Category: Health and Healing
Are Tea and Coffee Bad for You, Spiritually?
September 30, 2013
Is tea or coffee bad for spirituality like alcohol? They cause addiction too.
It depends on the effect they have on you. If you find tea or coffee addictive, then like anything else that is addictive, it will weaken your willpower—and a strong will is vital to your spiritual life.
On the other hand, some people enjoy tea or coffee without any significant side effects, spiritually or otherwise.
So it’s up to you to answer honestly for yourself: Are you just as free with tea and/or coffee as you are without them? Then proceed accordingly.
I should add, however, that most of us have much larger issues to deal with in our spiritual life than addiction to tea or coffee, so don’t make too big a deal out of this. If tea or coffee addiction is the only thing holding you back, spiritually, then you are in great shape!
Stare This Karma Straight in the Eye
September 9, 2013
I have some suspicious physical signs that can indicate a very serious disease — multiple sclerosis. Even though I am far from being diagnosed I really struggle to stay positive. I try to meditate but am often distracted by some symptoms. I feel like my life would end if I get diagnosed. I know this is not the right attitude and I must try harder. Would appreciate your wise advice. Peace and blessings.
I am sorry that you are having these struggles. It will help you to go to a trusted doctor, and get a diagnosis so you can know what you are dealing with, and start on the road to getting well! Stare this karma straight in the eye. You can also do positive things for yourself, including a healthy diet, meditation and yoga. These will help you no matter what, and they also can specifically help multiple sclerosis.
It also helps many people with MS to go on a completely gluten-free diet. A study in Spain found that rates of celiac disease among multiple sclerosis patients are 5 to 10 times higher than rates for the general population worldwide. (Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten, and it is often the underlying cause in many autoimmune diseases.)
Please also do this affirmation daily. Focus at the spiritual eye, and say this three times with determination:
“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.” —Paramhansa Yogananda
Please also submit a prayer request, and this can help your healing process directly, and also indirectly by supporting your journey of discovery.
God bless you,
Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry
PS — Please click on all the great links I provided for you, above, to get a jump-start on your healing journey.
Bipolar Disorder — Medication vs. Meditation
September 9, 2013
A devotee just was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and has begun mood stabilizing medication. Although the episodes are mild, kriya tends to put her into mania. This person always found it difficult to spiritualize activities. Depression typically follows her during the day. She has always thought it was her fault that she couldn’t live joyfully and maintain a kriya practice. How should she approach an inner life?
I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Bipolar disorder can improve over time, through working with a doctor and also working with meditation. Having worked with many hundreds of Kriya Yogis over the years, this type of situation is the one where I recommend the most care. Kriya practice shouldn’t cause mania, or the manic side of bipolar condition. If it does, then one shouldn’t practice the Kriya technique. Hong-sau and other meditation practices can be very helpful for calming and centering the mind, along with balancing the extreme ups and downs that you mention.
That said, I’ve seen that the best way to work with the Kriya technique when the mind is so extremely fluctuating is to practice it more with a sense of devotional self-offering, and less with intense willpower. Even then, one should be careful to be watch one’s mood and do only a moderate amount of Kriya.
I have seen people who have been diagnosed as bipolar and started medication eventually find the right balance of medication and meditation. In every case, though, people should be working with their doctor instead of trying to use meditation only, as a form of self-medication. It may take your friend some time, but it is certainly possible and even hopeful. Physical activity and an attitude of karma yoga in one’s service can also help change the balance of karma that causes mental imbalance.
A friend of mine was diagnosed with bipolar disorder about a year and a half before he came onto the spiritual path, and he told me the following:
In the beginning it was very challenging for me to meditate, but I worked with an Ananda minister to figure out ways of adjusting the techniques that would help me be more grounded. Certain spiritual practices did make me feel unstable, particularly in the beginning, so I backed off from those and just did what I could. Always I have taken medication and still go in regularly for testing and check-ups, especially if I seem to be in a challenging time. I saw a therapist for years and with many people it would also be good to do that regularly. I feel stable now, but it is basically by God’s grace that this is possible. Ultimately meditation has been a great aid to my mental health and spiritual life.
He added that these teachings were very helpful because they help us become more balanced and centered over time.
Sometimes people feel that they can dispense altogether with medications and replace them entirely with meditation. Do this only under the guidance of your doctor. Several years ago my wife Maria told me an interesting story. While she was out for an evening walk at Ananda Village she met a woman who seemed extremely distraught. Maria approached her to see if she could help. After some discussion, Maria realized (intuitively, I think) that the woman was having some sort of mental episode, perhaps due to thinking that she could stop taking medications because she was visiting a spiritual place.
