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Emma S
USA

Question

I have been meditating for about 6 months now and I love love it. However, I have not told anyone and am afraid to because a lot of people make fun of meditation. Also, I have a really hard time meditating on my own without a guided mediation. I can’t get myself to calm down or my mind to shut up on my own. I also need motivation to meditate. I just want inner calmness. Any support that you could give at all would be so much appreciated! Thanks so much in advance. Love and peace to all!

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Emma,

So glad to know that you love to meditate! That’s half the battle — never let go of that love and feed it in any way you can.

Don’t worry about not telling anyone that you meditate. You are right that most people wouldn’t understand anyway. But it is hard to do things in a vacuum, so it might be good to find other meditators in your area that would "speak the same language" so to speak — look at Find Ananda Near You for details. Being around other people who meditate and meditating with them as often as possible is a huge help. If you live in an area where this is impossible (or even if you don’t) I’d strongly advise you to join our online Ananda Virtual Community. On-line group meditations may be a big help to you also!

Guided meditations can be very helpful, especially in the beginning of your meditative life. But here is an important point to remember. Meditation comes in two parts: the "getting there" and the "being there." Every meditation should have elements of both.

Getting there involves all the technique you use to help you get into deep, silent, sitting meditation. Guided meditation can be a part of getting there. But always leave time for being there, that is, sitting silently and being as calm and inward as possible. Even if you feel restless, do it anyway, for at least five minutes. It will get easier as time goes on. But to neglect the "being there" part of meditation is like fixing a delicious meal, but not taking time to eat it. What is the "there" part of meditation?" Superconscious bliss and oneness with God and with all that is. You'll definitely recognize it when it happens.

Much of meditation involves creating good habits. Meditate at the same time, same place, every day without fail, even if it’s only for five to ten minutes. Build up the length of time as you feel to. It’s infinitely better to meditate just a little bit, than not at all.

If you fail to meditate on any one or more days (it happens to everybody), at least notice that your daily life is affected — life is so much better when you meditate than when you don’t even try! Noticing this is an excellent motivator!

God watches the intentions of our hearts and will know that we are trying — and thus will offer us the grace to keep going, no matter what. Calming the restless mind is what we all struggle with. Don’t say you can’t. Just say you have not yet succeeded.

Having the right techniques of meditation (watching the breath, a mantra, etc.) are a huge help. If you don’t know these techniques yet, be sure to learn them in our online Learn to Meditate course as soon as possible.

Finally, please remember that you already have inner calmness. It’s just a process of learning to find where it is within you. Blessings and joy to you always!

Friend
USA

Question

What is the difference energetically between very strong moods and post traumatic stress or emotional symptoms that arise from a traumatic experience? Using the techniques taught by Master, I can overcome any mood, but recently I find that waves of emotion associated with past experiences are resurfacing. Sometimes they are very difficult to overcome and control in the moment.

Nayaswami Pranaba

Nayaswami Pranaba

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Friend,

The differences are really a matter of degree. Strong moods, post-traumatic stress, or emotional symptoms all arise from the vrittis (vortices or whirlpools) of our past likes and dislikes (our desires and attachments) that are lodged in our astral spine. The differences are a result of how much energy has been invested in these past experiences, whether that is through attachment or revulsion.

The way to deal with vexing emotions is to shift the energy to something uplifting. An example of this is when you are caught in these negative emotions, try to immediately change the energy in your physical body. A good suggestion is to do a few of Yogananda’s Energization Exercises or some of Swami Kriyananda’s Superconscious Living Exercises. Once we are able to shift the actual energy, then those emotions and stresses no longer have their same grasp on us.

Another suggestion is to use a phrase, or even a word, that immediately brings your awareness to a higher level. Personally I’ve found using “Aum Guru” helps me shift quickly into a different frame of awareness. But even using a word such as “love” can have the same effect.

On another level, having consistency in our meditations, i.e. a daily practice, has a very real and profound effect on releasing all past karma, including the challenges that you describe. Sometimes this effect from meditation doesn’t always seem apparent to our conscious mind, but have trust that that inner transformation is indeed taking place.

Blessings on your spiritual journey,

Nayaswami Pranaba

Bernard
Australia

Question

Hello, I have just begun Kriya Yoga meditation. I am finding some conflicts with my worldly activities in terms of how to approach them as a person with spiritual focus. In particular I have just begun an acting course (monologues) to improve my communicative ability and explore a desire to participate in transformative entertainment in the future. How can I approach this with no attatchment and stay true, amidst materialist people? What should I have in mind? What attitude should I maintain?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

This is a great question to which I actually have some insights, thanks to Swami Kriyananda. A number of years ago in Paris, Swamiji was asked by a well-known opera singer a similar question. She found herself, with her low-pitched contralto voice, placed many times in roles that had a dark side to them and were even evil in nature. She wondered how to deal with this situation in a spiritual way, so as not to have her consciousness pulled down by the darkness.

