Ask Ananda’s Experts
Questions and Answers About Meditation, Yoga, the Spiritual Life, and More
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A Spouse's Anger
October 7, 2015
Sometimes when I argue with my husband he will become furious and break things in the house. Often he will often he will hurt himself in these circumstances too such as punching walls, this only ever happens when he feels he is entirely to blame (regardless of what he truth might be).
How can I support him through this? How can I make him feel loved and supported and safe so that he doesn’t suffer so much with anger and pain?
You ask how to help your husband when he gets angry and sometimes hurts himself by punching walls or similar actions after you’ve had an argument with him. You don’t mention how long you’ve been married. Regardless, this situation calls for you and your husband seeing a professional therapist, perhaps a cognitive behavior therapist. It would help you to see such a therapist to minimize arguments in the first place. It would help him to modify his responses when angry.
In addition, I suggest you pray for him in the following way as suggested by Paramhansa Yogananda, "Lord fill my husband with Thy peace and harmony, peace and harmony, peace and harmony. Fill me with Thy peace and harmony, peace and harmony, peace and harmony." Repeat this prayer multiple times per day and watch the effect of it begin to heal the disharmony between you over time.
When I Go To Sleep Later, I Can Concentrate Better?
October 5, 2015
Hi,my concentration is high during my lectures when I slept late around mid night on the previous night,but when I sleep so early,my concentration is too low during the following day’s lectures.Please advise.Thank you
When you speak of "lectures" I understand that you must be a teacher or professor. You do not mention meditation but I believe you are saying that when you stay up late you have more energy during the following day than when you go to bed early!
This may be a simple factor of the right sleep cycle for you and I can only add that "do what works best for you!" If, on a night when you stay up later, you have meditated, it can be the case that meditation is helping you to sleep more restfully than when you go to bed too early and the mind is still active.
Even so, I would follow what works best for you. If I have not understood correctly your question, please write back to us.
Helping Children Learn to Behave
September 24, 2015
Hi I need some guidance in terms of bringing up my daughter. She is going to be six years old in December. I am finding that she is grumpy, clingy and moody a lot, especially in mornings. She is seeking attention of course. Every time she doesn’t get what she wants, its tears and tantrums. I believe this attitude is also preventing her from making friends at school. She is shy. How can I help her cultivate the right attitudes of joy and happiness, so she has the right tools to live a happy life?
Thanks for your question. Sometimes these things happen more in a small family. Is your daughter your only child? If so, you may have missed some natural timelines to build in positive behavior. I ask because throwing tantrums is fairly normal at age two, but by age six they should be quite rare. But that is okay, for she is still young enough to help her catch up quickly to her appropriate age level.
You ask how you can help her to cultivate the right attitudes of joy and happiness, which is a beautiful goal for a parent. But first a child needs to learn how to eliminate the joy destroying attitudes and actions she is exhibiting every day. Start with a simple behavior chart to help her with her worst part of the day — the morning. (See these behavior charts: "It’s been proven that when we measure and track efforts, the behavior of children will improve...") I would suggest a simple chart that tracks one thing for the first week — simply getting up and saying, with a smile, "Good morning, Mommy!" in a nice voice. This free Princess Castle chart might be a good one to start with.
But you also need to do your part... Why is she waking up so grumpy, moody and clingy? Is she getting enough sleep? Is she also pulling tantrums at night, and thus delaying bedtime? If that is the case, you may need to start there with your chart, and see if the mornings improve. For the first few weeks, just track one new behavior each week. Explain to her that as she learns to behave, she will feel happier within her self, and she will also feel more love and happiness flowing to her, both at home and at school.
Please also review her diet. Sometimes if kids have too many carbohydrates, and not enough protein to balance that, they can be very grumpy, and fall apart in tears at the drop of a hat. This can even happen with healthy carbohydrates, and we sometimes see this in vegetarian kids, but it improves quickly if the parents add in either eggs or other protein. It is something to consider, to see if this may be a factor.
Keep using behavior charts, with a reward once a week, but with evolving goals over the course of the year. Start with the worst habit first for the first week. The next week you can build on that budding strength, and add on a new goal that is similar. Such as cooperation at bedtime, and then being cheerful in the morning. But keep it very specific, so it is easier to succeed in the beginning. This will give a sense of accomplishment for her and for you, and you may some some positive spillover into other areas. As time goes by you can add other goals, but see where this initial effort takes you.
You can also read one of these Life’s Little Secrets for Children to her, either at dinner time, or as part of her bedtime routine. And please do have a routine that works for her and you — such as bath, brush teeth, one or two stories, and prayers. It is easy to get loose with routines when there is only one child, but ultimately it makes life easier for everyone if they know what to expect; there is security in that. You can occasionally bend the rules, but not so often that she thinks she can always get her way.