With some strength, Maria asked her, “Did you stop taking your meds!?” (“meds” are medications) The woman responded with a surprised, “Yes” – and said she thought she didn’t need them since she was visiting Ananda and meditating more. Maria made the woman promise her to go back to her room at our retreat center, The Expanding Light, “Right now!” and take her medications.
About a year later a woman who I didn’t recognize came up to me at The Expanding Light. She somehow recognized me as Maria’s husband and asked me to give her a message: “Your wife saved my life.” The woman had apparently been feeling such despair that she thought she might take her own life.
So, someone with bipolar disorder should continue to work with their doctor, while they also tentatively and over time introduce a meditation practice into their lives.
The grace of God and the Guru also enters into the picture. By opening ourselves up to their grace, it’s possible to cause changes in ourselves that would seem impossible.
Remember, every spiritual effort that we make will bear fruit in some way. Unlike worldly endeavors, no spiritual effort is ever wasted.
You can also have your friend contact me, if they like, and I can put them in touch with someone experienced in these things that can help them.
with prayers for your friend,
To Age Gracefully
September 3, 2013
Is there any way to look fresh, youthful and energetic forever? Meditation gives calm but doesn’t always help to look young. I have seen many people who meditate but don’t always look young.
The question is, how to age gracefully, not painfully. As you live a dignified life, in alignment with God, with appreciation for others, with joy, with gratitude to God for the gift of life, you will radiate divine joy.
Your consciousness is who you really are; looks mean very little, other than the look in the eyes. Strive to have a fresh, youthful, energetic consciousness, and express it through your eyes. For more insights read Yogananda’s book: How to Achieve Glowing Health And Vitality. Please click on this link: http://www.crystalclarity.com/product.php?code=BHTAGHAV
Healing Energy Knows No Boundaries
August 1, 2013
Hi Mary! Thanks for your answer to my question.Can cracked relationships be healed?" We can talk out as you said if our loved ones are near. But what do we do if they are far far away and out of touch for over 2-3 years? Can such relationships be healed too with patience, diligence and prayer? Does the universe respond to our prayers and love?
If this is a romantic relationship and you have been out of touch for 2-3 years, and you are the injured party, I suggest that you focus your prayers on releasing the person and the memories into God’s hands. Let it go, especially if it only reached the romance stage, but had not yet progressed to marriage, and no children are involved.
If however, you are the one who created the most pain and injury, it is very worthwhile to offer many prayers of healing, not to restore the relationship outwardly, but rather to make things right with God, and with the person’s soul. At some point you will leave this world and review those events in which you hurt others, feeling the pain from their point of view. Heal that. You can use the techniques that I listed in the original post — (linked above).
Healing energy can be sent across the globe, and even across time to loved ones we have known in past lives. There is no limit, except our own motivation and dedication to the process.
God answers all prayers. Restless prayers, however, He answers only a little bit. If you offer to others something that isn’t yours to give, won’t that be a merely empty gesture? If you pray to God, similarly, but lack control over your own thoughts, that prayer will be without power. Thoughts and feelings, both, must be focused when you pray. Otherwise God will meet your little trickle with another trickle of His own! He will dole His answers out to you in a teaspoon. Too often, prayer is more like the halfhearted mumbling of a beggar than the confident, loving demand of a friend. Meditation Wisdom from Paramhansa Yogananda
Can “Cracked” Relationships Be Healed?
July 30, 2013
Can normalcy be restored in relationships especially romantic ones where we have treated people badly or where we have been treated badly? Can time or prayers heal the cracked relationships completely or should we consider a divine purpose behind those bitterness and leave things as they are?
Yes — normalcy can be restored, but the journey may not be easy. At the heart of any relationship is the past karma (good or bad) and the current spiritual maturity of the two individuals. We have seen relationships and marriages healed by prayer and right action.
I was intrigued years ago to read about a marriage counselor who had noted success helping couples on the verge of divorce. She said that healing was possible if both of the individuals were able to say, "I am truly sorry" for whatever was their part of the problem. Her sessions were designed to help the couple feel safe enough to do that. Most people find it very difficult to make a sincere apology, from the heart. Instead they may feel a need to say, 'Well — I am sorry, but..." and the apology turns into a defense of their actions in some way or another...
Similarly, another famous marriage counselor, John Gottman, made an interesting discovery about healing severely distressed marriages. He would ask such couples to tell the story of how they met, and if each partner could tell the story of their meeting, and courtship, with a recollection of the love that had started then, the marriage could be healed, for original spark was still there, though hidden. But if one or both partners had begun to "rewrite history" even of the courtship phase with negativity, he said that was the final death blow.
