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The Art of Money Management
July 4, 2010
I want to create a budget that allows for comfortable, yet modest living, and have money aside for savings, retirement, tithing, etc, but wanted to know if there were any lessons offered by Master or Ananda teachers on how to manage money in our very money-centered world.
Thank you for this very relevant question in these times in which we live.
One piece of advice Yogananda gave on budgeting is, "You should use one-fourth of your income on plain living, save three-fourths, and be at ease in your mind with a feeling of future security." His advice may be difficult to follow, but it provides a guideline. (This is from How to Be Happy All the Time, Chapter 5: "Simplicity is the Key", which you may want to consider reading if you haven't already.)
If you want to expand on the subject, consider Swamiji's course, Success and Happiness through Yoga Principles: Little-known Secrets of Prosperity, now available as an on-line course. Lesson Two: How to Magnetize Money, is available for free.
Good luck, Aruna!
Material and Spiritual Success
June 19, 2010
I would like to know if meditation and concentration is about controlling the mind and directing it toward God or other things and is the world made of "mind stuff". Can we also use these techniques to acquire materials needs as well as grow spiritually?
Thank you for your questions. Yogananda defined meditation as concentration on God in one of his eight manifestations: light, sound, wisdom, power, peace, calmness, love, and bliss.
It is of course possible to concentrate on other things besides God — indeed, we should try to give full concentration to whatever we do in life. However, concentration without God is not meditation, and taken alone, may not give us satisfactory results.
Is the world made of "mind stuff"? Yes, but the not stuff of our minds! Yogananda often said that God is dreaming our existence. The more we tune more into God's consciousness, the larger the impact we can have on this world.
As for your last question, yes: the laws of true spiritual success and true material success are the same. You may be interested in read articles on this subject from Swami Kriyananda's course, Success and Happiness through Yoga Principles.
May God ever bless your efforts, Manoj!
Duty to Family and Duty to God
June 19, 2010
In my life I faced rejection from my work field. So I did not have a good job for long time. I could not earn much. At the age of 40 I felt rejection and stopped looking jobs because of fear of loosing. Now I am doing some internet things and making a life. As in India I could not earn much. Now in the age of 53 I wanted to seek the path of spirituality. But the thoughts about my duty to earn a fortune is giving a guilty feeling. I can be satisfied with what I have, but my family... How do I proceed?
Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear of your difficult past. I'm glad that the Internet is helping you to make a living.
I appreciate the dilemma you're in. When considering duty, we have to balance our duty to our family with our duty to God. We must do all that we can to help our families financially, without sacrificing our spiritual lives.
Swami Kriyananda writes that he has always made inner peace his "bottom line". Consider living this way: ask yourself, what can I do to increase my inner peace — for that is the truest wealth that we have to share with others.
God bless you, Raju.
May 4, 2010
Pls Clear my confusion, I have attended Level 1 & 2, class at pune,
For few months now, i have been a partner in a chicken processing business, but as spiritual seeker i want to be a vegetarian, Is it ok to continue that business with friends, i want to use all the earnings from that, for a charity, or education of poor childern, is it a bad karma, pls explain on this, as a guru what will be ur advise to me, pls help me in deciding on this issue. thanks in advance.
I appreciate your dilemma. If you want to become a vegetarian, by all means do so!
As for your business, I can't advise you as any kind of an authority — you will find the right answer inside as a feeling in your heart. I can, however, share with you a few points that Swami Kriyananda raised when he was recently asked a similar question by someone in Pune who works as a fish farmer. Swamiji said,
"What really makes meat eating bad is the consciousness of the animals: they have anger when they are killed. Fish don't have anger — death is sort of inconvenient. Cows are more evolved: they feel fear and anger, and they fill their flesh with those vibrations. Fish, chicken, and lamb are better. Beef, pork, veal are better to stay away from.
"Does your occupation get in the way of your spiritual life? No. You have to support yourself somehow. I would say, give your blessing to the fish that you catch."
"On the spiritual path there are many more important things than diet. It isn't what you eat, it's what you speak — it's what comes out you that determines what you are."
In divine friendship,
Reconciling professional and spiritual lives
February 1, 2010
Swami ji always tell us to have an attitude of acceptance in life and at the same time he stresses to avoid acts that take us deeper into delusion. In that light I am confused sometimes to take a decision while accepting any assignment.I am a doctor by profession and a member of Ananda for last about 3 years. and recently I've got an invitation to attend one of the conferences to be held abroad focused on learning and sharing new medical skills.Please guide me if it is all right to attend ?
Absolutely, without any doubt it is fine for you to attend any and all medical meetings.
You are blessed in that you have been drawn into a profession that is a wonderful way of serving others and therefore serving God. God is everything and manifests in and through everyone.
