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Victory in the Moments
April 22nd, 2010

I lost the battle last night. Yogananda said that life is a “battle for joy” – and I lose more often than I like to admit. When you find a true teaching, a true guru, and a spiritual family who reflect and support your ideals, it is a major victory, and life seems infinitely more doable. But the real work has just begun!

There is something else Yogananda said – that we should be able to “stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds”. That brought to mind images of Yogananda standing calmly while all around him volcanoes erupted and earthquakes raged and whole worlds exploded. Then one day, while trying to hold onto joy and reason in the midst of some trivial life event, I realized that “crashing worlds” didn’t necessarily mean galactic cataclysms. Little teeny, tiny worlds crash when the car runs out of gas, or your children don’t do the dishes, or you don’t meet the deadline. So then, that understanding translated into pictures (my visual learning style is showing) of miniature little worlds exploding around me during those small, but challenging, life events that come to us daily.

But I continued to believe that I had to tackle life in big chunks. I struggled with being who I wanted to be at work, at home, being a mom, and being a friend, in this circumstance or that. I worked on defining myself as a disciple under all circumstances, and that was another step in understanding. But life is hard, and I kept working with all the tools Yogananda has given us, to do life better – with more joy and awareness.

Gradually, (so gradually!) I broke up life into smaller and smaller pieces. I worked on being joyful for this day, for this morning, for this task. I tried to be a channel for joy with this person, or while confronted with that challenge. But it was, too often, more than I could do.

I’m not sure when it happened, but a new level of understanding came clear. The battle became for each moment, each breath and each heartbeat. The battlefield is not outward circumstance, it is in the spine – where energy moves and consciousness is the territory. Now I ask Master, “How do I meet this moment with the highest consciousness?” And gradually (why does it have to take so long?), it becomes just one question and one answer, for each moment and each thought.

I lost last night because I stopped asking the question, and the slope down to lower consciousness is steep – an easy, fast ride down to the bottom. I felt the failure this morning and I didn’t want to get out of bed and face the battle again. But the battle wasn’t waiting for me when I got out of bed; it was there in bed with me! In my thoughts. Laying there meant more territory lost, and the battle wasn’t going to end because I didn’t like it. So I asked the question, “Master, how do I meet this moment with the highest consciousness?” And I got out of bed and asked again. By the time I hit the shower I felt a glimmer of victory.

 

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19 Responses

  1. Dambara Begley says:

    Great, Lorna, and so timely–thanks! :)

  2. Tyagi Rambhakta says:

    Holy smokes, Lorna. I hope when I’m at the Village someday I’ll be able to shake your hand. The insights you gather and share from your life are valuable to me. This article reminded of something I heard Nayaswami Jaya say, years ago – that in the beginning of the spiritual path his focus was on the big breakthroughs: samadhi, major personal changes, etc., but that now he was just happy if he could have the right attitude, be “even-minded and cheerful,” in the small moments of the day. I ran for an hour with Nayaswami Jyotish recently when he was in Palo Alto. He told me that his spiritual life has become very simple, just eliminating everything that keeps his heart separate from Divine Mother. Hm, I guess we’re all in the same spiritual classroom at Ananda – learning similar insights at the same time. Thank you.

  3. Ana says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience.
    I’ll remember every day to break the life day into pieces and to get happy in each part. If, for some reason I cannot, I might not be firm in my purpose only in a part. However, I won the day and got my purpose.
    My gratitude to you all.
    Ana Motta

  4. niru says:

    precious!!

    will read this daily for a week atleast!!

    a small victory for all of us. a giant leap for our spiritual devlopment :)

  5. Chelananda says:

    [smiling]

    Thank you so much. We’re told that if we’re faithful in the little things, we’ll be given bigger things. I’m not so sure that our perspective isn’t inverted; it seems these irksome little things are enormous, while people tend to do well in true cataclysmic disasters, often not realizing the scope of what they’ve gone through until after the event. I’m smiling because children can be our best teachers. aaarrrgh. You’ve helped me not feel so alone in allowing the collapse of calm joy into ugly vexation, in having to take things a minute at a time. Nevertheless, Master tells us not to dwell in a failure but to re-boot and keep going, with willpower and devotion at the helm. Thank you.

    His bliss be Yours

  6. Barbara Bingham says:

    This is wonderful, Lorna. Thank you so much for the post. Blessings to you and your family. Barbara

  7. John Edwards says:

    Beautiful!!!

    Thanks you for sharing:

    May you remain ensconced in JOY.

  8. Dear Lorna,

    This exactly mirrors my own experience from last night and this morning! Just like Rambhakta said, maybe we tend to learn similar lessons at the same time.

    I particular appreciated the last paragraph, where you said, “But the battle wasn’t waiting for me when I got out of bed; it was there in bed with me!”

    The inspiration I felt in reading this paragraph, in fact, was what actually got me out of bed this morning.

    Cool.

    Blessings,
    Nabha

  9. kvakutty says:

    There is a joy in living from moment to moment,
    keeping continuously in touch with that Supreme Consciousness which is present everywhere.That
    joy is inexpressible. This article is inspiring.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Jane says:

    Thank you so much for the timely reminder! You hit it right on!!

  11. Tyagi Sue says:

    Didn’t Master say to watch the minutes is more important than watching the years?
    Lorna, what an inspired piece of writing. One all devotees can relate to. There is such truth in what you say. Thank you, enlightened soul.

    AUM

    sue

  12. Karl says:

    Oh Lorna! I can’t thank you enough for this honesty, for this inspiration, for this conscious effort that we all must achieve, work on, and strive for! We on this Path have been specially blessed with so many gifts and tools to help on our way. Thank you and thank you Master! Thy Peace, Thy Love…Om!

  13. Beena says:

    Thanks, Lorna. Your words came at the appropriate moment for me.
    Love,
    Beena

  14. Hanuman says:

    Sounds like you’re singing our song!
    Blessings Lorna and Thank you

  15. Kaaminii says:

    So you were with me this morning too aye, well it’s good to know I have you as a friend and in my corner even though we’re miles apart now I know what your saying and after today I am so glad I have you! Although I miss your hugs terrible!

  16. Nancy Cralle says:

    Thank you so much, Lorna for pointing out victories in the moment. I tend to look for the big things too, and must remember that all the little things add up to big things. Love and blessings to you. Namaste~

  17. Aimee Ryan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Lorna. I deal with this same feeling more mornings than I think I am willing to admit. It helps to know that there are others who also go through this.
    You have been a great inspiration to me since the day we met, and I think of you (and your warm smile) often…especially if I am having a hard day. You radiate joy every time I see you! You may not realize it, but you have gotten me through some very rough times. So thank you, and keep on smiling…it’s infectious and you never know who might really need it!
    Love and Blessings,
    Aimee

  18. Dianne says:

    Lorna, thanks so much for sharing. A wonderful reminder for taking practice into the challenges of daily life. Peace, Dianne

  19. Daniel says:

    A practiced and useful post, thank you Lorna.