Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More

Category: Health and Healing

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You Are What You Think
March 25, 2015

S
India

Question

Hi

I have been told several times that our body face and overall physical appearance is a manifestation of our thoughts. The shape of our eyes, nose, forehead, lips, smile, limbs, palms, fingers, texture of our hair.... all tell us the thoughts we have harboured for years. Is it true? Is there any science to study the character of a person from his appearance.

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Answer

Dear S,

Current discoveries in science and the ancient teachings of the sages both tell us that our every thought, our every feeling, affects our body. Every thought or feeling we have sets in motion a cascade of physiological events. With a single thought, neuropeptides, the body’s chemical messengers, are sent to billions, even trillions, of our body’s cells instructing the cells to produce proteins. Those proteins can set in motion even more physiological events such as turning on or turning off genes, stimulating or subduing he body’s metabolism, or triggering the stress response.

The ancient sages simply say that our consciousness manifests the body every moment. As our consciousness changes so does our body.

Over time our habitual thoughts and feelings etch themselves into the appearance of our body. Various systems have been developed to "read" what is etched in our body. The lines on your palms, the colors in the iris, the shape of your ear, your feet, and more, all tell a story to one who has been trained. But you don’t have to be trained in one of these sciences to read what is etched in the body. Just look at a person and you can “read” them by their posture, their walk, the way the carry their body, the expression on their face when they think no one is looking. A habitually positive person will be looking up, spine erect, with an energetic walk and a smile on their face. A habitually sad person will be looking down, body slumped, with a plodding walk, and a blank look or a frown on their face.

To the sensitive, every aspect of a person has a story to tell!

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Carina
Germany

Question

Hello ,

In the past the Ananda Experts have answered questions about the spiritual view of donating organs. But what about blood, stem cell, and bone marrow donations? Have either Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda ever commented on that? Is it spiritually right? Is there a spiritual difference between donating organs and donating blood, stem cells or bone marrow? (A family member was saved by a stem cell donation and many people I know regularly donate their blood and so I wonder... ) Thank you very much

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Carina,

I don’t remember Paramhansa Yogananda commenting on these things but it seems fine for devotees to offer blood, stem cell, or bone marrow donations. These are done while one is still living. The issue with devotees donating organs at the end of life has to do with the impact on the soul leaving the physical body.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Adam
USA

Question

I mean no disrespect, but from my studies, those who practice the energization exercises and Kriya have the ability (in time) to recharge their "body batteries" to maintain physical strength and avoid sickness. Why then, did Swami Kriyananda seemingly suffer from so many physical ills in his older age (unable to remain standing during lectures, etc.)? Even Yogananda seemed to age quite noticeably before he left his body. Just trying to understand, thank you in advance.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Adam,

It can be tempting to think that spiritual advancement equates with physical health. But it doesn’t. Many perfectly healthy, long-lived people have not a touch of spiritual interest or attainment. And highly advanced souls, having human bodies as they do, inevitably grow old and die. Meanwhile, they often use their spiritual attainment to take upon their own bodies the karma of others (usually that of their disciples). Add to that the fact that, when a great master has finished what he or she was sent to earth to accomplish, God calls them back home through the agency of a body that, at some point, simply stops working.

If you read the lives of saints and masters, you'll discover that they seldom use their spiritual power to heal themselves; in fact, I’ve never heard of one doing that. They’re too busy helping others to fuss over their own health. As Swami Kriyananda said, “My body is Divine Mother’s problem.”

Blessings,

Gyandev

SJ
India

Question

Aum Guru,

I know that what I am about to ask is not a good thing for a person on the spiritual path( I am a kriyaban).But, my lack of hair is really affecting my self-esteem and I feel depressed. Can you provide me with a spiritual solution like a prayer chant for thick healthy hair?. Thank you.

P.S-please do not publish my name on the site. Thank you once again.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear SJ,

Thank you for your question. Ultimately we must understand that we are made of God’s light, but it is natural to want to look one’s best. You do not mention if you are male or female, or young or old. Is your "lack of hair" severe enough to get in the way of marriage or career? These days it is fashionable for men to shave the head, so that is why I ask you if you are male or female.

Here are a few ideas to help you:

  • Practice gratitude for the things that are healthy and well in your bodily temple. Do you have healthy eyes, ears, skin, feet and hands and internal organs? If so, give thanks for the miracle of wellness that is happening in those areas of your health. Be grateful every day.
  • From this grateful attitude, you can then visualize that every atom and cell of your being is well in God’s Light. Know that this is already true in your astral body.
  • Please also do this affirmation every day for general wellness and lifting of your spirits.
  • From this attitude of wellness you can pray to be guided to an answer, and then leave it in God’s hands. Be at peace. There are many solutions to help one’s hair to be thicker, in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and in western herbal traditions. Let prayer and gratitude guide you to find the solution.
  • Finally, determine to be at peace with your situation, no matter what the outcome. Be not only at peace, but be in full joy and love. Be grateful for every good thing.
  • Write something in a gratitude journal, every single day.
  • And if still you find you are regretting your general lack of hair, please look up Nicholas James Vujicic. He is in his early 30’s and was born with no limbs. He said, “I never met a bitter person who was thankful, or a thankful person who was bitter.”
  • And consider getting an attractive wig or headscarves, etc. Make yourself as attractive as possible, so you can then forget about it. Do your best and leave the results in God’s hands.