Well, that is enough to get you started. Once some basic peace and harmony has been restored, you can expand your spiritual efforts using the many helpful, free items here in the Family Life Treasure Chest. As you peruse the titles, simply start reading whatever is attractive to you now. There are many resources o help you along the way at each stage of her spiritual growth.
I hope this has been helpful, and please feel free to ask more.
God bless you.
In His joy!
Mary Kretzmann, author
Never Give Up
September 22, 2015
I have been suffering from severe headache for the last two years.Doctors have done all MRI test and cant detect the true cause of pain.this pain leaves me depressed all the time and I pray for my soul to leave this body as I cant take this pain anymore.Do you think my prayers will be answered.
Thank you for your letter. I realize that constant pain can be very debilitating, but for a moment, please look at the bright side. The MRI has ruled out tumors and this means that a simpler healing solution may be possible. Please pursue spiritual methods of healing such as affirmations and visualizations. These things may heal you directly, or they may serve as a divine magnet to draw to you the right knowledge or remedy to heal your headaches. Positive thoughts and feeling can heal you directly, or indirectly.
Please also use this CD: AUM — the Mantra Of Eternity. Listen to the voice of Swami Kriyananda each day and feel that his beautiful chanting of AUM is dissolving the source of the headaches, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Paramhansa Yogananda wrote a special letter to a devotee that begins like this:
Please read it and feel that he is talking to you now. Let it spark your own divine courage.
Also — I invite your to follow along with my video and do this affirmation with me. Please do it every day for at least a month as this will help to lift your mind out of despair.
And, finally, we are here to help and you can request healing prayers at any time. You can renew the prayer request as needed, it is no burden to us. We love to get an update each time to hear of any improvements, and to encourage you in your pursuit of health.
Mary Kretzmann, Director
10 Ways to Transmute Sexual Energy
September 21, 2015
Good morning. I’m here because as a disciple i’m doing a very big spiritual fight against "sexual" needs. Following the teachings of our Guru, I’m doing practices and meditation every times the mind start to think about it (not too often, fortunately) and I can "control" it, feeling so happy and near to the Guru. The problem is about the physical needs. My body start to don’t feel well, disturbing meditation and daily life. There is a practice that can help for it? thanks you so much
The process of transmuting sexual energy is a complex one because so profoundly part of the human psyche, and influenced by age, gender, health, diet, culture and environment. For purposes of my response, I will assume you are young and unmarried and not in an intimate relationship.
Speaking directly to your question, however, of physical sexual impulses and needs, our gurus recommend being careful and conscious around diet, exercise, entertainment we view, and the people we associate with. Let me begin with a list of simple things to consider:
1. Diet: eat fresh fruits and vegetables; drink clear and pure water; and avoid or minimize fried foods, processed foods, white bread, white flour, white sugar, and caffeine. Ground almonds, added to juice, or eaten / chewed whole, are considered helpful. Stimulating hot and spicy foods, too much garlic or onion, or radishes may stimulate the sex nerves. Grapes are good for devotion, but wine and alcohol in general are sexual stimulants. (Wine may be difficult to avoid in Italy, but more Italians are reducing or eliminating alcohol from their diet these days. If it can’t be avoid, moderation is a must.)
2. Vigorous exercise on a regular basis is very helpful. It should be sustainable and not "crash and burn" exercise. Unfortunately gymnasiums are not always the best place to avoid sexual stimulation but that may not be an issue for you. Running, walking, working out, hiking, and climbing are all good.
3. Is your health generally good? I assume so.
4. In general, whether in your home, at work or school, or out in public it is important to stay centered within and ignore sexually stimulating situations or people. Keep your eyes "to yourself."
5. TV and movies are filled with sexual imagery. Magazine stands, especially in Europe, have lots of cover pictures. On the Internet, too, one must be careful. If you find your eyes lingering on such imagery or people in public or at work, catch yourself, mentally chant "Aum Guru" (or, as you feel), and turn away.
6. Dress and behave modestly yourself. Avoid casual banter, touching, flirting, or getting close to individuals where you might become stimulated. Yogananda advised monks in his ashram not to have ANY conversation with the nuns or eye contact! Look at such persons through your spiritual eye and look at their spiritual eye when talking. Be impersonal, not intimate or overly personal or friendly in such cases.
7. Lahiri Mahasaya taught a technique of filling a (plastic-type) bag with ice and some water and, while meditating calmly (and NOT when sexually stimulated), hold the bag over the sexual organ. Re-direct the cool energy felt there inward and upward to the spiritual eye with the breath. If during activity you feel sexually stimulated, inhale strongly drawing the energy upward from the sex organ area to the spiritual eye. Or go for a walk, or a run...
8. Engage in artistic, cultural or serviceful activities to re-direct creative energy to a higher level. Do you have an artistic or creative hobby or interest? Do you enjoy helping others? Find ways and find people who are energetic and creative and who serve others without ego. Think of others first. This will help re-direct blocked or frustrated energy.
