There are times when life seems to bear down on us. It’s difficult then to remain positive amidst the challenges in our life, and that we see in the lives of others, and in the world at large. Yet in this world of duality, the alternating waves of joy and sorrow are a constant. It’s how we deal with them that keeps us either forever tossed on the crashing waves of maya, or resting in the unmoving peace of God.
The road to happiness starts by replacing bad habits with good ones. Many people have a tendency to focus primarily on physical habits such as diet and exercise. But since we have a body, mind, and soul, we need to address all three aspects.
The spiritual path can sometimes seem like an endless struggle up a steep cliff, with little to show for our efforts along the way. But the ability to find the strength to keep going is what separates the dilettante devotee from the true seeker. Deep commitment is the secret to drawing God’s presence into our life.
It was near the end of a long race. The spectators in the stadium rose to their feet as the two leaders entered, the Kenyan slightly ahead of the young man from the Netherlands. Mistakenly thinking that he had finished, the Kenyan stopped a few yards from the finish line. Instead of racing past him, the Dutchman stopped and shouted that there were still a few more steps to go. The Kenyan was still confused, so the Hollander pushed him across the finish line.
Our life’s experiences, with all their joys and sorrows, mesmerize us with a sense of their undeniable reality. Yet, in truth, everything is only a thought in the mind of God. Paramhansa Yogananda (who related the story above) explains it this way: “This world seems real to you only because God dreamed you into existence along with His cosmic dream. You are a part of His dream. If, at night, you dream that you bump your head against a wall, you may get an imaginary pain in your head. The moment you awake, however, you realize that there was no wall there to hurt you. The pain you experienced was in your mind, but not in your head!
A common problem is carving out time for meditation. This challenge isn’t exclusive to novices—even seasoned meditators can find it tough to dedicate as much time as they would like.
Today marks my fifty-sixth anniversary of meeting Swami Kriyananda in 1967. I knocked on his apartment door in San Francisco soon after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, and he welcomed me not only into his home, but also into his life. While the lessons I’ve learned along the way are too many to list, I’d like to share some of the most significant ones with you.
Anyone who has tried to have a regular practice of meditation knows that it’s no easy thing. Creating time in the midst of daily demands, leaving behind worries and preoccupations, summoning up enthusiasm every day: All of these and more are challenges we all face.
We recently heard a remarkable story about Sri Yukteswar. Many devotees have a little difficulty relating to him, since he seems a bit forbidding. Perhaps it is because in Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda writes about him in his role as both teacher and disciplinarian, a job he took very seriously, especially knowing that he was preparing Master for a world-changing role.
Devi wrote recently about our pilgrimage to sacred sites in Varanasi, Kolkata, and Serampore. On our last day in Serampore a very special gift was given to us.