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

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hari
Nepal

Question

I recently met one girl and i am very much attracted to her. But she just treats me like a stranger . So i am having a bias in my mind . So what should i do ?

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Hari,

Yogananda often said that our desires will lead us a merry chase and then give us nothing in the end. There is nothing outside ourselves that can satisfy us. We will always feel unfulfilled until we find the fulfillment of all fulfillments within ourselves.

Until we find that ultimate fulfillment, however, and are no longer motivated by unhappiness-making desires, it helps to be open-eyed and self-honest about our desires. Never convince yourself that your happiness depends on the satisfaction of a particular desire. Offer your desires to God and he will help you transmute them, with your active cooperation, into the highest expression you can achieve.

The woman to whom you are attracted may well be a wonderful person, and may even be the right person for you, but it is difficult for you to know if that is the case if you are distracted by pangs of attraction. Try offering your longing for her to God. Pray for the right thing to happen. If she is the right companion for you, pray that God will make the connection. But also offer your longing to God so that He can fulfill it for you within yourself. Pray for His all-satisfying love while offering to Him your own Love. Offer your desire to God that he can help you channel that longing in a way that will help you grow spiritually.

If your desire persists but remains unresolved, take your mind off of it by vigorously doing other things. Give time for God’s compassionate plan to unfold for you. Even if you are overmastered by your longing and behave foolishly, give that to God too. Remain self-honest and offer your successes and your failures trying to overcome the pulls of wrong desires to God. He likes that.

Warm regards,

Puru (Joseph) Selbie

jon
noway

Question

friends what are the diffrence between the hindu Goods and the old greek and the gods from egypt and the old scandinavien gods like tor and odin are the hindu gods more real then the others? odin was for sure real to does how pray to him ,or are they consider false gods?thank u jon

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend, Jon,

It is taught, down through the ages, that the Infinite Spirit creates and sustains the cosmos through the agency of astral and causal Beings: namely, gods, goddesses and the like. The existence of many levels of astral Beings has been affirmed and taught in every culture: angels, demons, devas, fairies and on and on.

These Beings play roles and have functions, much like a President or Minister or Government official. Thus the roles remain even if the names of those performing the roles change. In different cultures, names are given to the "deities" who hold certain universal roles. The sun god would be a common example. Known by many names, the role remains the same.

Some humans, more so in past times than now, worship these "lesser gods" perhaps to gain favor and material benefits; perhaps out of fear. But the highest teaching is that "God is One!" Thus the highest form of worship and inner communion is with the one and true God: the Infinite Spirit. Jesus prayed to God in the form of the father.

But our hearts and minds find it difficult to relate to an "infinite spirit" without name or form and not having been "introduced" as it were. Thus the worship of deities or one’s sat (true) guru form a stepping stone in the direction of Oneness, allowing our human hearts and minds and hands to relate and engage more easily.

It is less important to ask "Which god is more powerful or real" than it is to ask "How deep and sincere is my love, devotion and service to God" (in whatever form we hold dear and true to ourselves). The devotee should see in his beloved deity, the Infinite Lord standing behind, as it were. See the lesser god or guru as a vehicle for transmitting God consciousness.

So pray to God to help you find the "best way or form to worship." God is in all forms; all atoms; all people; all teachers. Best, however, to find that form which inspires and guides you to become the best you can be.

Sincerely with blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman

Rahul Solanki
India

Question

I want to start meditation and yoga, but in my locality there is no yoga teacher to teach me.

So please guide me, how to start yoga and meditation.

Thank you

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Rahul,

Congratulations on your resolution to start practicing yoga and meditation. You are correct that it is ideal to have a teacher guiding you, but even if that is not possible, there is much you can do.

Since you are in India, for meditation, start by visiting Ananda India’s website: http://anandaindia.org/meditate/

You will find there many excellent resources for learning meditation.

As for the yoga part, I don’t know where you live, but you can check the Ananda India website to see if there is a teaching center near you. Aside from that, your best option is probably a book. My book, Spiritual Yoga, would be an excellent resource (it also addresses meditation). I wish it were available in India, but it isn’t yet. If you don’t mind ordering from the USA, you can do so here: http://www.crystalclarity.com/product.php?code=BSYHA

I hope you will find these resources helpful.

All the best to you in your new practice(s).

Blessings,

Gyandev

leow
singapore

Question

Do you have any recommendations on how to use acupressure to stop drowsiness?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Thanks for your question. I am familiar with acupressure through charts and books but not an expert, so I will simply address the drowsiness factor. The first step is to look at your life and see why you are feeling drowsy and when. Are you pushing yourself too hard and do you need a rest, etc.? If so, seek a more balanced schedule. Paramhansa Yogananda taught that we must be practical in our idealism.

A balanced diet can also be a very important factor. Sometimes when people first switch to a vegetarian diet they may add in too many carbohydrates, such as rice, bread, or potatoes to make up for the meat and fish proteins that have been eliminated from the diet. If you suspect this may be a factor in your own situation, see if you can add in some eggs to make up for the proteins so you don’t rely so heavily on rice, for instance. Too much rice or bread can make a person drowsy.

But if you feel affected by drowsiness to the degree it is interfering with your life, a few things can help. If it overcomes you at an inopportune time, then the fastest way out of it is to focus deeply and strongly at the point between the eyebrows (the spiritual eye). Visualize a bright light there. This can banish drowsiness very quickly.