So, if a couple can see each other with empathy and understanding, and if both resolve to heal and improve the marriage, there is hope. Healing prayers can be very helpful in healing any family relationship.
If you feel you have injured the other person, please do what you can to make amends, for that will heal some of the pain you have caused, but please know the partner may not want you back, if the injury was severe. Respect that.
Only you know what is at stake in the relationship you are asking about. Sometimes people hurt those who are most precious to their souls, and deep prayer should be used to heal those relationships.
These prayers and resources can be helpful to you now:
- Love Perfected, Life Divine: A Novel, by Swami Kriyananda (not yet published — save for future reference).
Replacing Lethargy with Energy
June 10, 2013
Most of time nowadays I remain in blues and cant change my personality, some this cause slurring of speech, no interest in anythings. What should I do to enhance my mood, for continuous joy and eternal feelings, to boost up my confedence, and fluency of speech?
I want to direct you to a wonderful book that addresses this very issue and is the first step in The Ananda Course in Self-Realization, Lessons in Meditation . You can learn more about it here: http://www.ananda.org/meditation/ananda-course-in-self-realization-the-path-of-kriya-yoga/. These lessons offer the new yogi, spiritual adept, simple and direct practices of controlling one’s energy. This is essential if you wish to address the despondency, blues, and moods your letter references. The fact that you are asking for a way out of the downward pull (tamas) you’re feeling is a GOOD indication of the presence of your willingness and inherent rise in the god-given energy (prana) that is within you already. It wants to move! And there is something you can do about it….
Let’s assume there isn’t a medical reason for your despondency and speech issues (if you think there may be, then please see a proper doctor). Yogananda said the greater the will, the greater the flow of energy. If you are feeling depressed, moody, emotional, sometimes it’s best to use exercise, be it formal techniques or just simply moving, such as walking or running. Even playing vigorously! You’ll have to use your willingness and will to get it started. In other words, the first step is “Yes!”. Have you ever noticed that when you are busy, putting out energy, you often feel even more energetic? The universal energy we call prana is already within and all around you. It’s waiting for you to affirm it and use it! Pranayama is the term used for “energy control” which is one of the cornerstones, bases, of yogic philosophy and practice. The book I referenced introduces you to Yogananda’s beginning techniques and explanations for both energizing and moving the energies already in your body’s nervous system in such a way as to bring you calmness, peace, joy, and even more wisdom. And it does so with easy to understand charts, videos and even personal guidance. These mentioned 4 qualities are just a few of what are called aspects of God! (4 more with explanations are shared in Ananda’s Course) And as we mentioned, you already have them, within you. Now it’s a matter of feeling and realizing them through 1) Hong Sau meditation and 2) Energization Exercises. Regular and consistent practice makes these a viable tool not only to change your present lethargy, but to change your life to reflect the magnificence you truly are, just hidden and awaiting your call.
You can get more support through our Ananda centers and communities near you as well as online at any of our websites. You can find them worldwide, just see our online listings at our home page. Should you seek further guidance, you are welcome to address your questions and concerns directly to me, Nayaswami Premdas at firstname.lastname@example.org where I assist students from around the world studying and preparing for Yogananda’s teachings on Kriya meditation. I hope these recommendations and insights help your rise in joy and happiness, and to becoming a loving channel for God’s presence throughout your life.
In Divine Joy, Nayaswami Premdas
Overeating When Angry
June 5, 2013
I tend to eat a lot when I am angry. What do i do?
God, Divine Mother, gives us gifts and we often miss the opportunity. This question of yours is a good one because it points not to what is wrong but what is truly wanting to happen. She is waiting, Yogananda is ready, so what do you say we take the next step and let them play with us?
I give you credit for acknowledging this issue. The first step is to accept the truth and you have done just that. It is obvious you wish to break this hold on you and set a new direction; to be free from the behavior to eat for the wrong reasons and to remove the anger response. OK, (rubbing my hands together!) now you are already declaring/affirming your openess for change so let’s begin to work together, providing we do so with Divine Mother, She doing 50%, Guru 25% and you (with my help here now) offering up the remaining 25%!
#1) Start with checking your overall energy. Do you have enough and is it balanced? Is it more satvic, having a quality of calm, inward and upliftment? Do you feel at peace? (Chances are “No” as that’s why you’re writing) Or is it more outward, fleeting and leaving you tired? We call this rajasic energy Or is it depressed, leading to darkness, tamasic? I believe from your short note that you’re likely experiencing lower amounts of energy, being depleted and tired and then “over”-reacting to outside circumstances and inner disappointments. My guess is you are tired, sensitive, and therefor firey/angry with certain circumstances. I would classify your circumstance as rajasic, wih the desire to leave this swinging pendulum of excitement and disappointment making you first angry then upset. And no better way to douse the fire of emotion, nervousness and brain-activity than with abundant food to dull the senses and mind. And done enough times, this behaviour and inappropriate unhealthy eating becomes addictive, physically and emotionally. Naturally you want to change. After all, who wants “pain & suferring”?