And last but not least, find a way to be of compassionate service to others, such as the poor orphans or widows in India. (Ananda India has recently started a trust to help the less fortunate.)

Please do not feel that I am saying this in order to minimize your feelings about your hair, or lack thereof, but rather to help you find the pathway to joy in the midst of this karma. I hope and pray you will be deeply blessed with Guru’s grace.

Blessings,

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Siddharth Patel
India

Question

How can I reduce my sleep quota? I am asking this question because I cannot wake up at Bram Muhurt for chanting.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

Many factors affect how much sleep you need, so it’s impossible to say exactly what might best help you reduce your need for sleep. In fact, some people, due to their personal constitution and/or their life circumstances, should not try to reduce that need.

In any case, I suggest that you begin by exploring how to improve the quality of your sleep. The first places you might look are your diet and your daily schedule. I recommend Vegetarian Cooking for Starters for an excellent treatment of yogic diet. As for your daily schedule, the more consistent your bedtime and rising time, the better will be the quality of your sleep, and hence the greater will be your potential for sleeping less. Here is a post on my personal website on my personal website where you'll find a number of simple tips for better sleep.

At the same time, strive to meditate regularly and ever deeper. When meditation is deep enough, it will reduce your need for sleep. Here is an excellent meditation technique that Paramhansa Yogananda taught.

Blessings,

Gyandev

Condolences for a loss
November 4, 2014

g s nayyar
india

Question

I have lost my father recently. I miss him terribly many times in the day. I want to have some contact. he never comes in my dream also. though my mother sees him dreams often. has he forgotten me. Is it final goodbye. the thought makes me miserable. God bless him always.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

I am so very sorry for your loss. And I apologize that I let some time go by before replying to you.

My own husband died a little over 2 years ago, so I do understand what your family is going through. My grown children were ages 19, 27 and 31 at the time. Our hearts were broken, but we have gotten stronger with time.

First, be grateful that your mother, at least, is having the dreams about him, for they were deeply connected in life, so she is able to receive his presence in her dreams. With my family, I came to see that every true dream was a gift to all of us — one that increased our understanding and love.

When a soul crosses over, they have entered a new dimension. It isn’t necessarily very easy for the soul to reach back into our dimension and communicate through a dream. Or, another way to look at it is that they may be trying, but we also have to lift ourselves up toward the astral dimension to be able to receive a dream. The book, Karma and Reincarnation: The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda can offer deeper insights.

Quotes from Paramhansa Yogananda on life after death:

When a dear one dies, instead of grieving unreasonably, realize that he has gone on to a higher plane at the will of God, and that God knows what is best for him. Rejoice that he is free. Pray that your love and goodwill be messengers of encouragement to him on his forward path. This attitude is much more helpful. Of course, we would not be human if we did not miss loved ones; but in feeling lonesome for them we don’t want selfish attachment to be the cause of keeping them earthbound. Extreme sorrow prevents a departed soul from going ahead toward greater peace and freedom.


To send your thoughts to loved ones who have passed on, sit quietly in your room and meditate upon God. When you feel His peace within you, concentrate deeply at the Christ center, the center of will at the point between the two eyebrows, and broadcast your love to those dear ones who are gone.Visualize at the Christ center the person you wish to contact. Send to that soul your vibrations of love, and of strength and courage. If you do this continuously, and if you don’t lose the intensity of your interest in that loved one, that soul will definitely receive your vibrations. Such thoughts give your loved ones a sense of well-being, a sense of being loved. They have not forgotten you any more than you have forgotten them.


Send your thoughts of love and goodwill to your loved ones as often as you feel inclined to do so, but at least once a year — perhaps on some special anniversary. Mentally tell them, “We will meet again sometime and continue to develop our divine love and friendship with one another.” If you send them your loving thoughts continuously now, someday you will surely meet them again. You will know that this life is not the end, but merely one link in the eternal chain of your relationship with your loved ones.

So, please focus deeply on the fact that you can send your love, and he will receive it. You have control over that. And you can pray to God and Guru to be blessed with a sacred dream of your father. If one comes, please write it down so it can bless you again and again.

And, finally, a few years ago, Swami Kriyanandaji recommended another book to a young woman when her father died: Talking to Heaven: A Medium’s Message of Life After Death, by James Van Praagh. On my own, I had found this book after my husband died, and I found it to be true... So I was comforted to learn that Swamiji had recommended it, as well.

May God comfort you now and always,

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

N
Austria

Question

Hello

I have recently met a man who is wonderful, isn’t particularly spiritual but supports me in my path and is supportive and helpful and very loving. I realized recently that I have a problem with lying, I do it even without knowing when or why and for little things — how do I rid myself of this so as to protect me and our relationship? I feel so sad and disappointed in myself, I find myself crying a lot and think of ending my life sometimes... I am not sure what is wrong. What do I do?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Congratulations on finding a wonderful man. Even though he is not yet on the spiritual path, from what you describe he exhibits spiritual qualities. So, for now, give thanks for that.

