Commitment and intensity is the key to reaching the state of mind where you realise who you think you are and what the universe thinks you are becomes one.
Just as reaching to any target, the intensity of our effort matters. Intensity here is not to be confused with restless, impatience, hurry or speed. It is the focussed conscious effort that is thrown into the practice which generates the heat of Tapas. Intensity need not mean many hours of Sadhana put in one day of the week and the rest of the time, forgetting about it. It may be even half an hour or an hour to begin with—but it should be done continuously without a break for six months to see any kind of progress. It is an interesting experience to see meditators who just put in one session’s practice after they attend a lecture and immediately run up to the mirror to see if their face has become brighter! Consistency is also a word that goes along with intensity. Such practice dissolves the false idea that I am this body, breath, mind, intellect or I am the doer and enjoyer or sufferer. Constant contemplation and meditation dissolves the mind and removes the mental barrier that comes in between the inner and outer consciousness.
Intensity generates heat. Heat burns and destroys. At the end of the process of burning, there is just the remnant ash which gets easily dissolved and the consciousness shines through in its brilliance. Everything in nature happens when the intensity gathers. A few drops of water that evaporate from the ocean do not make a cloud. When the sky is saturated with water, thick clouds form. When the cloud is light and fluffy, it is just a pleasant sight to see as it floats by and does not bring rain. When the clouds gather together, heat is generated and there is precipitation as rain.
Of course everyone who practices this as a goal of life will get there sometime, but there is a lot of difference between the one who has this alone as a goal and who thinks this is one of the many things to do in life. There are stages of this intensity classified as soft, medium and really intense. Just as only the really heavy droplets of water that come from a rain cloud finally reach the earth, those who put in intense practice in anything they set out to do, more so meditation will finally get to that goal of merging with consciousness.
However, it must be remembered that only the effort towards this is our cup of tea, not the result. The result can be anything—fast, slow or never at all. Effort includes in its understanding a non-concern about how the result is going to be. Effort and intensity is indeed needed, but the real merger happens when all efforts are dropped. It becomes an effortless process when all the effort has already been put in as it happened to Gautama Buddha, when he gave up all efforts and surrendered completely.