turned 20 I moved to Nuremberg. In Nuremberg I attended services at different churches, but there I felt nothing. At the same time I heard for the first time of the teachings of Sri Krishna and Buddha. I learned that they had taught the same principles as Jesus – love, devotion, compassion, forgiveness. I felt confused, and since I often doubted certain things in the institution of the church, I stopped going altogether. I thought, "I will just be open to everything – one day I will find the right faith for me."
After I stopped going to church, I sometimes woke up in the middle of the night screaming and having the really intense feeling, "I have forgotten something!" At that time I did not consciously know what I had forgotten; but unconsciously I was searching for a connecting link with God. I converted from Catholic to Protestant and listened to various spiritual talks. Finally I went regularly to a Christian student community at the university. Whomever I met and felt inspired by, I asked: “Do you know the way to talk to God?” Even the priest at the university was asked this question. Every semester we had a brochure about the whole programme in this student community – from meditation to theatre practice. Finally the priest agreed to add one more item: “Talks about God.” Every programme was well attended, except for that one – it seemed nobody wanted to talk about God.
Then, finally, I thought I had found what I was looking for. In this student community I met some really inspiring girls who belonged to a Christian group. They lived a pure life – like nuns – in a normal world, with an open heart, and tried to be a shining example to the rest of the world. I was really impressed by them – how they behaved, and how strong their belief was. So I thought, “That‘s my new way.”
For years my boyfriend had been doing a kind of meditation of his own. Often I used to scold him, “That‘s just a waste of time, sitting there and doing nothing.” In the meantime my boyfriend had read a book about occult practices, and I thought, “Either I find him a meditation group that suits him, or I have to break up with him.”
Soon I discovered a poster for a lecture about meditation. It took me a whole day to convince him to come with me. The lecture and the person who gave it were not to my taste – I found everything quite boring. I would have left after five minutes, but my boyfriend insisted on staying, since I had bothered him the whole day and forced him to come with me. So I stayed until the end and even took a leaflet about their books with me.
One or two weeks later I got the idea that I could try to do meditation on my own. I found a little booklet with a simple meditation technique, where you imagine the sun in your heart. I was sitting there for maybe ten minutes, imagining the sun in my heart, and when I opened my eyes, I was overwhelmed with what I saw. Thousands of streaks of light were coming out of my body and mirroring my subtle body, so that I was just facing my subtle self. I thought, “If a little meditation can give you this kind of experience, how will it be when you really meditate?” At that moment I remembered the leaflet with the books about meditation and immediately ordered the book Meditation by Sri Chinmoy.
When I got the book and started reading, I thought, “That‘s what I have been looking for all along!” In previous years I had tried to read a few books about Zen, but I always fell asleep after a few pages. This book I could read for hours, and it contained all the themes I always wanted to know about. So, Zen meditation was not meant for me in this incarnation. I fell in love with the meditation book and read it a few times within a week – but I had a kind of fear when I saw the pictures of Guru. Then the idea came to me: "You just have to look in the eyes of the picture. There you will see the truth."
So I took the photo which was captioned 'Sri Chinmoy demonstrates contemplation' and looked into his eyes. As soon as I looked into his eyes, my heart started racing – really fast and hard. Light was streaming into me, and it felt like an explosion of light in my heart. I could see my whole body filled with glowing light. Before, I had read in the leaflet that Sri Chinmoy was a sportsman. At that moment I was directly connected with Sri Chinmoy, and so inwardly I said, "I am very sorry, but I have to shut the book! I am not a sportsman like you. I think I will get a heart attack if I don‘t close the book!" I never, ever had this kind of racing heartbeat before or afterwards. I closed the book and was sure that I had found a real Master.
From that moment on, the only wish of my heart was to become a student of this Master. Within a few days I wrote to the address listed in the book and asked how I could become a disciple. One month after I got the book I was accepted as a disciple.
One month after I had sent in my picture, my boyfriend sent in his picture, too. When I told him my experiences while doing meditation, he said to himself, “What she can do, I can do, too.” And later he confessed that within three month he had made more progress than during the previous seven years, when he was meditating on his own.
I am eternally grateful that I got the chance to meet my Guru, and to be his disciple.
First steps on the spiritual path
More stories from Sri Chinmoy's students.