Question: How long should one meditate? How long can one meditate?Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the individual seeker. One athlete may practise running for half an hour while there may be another who can run for only two or three minutes. In the spiritual life also it depends on how far the seeker has advanced. There is no hard and fast rule that we have to meditate for ten or twelve hours. But if we can meditate soulfully and devotedly for one, two or even six hours, we should do it. We should continue to meditate as long as we can do it soulfully and devotedly. But if we meditate beyond our capacity, we will get headaches and have serious problems. Someone might force himself to meditate for twenty-four hours, but what kind of meditation will it be if he does not have the capacity? This will not bring about any satisfactory result. On the contrary, one may become insane.
The best thing is to meditate as long as we can without creating any mental disturbance or any difficulty in our spiritual life. It depends entirely on the capacity of the seeker. It is like developing a muscle. Today we may exercise and become tired after five minutes. After ten days we develop our muscles and we can exercise for half an hour or even more. In the spiritual life there is a spiritual muscle. This spiritual muscle is our inner intensity, our aspiration. How long and how sincerely we can cry for God is our inner muscle.