If you are driving a car, please understand that your drowsiness puts lives at risk (your own and others) — so your duty is to either pull over and take a nap, or have someone else drive. If your drowsiness is not severe, you can take a cup of strong coffee or black tea if you know that will help you. Remember when you are driving or using heavy machinery your first duty is to not kill anyone. Of course, under normal circumstances, you should only drink caffeine in the morning, so that you can sleep again at night. This is important in cases of drowsiness because you don’t want your sleep cycles disturbed and thus causing more drowsiness.

The Superconscious Living Exercises can be very helpful, and you can watch an informal video of them here.

May you be well.

Deeapk Kumawat
india

Question

Sir, when i study my mind think another thing like what i talk with people, what thing they say to me by this my mind divert but not totally some time think I control it again happen and happen and I have to give more input to study but get very less result. If I do 9 hour study its output is like 4 to 5 hour plz suggest me so I can prepare better.

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Kristy Fassler-Hecht

Ananda Maine

Answer

Dear Deeapk,

Your challenges with keeping a focused mind on what you are doing may be overcome with steadfast practice of concentration techniques. Here is a link to some articles that may be useful under the topic of concentration. Be sure to read the one on how to develop concentration as well as others.

Some very important keys to overcoming difficulty with concentration are to keep practicing, never give up, and stay calm and relaxed inwardly while focusing your attention on what you are concentrating on.

In Divine Friendship,

Kristy

Suzann
United States

Question

I have found it uncomfortable to look upward towards my spiritual eye while also concentrating on the Hong-Sau breath. Today I become confused as everything I had read had advised to look upward: Until I found This:

Should one concentrate on the breath and also at the point between the eyebrows

Not until the attention focuses itself naturally on the flow of breath at the beginning of the nose. To do so otherwise would constitute a division of concentration which would be self-defeating

Nayaswami Diksha

Nayaswami Diksha

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Suzann,

You should lift your gaze only slightly above the horizon. Perhaps you are turning your eyes up at a sharp angle, which would be both difficult and uncomfortable. In any case, do not try to see something in the direction you are looking, as that will divide your attention, which should be completely on the breath. Concentrate on your breath wherever you can feel it most easily. Gradually you will feel it higher and higher in the nose, until you feel it at a place toward which your gaze is turned.

Here is an approach that Swami Kriyananda suggested and you might find helpful: feel as though your eyeballs exist only in the upper half of their sockets. In this approach, there the gaze will turn slightly upward by itself. Try it.

I hope this will help.

Blessings on your practice,

Diksha

Rush
USA

Question

I have trouble trusting my soul guidance. I fear that if I move forward in a new direction I may make a mistake, or I hear an authoritative spiritual voice within me scolding/rejecting me for doing so (probably my ego). I also constantly fear what others (or the guru) would think about me. It is hard to have a feeling of self-respect or stand up for myself at times. How can I learn to trust myself more and not need validation from others?

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Rush,

Your dilemma is, in many ways, a good sign: of your sincerity and mindfulness. In such cases, and to get a jump start in the direction of beginning to know and trust inner guidance, it would be helpful to have a spiritual friend and mentor. Your hesitations are all, in principle, well founded ones. Perhaps you could start with smaller steps and build up your confidence. Take the steps that you DO feel confident about, in other words, and set aside the ones you are not ready to embrace. If you can find a trustworthy mentor, then bigger steps might be possible.

True guidance has the quality of calmness and rightness even in the face of the guidance being bold. Ideas born of the sub-conscious or influenced by sub-conscious desire or other filters, tend to feel uncertain, a bit nervous-like, or perhaps even excitable as if wanting to be true. True guidance feels right especially in the heart center (chakra). The conviction born of intuition is an acquired, though familiar, "flavor." It takes time and meditation to learn to distinguish this feeling from more ego-oriented ideas.

So a little bit at a time is a good formula. Stepping just a hair past comfort zone can test your faith but too large a step becomes presumption. The difference can be, admittedly, a bit subtle, but is worth exploring. It’s O.K. to make mistakes; it’s just the ego that fears mistakes. The soul says, "Let’s give it a shot!"

Consider the teachings of your guru or spiritual path. Follow those instructions first in little things and gradually in bigger ones. If a particular instruction isn’t really right for you, you'll know by the results, usually.

Pray always for guidance even if it is not yet realistic to expect a clear response. Sometimes the clearest answer comes only when we take a few steps in the best direction we can see. Then, the guidance may say, "Turn left," or, "Keep going!"

Remember: no sincere action in following the spiritual path can ever be truly wrong, only course-corrected.

Sincerely and with blessings,

Nayaswami Hriman

Darshan koundinya
India

Question

I am a student pursuing engineering degree. But, I always fail in executing plan. Every time I plan to do better but, I fail every time because of my absent mindedness please tell me how do I overcome this and do my best. Even I forgot to take medicine which is very essential for me.

Nayaswami Gyandev

Nayaswami Gyandev

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Darshan,

Since you are an engineering student, you are clearly a very capable person. However, it seems that you are not taking charge of your life. I suggest that this difficulty might have been brought on by one of two things:

  • You have way too much on your mind and need to lighten your load—either in actuality by getting rid of something, or in perception by beginning to meditate, become more efficient, and clear the mental debris.
  • There is something rather large in yourself or your life that you do not wish—or do not think you have the time or ability—to attend to. This can develop in you a tendency not to attend to other things as well (your medicine, for example). It only gets worse if you let it continue.

I suggest that you look into one or both of those options. You cannot afford to let this continue.

Meanwhile, as you are an engineering student, you have plenty of tech available to you. Therefore, while you try to sort things out, I suggest you start using a calendar app that will remind you, at the very least when it’s time to take your medicine, but for other things as well. It’s a step toward taking charge of your life. Any step you take in that direction will be helpful.

Blessings,

Gyandev

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