As Swami Kriyananda says in his book Affirmations for Self Healing, "Work should always be done as well as possible, and in gratitude, simply, for our God-given power to be useful to our fellow man."
Right attitude is what is at play here. When we see our work as service (or seva) then we are not being deluded when we strive to do our best, but rather training ourselves to act as pure channels of that Divine love and light.
Pursue whatever training you need to serve your patients in the best way you can. As you travel and as you interact with your colleagues keep your energy focused at the point between your eyebrows, and mentally repeat Swami's prayer, "All that I do Lord, I do for the love of Thee."
Om, Peace, Amen.
Uprooting Thoughts of Failure
December 18, 2009
I'm struggling with thoughts of failure...
Thoughts of failure or success are rooted in the subconscious mind and can affect everything we do. When adverse circumstances, such a losing a job, come to us, it's important to find a way to exert strong, positive energy to keep failure consciousness from getting established in our minds.
Yogananda says, "When something is threatening to hurt you, do not sit idle - do something calmly, do something quickly, do something, mustering all the power of your will and judgment. Uproot fear by forceful concentration upon courage, and once you have uprooted it, get busy with methods to acquire prosperity."
Try to help your friend to see that this is an opportunity for him to find his own source of inner strength and confidence.
Difficult career choice
March 13, 2009
I have an important decision to make regarding my line of medical research. I am torn between the options to pursue a career in either Molecular Neuroscience or Reproduction, as both equally fascinate me. However, I want to know which course is more "dharmic" because both involve sensitive ethical issues. For instance, Repro involves playing with human life: stem cells, embryo manipulation, IVF etc. In Neuro, there is a lot of animal testing and cruelty. I realise this may be an unusual question
Without knowing the details of each career path, one can only give a general answer that might help guide you in the decision-making process. I'm guessing that each choice has a wide range of "dharmic" vs. "not at all dharmic" fields of research, so an absolute answer may not be possible in that regard.
(Editor's note: "dharma" is Sanskrit for "righteousness")
First of all, try to be guided by intuition, and not only by rational thinking and logic. Swami Kriyananda has written a book about this called Intuition for Starters.
Using your intuition is easier if you practice meditation regularly. It can also take some 'practice' to learn how to use your intution effectively. Here is a specific exercise from that book:
- Concentrate at the ajna chakra, the point between the eyebrows, which is the sending station for our thoughts. Now ask for guidance from the superconsciousness. You can send out a strong thought like, “What shall I do?”
- Wait for a response in the "receiving station" of intuition, the anahata or heart center. Be completely impartial, and try to feel a yes or no answer. It will become increasingly clear as you work on developing it. Sometimes that feeling will be very definite, but if it isn't clear there are things you can do to clarify the response you've received. Try posing alternate solutions, and see if one feels right in your heart. Remember, the answer doesn't come on a mental level. You can't think yourself to it. You have to suspend thought, and get it on an intuitive level. I've often found that the answer will come clearly at the very end of my period of asking for guidance. Sometimes I'll receive it days later when walking or relaxing, and not really expecting it.
- Finally, a problem is half-solved already once it is stated clearly. In seeking guidance, form a clear mental picture of the question you have. Then hold that picture up to the superconsciousness at the point between the eyebrows. People often struggle for a long time to find the guidance they want. No time is really needed: only sufficient mental clarity and energy.
This is only a basic technique. Further in the book Swami Kriyananda offers "subtle refinements that you need in order to practice it effectively."
You can also be guided by the feeling you get from meeting people who practice in these fields of science, or from visiting their places of work. Does one or or the other have a 'heavy' feeling or a 'lighter' feeling?
Finally, please keep in mind that we live in the world of dwaita (duality), where there is always a mixture of good and evil. For example, we can't drive to a church or temple without killing several bugs on the windshield! So try and choose a field that does the most good, with the least amount of harm.
I understand that all of the above is being suggested to a scientist making a very rational career choice! However, intuition, or "true feeling," should also be an important part of your decision-making process.
Loyalty in the workplace
March 13, 2009
Many companies value loyalty and long tenure in the employees. How does this correspond to Babaji's statement to Lahiri Mahasaya "Work is for man, not man for work"? Not acting against your company's interest is reasonable, but how about leaving for a better place?
Paramhansa Yogananda said to make our idealism practical which means that we need to uphold qualities such as loyalty but also put them into the context of our lives. Otherwise loyalty can shift easily into mere acquiescence and tolerance in our job situation.
It's wise to keep a sense of balance in our lives and appreciate our work as service. Try to do the best you can in whatever job you currently have and see if you can help create a better work environment. If, however, it truly appears that there is still a better place for you elsewhere, then weigh the pros and cons and make the change if it feels right. Try to make the change with positive energy so the company you are leaving will hopefully support you in the move.
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