We have two dear friends in Australia who are helping to lead Ananda’s growing work there. The man is a person with great openness of heart. When we spoke with them recently, his wife shared that when they’re in public, often a stranger will come up to him and ask, “Do I know you? It seems like we’ve met before.” In most cases they’ve never met, but there’s a quality about our friend that makes him feel familiar, even to strangers.

We observed the same phenomenon when traveling with Swami Kriyananda. People would often approach him, not having a clue about who he was, and ask if they might sit with him and talk. If it was possible, Swamiji would listen to them as they shared their problems, and offer what advice he could.

Why is it that people can feel so close and trusting with a stranger? There are several factors at play. First, as I mentioned about our Australian friend, his expansive heart quality touches people on some level. Through the practice of meditation and devotion, we naturally begin to project our love to everyone and everything around us. Others sense this love, and although it isn’t directed towards them personally, they are drawn to it.

A remarkable statement is attributed to Buddha: “We should try to love everyone we meet, because during the long journey of countless past incarnations, we have, indeed, known and loved each one.”

all the world is my friend

Strangers are also drawn to us when we radiate peace, a quality which develops naturally as we learn to be more centered in ourselves. Once in India with Swami Kriyananda, we were traveling together on a crowded plane. Every seat was taken, so Swamiji sat a few rows behind us. Upon landing, as we prepared to disembark through the front of the plane, we were instructed to allow those in the back rows to exit first.

As Swamiji passed by us in the aisle, he smiled and nodded. Though he was dressed in Western clothes, rather than his customary ochre robes, an aura of tranquility radiated from him. Two Indian gentlemen standing behind us had watched him greet us and asked who he was. After we explained, one of them commented, “India needs more men like that today.” Swamiji hadn’t spoken a single word, but they could feel the peace and joy of his consciousness.

Through the regular practice of meditation, we begin to change in ways of which we perhaps aren’t even aware. A greater capacity to love, unshakable peace, and deep joy under all circumstances—these qualities and many others become a part of who we are. Others may not know us or be aware of what is causing it, but they feel better in our presence.

The American philosopher and writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” The greatest good we can do in the world is to fill ourselves with those qualities—love, peace, harmony, acceptance—which humanity needs so deeply now. Though we need never speak a word, our God-attuned consciousness has a great power to uplift those around us.

It’s a wonderful practice also to actively share love with everyone, whether you know them are not. Look for the discouraged face, or the lonely heart, and help them to feel that someone cares. The more we serve as channels for God’s love, the more we feel that love flowing through us. As Master said, “The channel is blessed by that which flows through it.” Let divine love flow through you unimpeded, and you will begin to awaken to your oneness with all life.

Swami Kriyananda wrote a song for children that carries this message beautifully. The words are:

All the world is my friend
   When I learn how to share my love—
When I stretch out my hand and smile,
   When I live from above.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Devi