Sri Ranjit Maharaj called the way of understanding, or Self-enquiry, the bird’s way, in contrast to meditation, which he called the ant’s way. The ant goes very slowly and, if it tries to climb a forest tree, it may die before it reaches the destination. The bird, on the other hand, flies easily from branch to branch. Maharaj always taught that you are yourself the reality, and so you are already free, free as a bird, without limits. You are He, the reality, right now, only you do not know it with certainty. To have that understanding of who you are, you must get rid of the false notion that you are something other than that reality.
Meditation, chanting a mantra, and various kinds of physical and mental disciplines may be useful to prepare the mind for understanding, but the end of seeking is not reached until there is Self-knowledge. The solution has to involve Self-knowledge because the problem is one of Self-ignorance. No spiritual practices that you undertake can solve that problem. You can meditate six hours at a stretch and enjoy blissful states, but as soon as you stop that activity, you are back in ignorance again! You have to find the answer to the question “Who am I?” When you know that, ignorance disappears and you know everything that you need to know.