It is a concern, however, that while you are on the spiritual path, you have this nagging habit of lying, even in inconsequential matters. It doesn’t makes sense, unless in a past life you had to make a habit of lying — but the question is, Why? Were you a spy? Or did this habit develop in childhood? Whatever the reason, you are wise to see that this will destroy a relationship. And, ironically, you were honest here about having this problem of dishonesty. So there is hope. But, please stop crying and berating yourself about lying, just forget about that.

Instead, focus on developing a love and fascination for the opposite quality: truthfulness. Read about it and contemplate it. Practice it in small ways. And once you love the concept of truthfulness, practice non-lying as a specific discipline.

"To tell a truth is a more spiritual karma than to tell a lie, for truthfulness develops a refined awareness of what really is — of the Divine Reality behind all appearances..."

The Path, Chapter 28, “Reincarnation” by Swami Kriyananda

And please, no more saying that your partner "isn’t particularly spiritual." If he tells the truth, he is spiritual. This will help keep you on equal footing. Appreciate his spiritual qualities.

Finally, these two affirmations from Affirmations for Self-Healing will be very helpful to you now:

Affirmations for Self-Healing: Truthfulness

BY J. DONALD WALTERS (SWAMI KRIYANANDA)

Truthfulness is not caustic statements of unpleasant facts and unflattering opinions. Such statements are usually born of pride. But truthfulness is the effort always to see the divine truth behind appearances. It is the effort to express always that aspect of truth which may prove the most beneficial.

Truthfulness, as applied to ourselves, means not to hide behind self-flattering justifications: to look honestly at our real motives for doing anything, and not to flinch before unpleasant realities in ourselves. Truthfulness means seeing things as they really are, but then looking more deeply for ways to improve those realities.

Affirmation

Whatever is, simply is; I cannot change it for the mere wishing. Fearlessly, therefore, I accept the truth, knowing that, at the heart of everything, God’s truth is always good.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I will not fear the truth, for I know that Truth comes from Thee. Help me to see behind all appearances Thy smiling, all-compassionate gaze.

Affirmations for Self-Healing: Courage

BY J. DONALD WALTERS (SWAMI KRIYANANDA)

Courage: There are three kinds of human courage: blind, passive, and dynamic. Blind courage doesn’t count the cost until it finds itself faced, horror-stricken, with the bill. Passive courage is the strength of will to adjust to reality, whatever it may be. And dynamic courage is the strength of will not only to accept reality, but to confront it with another reality of one’s own making.

There is a fourth kind of courage: not human, but divine. Divine courage comes from living in the awareness of God’s presence within, and in the realization that He is the sole Reality. Live more in Him, for nothing and no one can touch what you really are.

Affirmation

I live protected by God’s Infinite Light. So long as I remain in the heart of it, nothing and no one can harm me.

Prayer

I look to Thee for my strength, Lord. Hold me closely in Thy arms of love. Then, whatever happens in my life I shall accept with joy.


I also suggest that you buy the book Affirmations for Self-Healing so you can focus on any other affirmations deeply for one week at a time. This will keep you encouraged in your spiritual development. I believe you can buy it from Ananda Europa.

And finally — please watch this free video: A Healing Affirmation by Paramhansa Yogananda. This affirmation will help you in those moments when you are discouraged and feel like ending your life. Please don’t ever do that. Do this instead:

Focus deeply at the spiritual eye, and repeat three times:

“I will with my own will, which flows from the divine will, to be healthy to be well, to be prosperous and spiritual, to be well, to be well.”

I wish you the best in all things.

God bless you,

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Powerful healing mantras
November 3, 2014

K Kaul
Australia

Question

Hi

I would like to practice a healing mantra. I note our Guru didn’t focus on these. Can I use a healing mantra given on YouTube by Gurunath? Do you recommend any? What are. Your views on mantras for healing? Thanks

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Thank you for your question. Do you mean Yogiraj Gurunath Siddanath? I wasn’t sure what to say at first, because I had never listened to him, so I looked him up on YouTube. I listened to one of his mantras and it was powerful, and reminded me of a mantra Swami Kriyananda had taught to us here in Ananda Village. ("AUM hreeng kleeng...") It was powerful listening to the mantra on YouTube just now, and I understand why you feel it would be beneficial.

That being said, there is the issue of attunement to one’s own Guru or lineage. Are you aware that Swami Kriyanandaji created a powerful CD called Mantra? (Or you can read about here if you are in India.)

Swamiji’s AUM, Mantra of Eternity CD is also very powerful and healing. Try playing either one of these CDs for 21 days and you will feel changes in your consciousness. So please first get these two CDs so you know what your own lineage has to offer.

If you then decide to listen to other mantras first pray to Master and ask him to bless and guide you, and smile in your heart if it is right. Listen with Him in your heart, and all will be well.

And finally, you can read a wealth of material here about healing.

I wish you all the best in your journey.

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