Since we’re on the subject of obstacles, both old and new when it came to sitting down to meditation practice, I was happy to come across some notes I had jotted down from a question-and-answer session Guruji had with some new disciples during Kriya Yoga “check-up”, to see that they were practising correctly:
Q: (Kriya) Practice seems so hard! I can’t concentrate and sometimes I fidget all through practice. Am I wasting my time doing practice?
A: Yes. (I have to chuckle here, remembering how shocked I was to hear Guruji’s positive response and dead-pan expression. I did a double-take, until it became clear that he was being uncharacteristically ironic.) It is interesting, Guruji continued, that you will never think you are wasting time for the other activities in your daily life, yet for your meditation practice, your mind is telling you it is a waste of time. This comes from your fear and your worry about what you have been taught by society, and your family. But without practice, you will not know about your actual life.
Q: I feel that I am not a good enough person to do (Kriya) practice. Is this true?
A: There is no good or bad. Even Shakespeare said, ‘There is nothing neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.’ It is only the mind that makes all kinds of objections, especially at the beginning. They are not true. All you need to be concerned with are two questions. Ask yourself: “Am I practising correctly?” and then, “Am I practising regularly?” That is all.
Now back to the ‘ninth’ obstacle, namely that of being a Kriya practitioner who is a woman (nope, I’m not done yet!):
For the latter part of pregnancy you can’t do Kriya anyway, and once you are allowed to practise again, laziness isn’t the obstacle that it used to be. On the contrary, you may become super-keen. I remember those long months of breastfeeding three to four times a night so well, and how it made regular practice seem like mission impossible, because of course the baby always comes first and you are often operating at half-mast during the daytime. I remember having times when due to a lack of Kriya, I became quite desperate for meditation. Sometimes I managed to practice at 3am a few nights in a row directly after feeding our baby. As a result I would feel fantastic for the next couple of days: my mind was having a sauna in the peace, and my soul was having a party. So I would convince myself that it had to become a routine event, until my body rebelled out of sheer exhaustion, and the cycle would again be broken.
Then there was the issue with food. You have to practise Kriya on an empty stomach, at least two to three hours after eating, and under normal circumstances I can easily wait to eat, but during pregnancy and breastfeeding, that was a different story altogether. I was like a hungry rhino on a rampage who welcomed literally any excuse to eat! It was another obstacle that put a foot in the door of my practice at times.
If you are in this situation, there is one thing to be said: it does get easier. Babies grow up fast and each phase of childhood passes incredibly quickly. No doubt it is a challenge at any time of life to be a regular Kriya practitioner. No one ever said it was going to be easy! A commitment is a duty but at the same time, we can only do our best. Children themselves are such a joy, and so is Kriya practice. Perhaps it’s best to consciously realise … how doubly blessed we are if we get both!