Q: I Have studied eastern philosophy for many years, and meditated also. Over the last 5 months or so, I've diligently practiced Self Inquiry. The fruits of the practice were extremely beneficial, as I felt a deep, luminous peace in the so - called "heart center" by drawing the mind inward via this inquiry. But lately, I feel I've hit a barrier; I feel like there is a wall that I can't seem to cross in my "heart center", which I easily could cross even a few weeks ago. What has happened to me? And how can this problem be solved?
A: These ups and downs and fluctuations are quite normal, and everything is unfolding perfectly. However, I will offer a couple of suggestions:
- Explore different ways of doing the inquiry. Here are some suggestions: The Practice and Purpose of Self-Inquiry. You can also use this experience itself as a new direction for the inquiry by sensing deeply into the felt sense of the barrier and exploring it as fully as you can. Especially explore the sense of self that the barrier gives you, and also the sense of self that any resistance you might feel to the barrier gives you.
- Alternatively, just let go of the inquiry for a while and either return to your meditation practice, or maybe even try a completely new spiritual practice. The body/mind naturally becomes acclimated to any repetitive activity, and so it can be very effective to occasionally change your approach.
- After a while, you can return to the inquiry and see if it has a different result. You may find a new and richer appreciation for it after you have been away from it for a while.
- Finally, remember that all spiritual practice is just a way of making yourself available to Grace. Whatever you experience and whatever results appear are completely up to the infinite intelligence that is and always has been unfolding your life. Your experience in every moment is guided and created by that intelligence. Even this barrier you feel is here for a very good reason. There is no wrong experience to inquire into, it is all grist for the mill. What is the gift that the barrier is giving you? What is it showing you that you have not seen yet? And ultimately what is here right now that is completely untouched by, and at peace with, the barrier just as it is?
I hope this is helpful.