#2) Before we talk about the eating-anger relationship, it’s important to detach yourself from the circumstance that is making you angry. Play with me here...Try to understand that you are not the Doer nor the Receiver. It is Her, Ma, God, playing through you. Do not attempt to own the angry reaction nor set conditions that result in your anger. See it playing out as a dispassionate observer, and set no agenda while being aware and cautious of your past inclinations to do so. Give thanks for the ability to see clearly now that you’re becoming dispassionate. Make sure you go to a peaceful place, physically and emotionally (these words again). Stay away from anything that irritates or fires you up! Avoid Rajas. this includes food, friends, environments. Replace them with soothing uplifting aspects of Spirit: do you have an altar, or a quiet place to meditate? Then ask God for guidance, i.e.; pray for strength and peace, calmness and light, wisdom and energy, love and joy. All are good, but only one or two if you’re already befuddled and off-centered by whatever is pushing your button!
#3) Circumvent your tendency to anger and to conditional eating with techniques/practices from Yogananda’s training and lessons with mantra, japa, affirmations throughout the day, but especially when you feel yourself being drawn out into anger. Try “I am filled with the presence of God & Guru. I am whole and full as I always am. I draw God’s Light and Love to nourish my body and mind.”
#4) Read, practice and live the timeless instructions from a Guru such as Yogananda. Tune into his spiritual strength and what he offers us, complete freedom, Moksha and a life in God. The first two steps from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, found within Yogananda’s teachings and specifically explained in The Art & Science of Raja Yoga book, the Yamas & Niyamas, are critical and direct actions for changing habits and directing us back into preparing for our highest consciousness. They literally circumvent and dissipate Karma. Read them, understand them and practice the rest of your life. Again, find a still place, pray to the Guru, imagine being with him and ask for guidance and strength to overcome this habit. And if for some reason you still react and eat unhealthy, declare what Swami Kriyananda used to say when overcoming a smoking addiction, “I haven’t yet succeeded!” And then get back to your practices. And love God.
#5) Without dwelling on one issue, do ask, “What is making me angry?” We often have expectations of others and of ourselves, of circumstances that we really have no control over and become/channel anger when our desires aren’t met. Give responsibility for others and their behaviours over to God. Have you heard the admonition, “Change me, not my circumstances!"? Peace and calmness can enter into our whole being when we loosen our grasp on people, things, and results. Yogananda said, with these teachings and pranayams, “You can stand unshaken midst the crash of breaking worlds!” He meant this for each and every one of us and for all circumstances. He also said never let any one get your goat, because your goat is your Peace. They cannot take it away. According to the Vedas, it is who you really are. With these tools of mediation, their practice, your own willingness, willpower and energy you, yourself, can feel, see and know it in your own life. You will experience its manifested Truth in this very challenge you share.
#6) Remember, in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says “Even a little practice of this inward religion will free one from dire fears and collosul suffering.” That is your part, your 25%. Practice what the Guru gives us to make us stronger, to win these battles of life. Be the spiritual warrior like Arjuna. It is alright to have doubts, to have misgivings, disappointments, even failures. But don’t give up. “Fight the battle!” That is when your true strength, your true soul, shines. Imagine, Subir. all that anger, all that reacting, all that unwarranted ill-timed, unhealthy eating — replaced with your own peace, your own wellness, your own joy. It can and will happen. Such a short and simple sounding request, “I overeat when I’m angry, what do I do?” and such a deep life-changing opportunity for higher awareness and God Realization. Feed yourself the bliss of knowing God through these teachngs and all else will disappear; the need for anger, the desire for inappropriate food, to be replaced with expansive life-affirming sweetness feeding you in body, mind and soul, attracting more and more of divine consciousness to you and all who associate with you.
I wish you the very best. If I can be of further help in this or related issues, you can address me personally.
God & Guru bless you, Nayaswami Premdas
- Guru-Disciple Relationship
- Health and Healing
- Karma, Reincarnation
- Kriya Yoga
- Paramhansa Yogananda
- Science and Yoga
- Spiritual Community
- Spiritual Parenting
- Spiritual Path
- Swami Kriyananda
- The Arts
- The Yugas
- Yoga Postures