Question: How can we avoid falling asleep during meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: We need sleep because the nerves need rest. But when we have dynamic energy, we can conquer sleep. When we have a free access to the infinite inner energy, we do not need sleep at all. Right now, for a few years, or for this incarnation, the body needs six or seven hours of sleep a night. But gradually we can decrease this need from seven hours to six, five, four, even three or two.

When we have enjoyed deep meditation — enjoyed in the sense of having drunk divine nectar — sometimes we feel drowsiness. We feel we are not totally awake and not fully conscious of what is happening within us. But this is not actual sleep. Deep within us there is constant, continuous, eternal silence, peace and poise. When we are absolutely calm and quiet in our inner life, we see that the inner life offers us its own energy. Our human mind cannot understand this energy, because it never gets it or even sees it. Only our heart receives this energy from the soul. If we can feel this inner energy during our meditation, then for hours and hours we can meditate without any interruption.

In our inner life of realisation we are well-established. We know that we are of God and for God. We know that we belong to God and God belongs to us, and that God-realisation is our birthright. But this inner realisation is static. It is the static way of holding the truth. But in our outer life of manifestation we have to prove that we are of and for God. We do this through our manifestation of the Divine within us. The divine manifestation needs constant movement. We have to feel inside ourselves a flowing river, a river of dynamic energy and dynamic light. Then we have to feel that we have become that river. Now, the river is not the goal; the goal is the sea. So we have to feel that we are in the process of continuous movement. We are running forward, climbing upward, diving inward towards our goal.

Silence-life we embody, but sound-life, unfortunately, we do not manifest in a divine way. We manifest it in a destructive way. When we fall asleep during our meditation, it is a kind of unconscious destruction of our own inner divinity. But when we feel that we are a river of dynamic energy and light flowing towards our goal, then we cannot be attacked by lethargy or sleep.

Some seekers feel that just because they have entered into the meditation room, their role is over. They feel that they have already reached their destination and now they can relax. That is why they fall asleep. But our role will be over only when we have meditated well and, at the end of our meditation, when we have offered our gratitude, or whatever we have achieved, at the Feet of the Supreme. If we are going on a long journey, we have to know that when we come to the airport, that is only our first destination. The final destination is not the airport, it is some distant city or country.

If we are supposed to meditate for an hour, we may sleep for forty-five minutes and do nothing but feel miserable for the remaining fifteen minutes. But let us feel that coming to the meditation room is only our first goal, that there is another goal which will take us an hour to reach. Once we reach this goal, then we can relax and enter into the earthly life, which is necessary for manifestation.