San Francisco to Frankfurt . . . Frankfurt to Rome . . . Perugia to Rotterdam . . . Amsterdam to Delhi. This has been our journey since mid-August as we’ve traveled to various Ananda centers in Europe sharing Master’s teachings. (We just arrived in Delhi today.)

International travel can be challenging and stressful, but fortunately Jyotish and I handle it fairly well. For some people, however, flying in itself causes great anxiety. They’d rather take a train, boat, or car—anything other than a plane—to reach their destination.

There’s another kind of fear of flying that affects many people on the spiritual path. It’s the apprehension about “taking off” spiritually, or in other words, taking a leap into the unknown of expanding awareness.

A longtime devotee and friend of mine told me recently, “Occasionally I’ll begin to go deeper in meditation and touch a level of awareness that I haven’t experienced before. But as my consciousness expands, I instinctively pull back. I really don’t know why.”

What is it that makes us inwardly withdraw from deeper experiences in meditation?

One common cause is a feeling that we’re not yet ready or worthy to experience expanded states of awareness. This is just the ego trying to defend its own turf. It plants in our mind the misconception that we have to earn the right to grow spiritually.

We don’t need to be “worthy” to be calm. Holding the mind in deep calmness is what opens the doors to expansion of awareness. So when a new level of depth begins to emerge in meditation, try to hold your mind and breath steady. Don’t push it away, but rather relax into it—just as we relax into our seats as a plane is lifting off the ground.

Another cause for pushing away deeper states is the thought: “I still have many duties for which I am responsible. I have to keep my feet on the ground.” Yes, most of us must fulfill our worldly responsibilities, but that doesn’t preclude going deep in meditation. Sri Yukteswar advised his disciples to “keep your feet on the ground, but your head in the clouds.” In fact, time spent in deep meditation actually helps us to fulfill our responsibilities, because it brings greater clarity of mind, energy, and intuitive perception.

afraid of flying

In a beautiful ceremony written by Swami Kriyananda, God says to the devotee: “Open your heart to me, and I will enter and take charge of your life.” The more we can surrender our life into God’s hands, the better things will go. So try to remember that, contrary to what the ego thinks, it is God who is responsible for our life.

Finally, we often pull back from deep meditation for fear of the unknown. We think, “I’m not sure who I will become if I lose my sense of individual identity.” I can tell you, however, having watched hundreds of devotees develop over time, that they become more clearly who they already were in essence, and more able to express their own unique soul nature.

Master said, “When this ‘I’ shall die, then shall I know who am I.” So let’s strive to transform the fear of flying spiritually into the joy of soaring in our own higher Self, in the limitless skies of divine consciousness.

With joy,

Nayaswami Devi