9. Do you intend to marry? That is of course a different topic but not wholly unrelated. Suppression is not a long term solution (for anything).
10. Sexual energy is God’s creative energy manifesting at that reproductive, sexual level. It has an infinite variety of other ways to express itself. Without it, we would be dull and lifeless. It is sacred and holy. The question is how to channel it. Don’t be afraid of it. Its strength is second only to our impulse to remain alive and survive! It is a gift. The opportunity, then, at every stage of life, is how to use this gift for spiritual awakening and service.
Well, consider these points and we can "talk" again if you like.
How to Balance Devotion and Mental Activity
September 21, 2015
So joyous am I to contact you again. My question is, how can I remember God when I have to do something like learning engineering and keep myself blissful? I feel terrible to have to learn engineering when thinking of God. At other times, I may be so engrossed with the subjects that I forget Him. If I’m not interested in the subject because I feel it to be tasteless when I think of, say, Master, I’m just not able to learn. How can I balance both rightly?
As it happens I am in India right now, Delhi, on pilgrimage to holy Badrinath. Thank you for writing.
Your question is good and you are right, balance is needed. How to achieve that balance?
It is indeed difficult to study a difficult topic while remaining entranced in devotional bliss. Such devotional inner contact can work during manual labor, but usually not while studying or doing mental work. Therefore it might be best to accept your time of study as a different kind of training: not for devotional bliss, but for example a training of strong concentration, doing one thing at a time, with all your energy and focus. That too is a most important yogic quality to develop, for all of us.
Then set your clock to beep after each hour or two, and at these moments allow yourself a sweet dip of devotion, saying, "I love you my God!" After that resume your study.
In the morning and evening do exactly the opposite: forget all engineering, and in your sadhana concentrate only on one thing: sweet God-contact, love, bliss, Master.
If you keep your sadhana strong, there will come a time when the subtle presence of God is with you all the time, even while studying. By then you will have reached an advanced inner state. You will have become a Mt. Kailash, a sacred mountain, whose base is very grounded and practical, but whose inner peak in the sky of divine consciousness.
God bless you, in divine friendship,
The Secret of Concentration
September 21, 2015
My mind tends to remember what i dont want it to remember when i read my subjects. I constantly get other thoughts i am unable to concentrate on my studies. When i rarely do concentrate, my mind recognises it and i feel nervous and i loose concentration and my mind drifts away and stays in that state, maybe daydreaming state for continuous 4 to 5 hours as i hear a lot of lectures. i study 2nd year puc please help me before this problem spoils my future
The mind can indeed wander, and the more we let it do so, the deeper the habit becomes. There is no easy fix for this, but there is a simple fix: do one thing at a time with full energy. If you are studying, do so with complete attention for as long as you can. If you are in lecture, listen intently for as long as you can. In each case, whenever you realize that your mind has wandered, take a deep breath and start over again. You need to retrain your mind to do what you want it to do. You are opposing a strong habit, so you need to put strong energy into this (but not tension).
It will help if you feel that your engagement with your activity is centered in the prefrontal lobe of your brain (just behind your forehead). This is the center of concentration, and the more you engage it, the stronger it becomes. It is like a muscle. When you read, feel that you read from the prefrontal lobe. When you listen, feel that you are listening from that place. Live there as much as possible.
It can take some work to change the daydreaming tendency, but the more energy you put into your efforts, the less time it will take.
Can Angels Be My Guru?
September 17, 2015
Can angels play the role of someone’s guru ?
Thank you for your question. Angels, and high astral beings, can guide us if we call in them, but they cannot replace the Guru-disciple relationship.
I will submit to you a few chapters for online reading. One is Chapter 31, Interview with the Sacred Mother in Autobiography of a Yogi, .
Notice in the story how the angels are worshiping the avatar, Lahiri Mahasaya. This shows us that the true Guru is higher than the angels.
So, perhaps the question is, "How do I find my Guru?"
"When the disciple is ready, the Guru appears...."
Paramhansa Yogananda said if a devotee sincerely follows this path of meditation, service and devotion, he will guide that person to his or her Guru. If he is your Guru, you will know it deep within you soul. And if he is not your Guru, he will guide you to your souls’s path, perhaps in a sacred dream. I have seen this happen. So the first step is to follow a true Guru and put one foot in front of the other.
So even if you do not know if Paramhansa Yogananda is your Guru, you can follow his teachings of meditation, and pray to him for protection and guidance in all things.
This is a much safer journey than simply asking angels to play the role of your Guru, because how do you know what to listen to and follow? How do you know you are listening to a true angel? There are many astral beings out there. Some are fairly high beings, but some, judging from the messages that are channeled to "receivers" on this earth, strike me as wannabe gurus. It is safer to go with a true avatar, who has transcended ego long ago, and who thus has your best interest at heart. Also, you can follow the basic teachings of the Guru to get started on the path. And then you will also be in tune with true angels, who also worship and adore the Gurus.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more.
- 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