THE IDEA OF PROGRESS: the spiritual ego
Q. How am I to know if I am making any progress in my meditation?
AS: Those who meditate a lot often develop a subtle form of ego. They become pleased with the idea that they are making some progress; they become pleased with the states of peace and bliss that they enjoy; they become pleased that they have learned to exercise some control over their wayward minds; or they may derive some satisfaction from the fact that they have found a good guru or a good method of meditation.
All these feelings are ego feelings. When ego feelings are present, awareness of the Self is absent. The thought 'I am meditating’ is an ego thought. If real meditation is taking place, this thought cannot arise.
Don't worry about whether you are making progress or not. Just keep your attention on the Self twenty-four hours a day. Meditation is not something that should be done in a particular position at a particular time. It is an awareness and an attitude that must persist throughout the day. To be effective, meditation must be continuous.
If you want to water a field you dig a channel to the field and send water continuously along it for a lengthy period of time.
If you send water for only ten seconds and then stop, the water sinks into the ground even before it reaches the field. You will not be able to reach the Self and stay there without a prolonged, continuous effort. Each time you give up trying or get distracted, some of your previous effort goes to waste.
Continuous inhalation and exhalation are necessary for the continuance of life. Continuous meditation is necessary for all those who want to stay in the Self.