Question: What can I do if I tend to fall asleep during meditation and other spiritual activities?

Sri Chinmoy: This is a matter of giving importance to the things that come first in your life. Suppose something important is taking place and at that time you are falling asleep. For eight to nine hours before that, you have worked very hard for me; therefore, you feel it is quite natural on your part to sleep. There is no end to our power of justification. But by justifying yourself, are you gaining anything? Suppose I held a very high, significant meditation, and you slept through it. You think, “He knows I have worked for him,” which is true. You can justify your sleeping. But the next question is, is there anything you have missed by sleeping through the meditation? There is, and you will not be able to get that thing by justifying yourself.

Then you have to ask, “Has Guru given me outer permission to miss this activity just because I have worked?” At the press when they work overnight, sometimes I tell them that they don’t have to come to meditation. If I say this, then I take full responsibility, and I will definitely give them the fruits of the meditation they otherwise would have had. But if you do not have my permission, you will get the fruits of your previous dedicated action. But for your sleeping I will not be responsible, because I have not made any commitment to you. You will say you were tired; I will say you were lethargic. Here is the proof. It takes only a few minutes for you to approach me and ask me what to do. Then I make a commitment, and the problem is solved.

There are various ways to keep yourself awake when you are sleepy. Do japa as fast as possible. Wash your eyes, nose and ears with cold water. Pinch yourself again and again. Stand up and keep your eyes open. A little physical discomfort is nothing in comparison to what you will get in return: Peace, Bliss and Light. The problem lies with your sincerity. If you are sincere, you will value everything properly.

Some people meditate for a half hour, then they feel that they are in a position to relax, watch television, read comic books and so on. They have meditated for a half hour, but they don’t realise that perhaps this half hour has only taken them to the starting point. When we are not realised we have to be very very careful. So, if you have worked extremely hard and you are unable to meditate with your normal intensity, after you have meditated for half an hour you can read some of my writings. Or, if you are at home, you can listen to my music or look at my paintings. Your Guru has quite a few things to offer. I have written poems, I have composed songs, hundreds of things I have done.

Stop wasting your time watching TV and reading magazines. You run the fastest by meditating, but when you become tired, don’t give up running. If you sit down, you are disqualified. You can continue running, but go slowly. Relax your speed, but continue to discipline your life. Meditate. Repeat ‘Supreme.’ Read my writings. All of you should do this. There are so many ways you can keep your consciousness on me very easily, because I have a variety of spiritual activities for you. If you don’t like this one, you will like that one. When meditation becomes difficult, you can read. If you lose your concentration, you can sing. When you are tired of singing, you can come back to meditation. This is how you can regulate your life. Run the fastest when you have the capacity. When you don’t have the capacity, then walk. But if you stop moving forward altogether, you will never reach the Goal.