Swami said to her to feel that God was acting through her in these roles. Also to feel that she was an observer, as well as a participant, in the roles she played. I think the attitude to remember and keep before you in doing this, is that God is in everything; that all of creation has been brought about out of Himself. As Swami Kriyananda would say in talks, “What else did God have to bring Creation into being from but Himself!”

These attitudes are not easy to develop, but they are possible. I would think they could even make you a very good actor! Non-attachment will be essential in doing this, and something you will have to work on every day. I would suggest that at the end of each day you offer all that has happened that day back to God, thereby freeing yourself from being attached to and defined by it.

As long as you feel a need to be involved in the very outward and entertaining “entertainment business,” then this will need to be part of your daily spiritual sadhana, along with your morning and evening Kriya Yoga practice.

As Parmahansa Yogananda said about this world of duality that we live in, “This world was made for our education and entertainment, but how very few are either educated or entertained.” May you be one of these few!

ASP
India

Question

Hi Ananda Family,

With all your spiritual understanding, please explain me if at all watching porn is bad, how does it affect an individual’s karma?...Isn’t that state of mind a perfect one where the mind stays undisturbed even when looking at something close to porn?....The television and media is full of these things ....It is almost everywhere....how can one stay firm and controlled even in presence of these?

Many thanks for your help

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Friend,

You ask "Isn’t that state of mind a perfect one where the mind stays undisturbed even when looking at something close to porn?" But that IS the question. Consider: Who would choose to watch such things whose mind would indeed remain undisturbed? Answer: essentially: NO ONE!

Most devotees and yogis choose to avoid watching media that emphasizes and provides gratuitous sexuality or violence for the simple reason that such images impress themselves upon the mind. Elemental lusts derive from a consciousness whose power is far greater than that of an individual ego. The soul, struggling to win the battle of life over material desires, must not imagine the power of maya is easily dismissed. Why grovel in the mud of enticing vibrations of delusion and the false allure of pleasure (which the wise know give rise eventually only to suffering, mental or physical)?

There may be circumstances where one is exposed to gross sexuality or violence and in such circumstances remaining inward and centered is, given no other choice, the best course of action. But no one would purposely do so: not if he is sincere, self-honest, and wisely pursuing true happiness and an expansion of consciousness toward freedom in God! To trifle with these temptations is courting spiritual disaster.

The subconscious mind and the influence of maya will suggest to you that you can be exposed to these things without being affected. That is a lie born of the hidden desire to enjoy these things.

The pleasures of the human body can never satisfy our desire for happiness. Not only this, but to indulge in the delusion (whether vicariously or physically) plants the seeds of further desires. In time, the burning flames of forever-unfulfilled desires for pleasure will eat away at your mind, your emotions, and even your physical health. Thus it is sometimes described as "going to hell" because the flames of sense desire can never be fulfilled, only temporarily sated. Like a drug addict, even when there’s no longer pleasure there is a compulsion to indulge. Self-respect is thus the first victim.

And why is this so? Because pleasure is, by necessity, a temporary experience. Repeated indulgence eventually wears down the body and nervous system and brain causing nervousness, tension, dullness and loss of vitality and memory. The only true happiness to be found lies in the Self, within: from which all things are created. In God alone is the true and lasting pleasure of Bliss. If not long before, at least eventually, illness, old-age and death bring to an end all earthly pleasures.

So while it is true that the mind should be on its guard from avidly seeking and indulging, one should not unnecessarily expose oneself to the magnetic attraction of a universal and deeply embedded delusion, lest one risk spiritual death (at least for this lifetime).

Thus it is a fact that throughout the world, society and spiritual teachers counsel that we must keep our sexual impulses in check by the boundaries of love, trust, loyalty, respect and friendship born of a committed relationship.

Don’t think for a minute that you are different and can flaunt humankind’s wisdom. Media is simply a business and sex sells. Don’t think these things are "normal" even if pervasive in the world today. It IS a delusion and it IS a powerful delusion. Just because "everybody does it" doesn’t make it appropriate for a truthseeker. The world is filled with foolish and ignorant people, most "enjoying" varying degrees of misery. The amount of suffering on this planet caused by inappropriate sexual activity and promotion of sex is beyond measure. Keep your distance, my friend!

Pray for guidance and for self-honesty!

Nayaswami Hriman

ruchit
india

Question

thing is when i meditate first thing i experience is when i am calm and close eyes i notice some colors floating around me such as purple,red and white and sometime it feel like i suddenly got shot i.e travelling into white light what is it??

also sometime when i finish meditating i feel electrical sensations on some body part like those part are getting shocked or something buzzing under its skin what is it??

