Question: After we stop meditating, how can we maintain the level of consciousness we reached during our meditation?

Sri Chinmoy: Here we are all aspiring; that is why our consciousness is elevated. The meeting will last for about half an hour more. Then we shall go home and our consciousness will go down. How can we maintain our present level of consciousness? We can do it through constant remembrance.

After you leave the Centre and go home, you may not retain the same level of aspiration because of some family difficulty or other problems. But even if there is nothing to prevent you from continuing to aspire, your own limited being will not allow you to stay on the top of the tree. You aspire for half an hour with utmost sincerity and then relaxation starts. You feel that you have worked very hard and now you are entitled to rest.

But the spiritual life is not like that. If you want to maintain your standard, if you want to maintain the height of your aspiration, then your aspiration should be flowing constantly. Suppose you have meditated for an hour; then you may not be able to meditate again for another hour or so. It is difficult right now for all of us to meditate for eight hours. But no harm. For half an hour you can easily meditate. Then you can do something which will maintain and preserve your meditation. For the next half hour you can read spiritual books; then after that you can sing spiritual songs. Then you can go to the house of one of your spiritual brothers or sisters or, if that is not possible, you can call up someone on the phone and speak only about spiritual matters.

Again, you can write about your own experiences in your own way, not with the thought of publishing them but just to help your own consciousness. While you are writing them down, you are perfecting your spiritual nature. For half an hour you can write them down; then you will read what you have written. As soon as you have written down your experiences, you have created something. The creator always wants to enjoy his creation. Look at a gardener when he sees a beautiful rose. First he took great pains to plant a rosebush and to tend it; then after six or seven months when he sees the rose, he deeply appreciates and admires the beautiful flower. Similarly, you also may get joy from reading about your own experiences.

It takes fifteen or twenty minutes for you to eat. During that time try to remember what experiences you had while you were meditating early in the morning. Just imagine them. This imagination is not fantasy or self-deception. It is like charging a battery. You are charging your memory with your achievement, with your spiritual progress. Each time you think about your own experiences, you will be transported back to that time and you will get abundant Peace, Light and Bliss and so forth. So in this way you can always retain your meditation from the early morning and you will be able to maintain your standard until it is time for your next meditation.

But unfortunately people don't do this. We meditate for half an hour or forty-five minutes and immediately we feel that we are tired and exhausted. Then we do so many wrong things. It is a kind of negative reaction. We feel that we have seen one side of the river and now we want to go to the other shore. But the other shore is unfortunately all darkness. We have to try to remain on the shore that has light. So to preserve our meditation we will do other things which will increase or at least retain the power of the meditation.

During the week we have to go to work. Early in the morning we meditate and elevate our consciousness, but then we spend seven or eight hours at work and we are unfortunately compelled to mix with people who are unaspiring. We are thrown into a world of desire, fear, anxiety, worry and so forth, and our consciousness falls. So what do we do? Please meditate early in the morning and read spiritual books, sing spiritual songs, mix with spiritual people. Then, when you are in the office or involved in some other activity, try to remain in the consciousness of your early morning meditation and other spiritual activities. In your early morning meditation you have gained Peace, Light and Bliss, which is spiritual money. Keep that inside your own heart, which is the safest of all banks. Then, when you enter into the world, when you are in the office where it is all anxiety, worry and desire, you withdraw some of your spiritual wealth. You concentrate on your heart and bring forward a little of the Peace, Light and Bliss which you acquired early in the morning. It is your own wealth and you can use it. In this way you will be able to maintain your spiritual standard and keep your level of consciousness high.

Right now, we have to be very careful and wise in our day-to-day life about how we spend each hour. But a time will come when our life itself will be a continuous flow of aspiration. Now after our meditation we use the mind and think, "Oh, the time has come for me to read some spiritual books." But one day we won't have to make any conscious effort. Our inner being will inspire us to read spiritual books. Right now the inner being is inside, deeply hidden, but we are trying our best, through Yoga, to bring it to the fore.