Nayaswami Seva

Nayaswami Seva

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ruchit,

Since I do not have these experiences myself I can only guide you with some thoughts I have heard from my teacher, Swami Kriyananda. What you are describing seems to me to be spurts of Kundalini energy rising from the base of your spine (the coccyx center or Muladhara Chakra). There are six centers in the spine that act as transformers, so to speak, for the main energy of Kundalini that travels upward to the brain or to the Spiritual Eye, the center at the point between the eyebrows.

Swamiji continues to say that Kundalini, the serpent power, is man’s greatest single key to enlightenment. Only from arousing this force from its sleep state at the base of the spine from its resistance to divine truth can the soul hope to reunite itself with the spirit.

There is much written about Kunalini and the chakras. You can read Swami Kriyananda’s words in The Art and Science of Raja Yoga and Chakras for Starters books published in India by Ananda. The meditation technique that Yogananda has given us is called, Kriya. This technique gently helps to raise the Kundalini energy. Raising this power too quickly and strongly can be harmful.

Possibly you are experiencing these spurts of energy from the Kundalini. What you want to experience, however, is the full flow which can come with proper meditation techniques, such as Kriya. You can become engrossed in the spurts (the beautiful colors, etc.), but they will not take you to your goal. It is best when in meditation, in the calm state, when feeling this energy, to focus your attention at the Spiritual Eye, the Ajna Chakra. Feel that the energy is going there. Keep your concentration strong at this center. Eventually these spurts will calm down and will flow naturally upward.

Joy to you, Seva

Tom
Lithuania

Question

Hi

What do you think about out-of-body experiences (OBEs)? Yogananda said the astral world is the place where we go after death, and in his Essence of Self Realization he wrote he can see this world almost all the time, and how beautiful this world is. Did he talk about the same astral world as being what we can see when having OBEs? What’s the difference between astral projection, and those other techniques, for advanced kriya yogis? Thank you

Nayaswami Savitri

Nayaswami Savitri

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Tom,

Thank you for writing us from Lithuania. Joy and blessings to you!

Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda both emphasize that the deeply committed truthseeker should never seek psychic phenomena, such as out-of-body experiences or astral projection though their meditations or in any other way.

If these phenomena happen in a natural or un-sought-out way, then that is a different thing. At that point, one should pray deeply to God and Guru to be guided on what is trying to happen for you and how best to work with what is happening, so that the ego doesn’t get involved.

The Masters and great ones certainly are able to do things like astral travel, if they are so directed by God. But for anyone else (you mention advanced Kriya Yogis, and I include them in this advice), to "play around" with trying to make them happen is not a good thing to do.

You ask: "Did Yogananda talk about the astral world as being what we can see when having out-of-body experiences (OBEs)?" Not to my knowledge. My best guess, and from what I have read that people say about OBE’s, is that they could be experiencing either the astral worlds or some other location in a material world.

Your progress in meditation is based on your moving toward oneness with God (Self-realization) and you can best determine how well that happening by noticing how you are changing for the better as a person in daily life. That is a much better "measuring stick" of spiritual progress than visions, phenomena, etc., or the lack of these things.

To learn more about the subjects you are bringing up, I’d suggest that you read or re-read the chapter from Autobiography of a Yogi called "The Resurrection of Sri Yuktewsar." Another book on this subject, which I’d highly recommend to you is by Swami Kriyananda and is called How To Be a True Channel.

Lijo joseph
India

Question

Hi am 32 old, catholic, and live with my mother. I took kriya initiation from YSS 1 year back and am facing many problems. I'm afraid, after entering into this path, many misfortunes are visiting me one by one. After one year I began to learn the lessons, my father passed away suddenly, then after 2 years I got married and within one month she left me and filed many false cases against me and demands money to withdraw the cases,now my job is at stake. why all these happens ? how i can solve ? help me.

Nayaswami Hriman

Nayaswami Hriman

Ananda Seattle

Answer

Dear Lijo,

I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I want to assure you that these troubles are not the result of Kriya Yoga. Troubles come to all of us from time to time in life and a meditation practice like kriya can help strengthen our faith to accept what we can’t change and find the energy to change what we can.

Use your daily kriya practice to contact God through the guru so you can have the inner strength and guidance to move through life and difficulties with calmness, confidence and courage. Changes and disappointments always seem hurtful when they come but perhaps these are opening up your life for new directions and opportunities.

Do you stay in contact with YSS (Yogoda Satsanga Society) or Ananda? It is important to meditate with others who practice Kriya and who study the teachings of your gurus.

There are Ananda centers in many of the major cities of India. I think you would benefit from the satsang and counsel of Ananda members and acharyas.

May the light of the Masters guide your path toward freedom in God.

Nayaswami Hriman

Siddharth Patel
India

Question

What is meant by service to God? What is the need of service? What does God get by Being served?

Nayaswami Parvati

Nayaswami Parvati

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Siddharth,

Service to God is done to help us, not God. God, as you know from the ancient teachings of India, is not only in everything, but is everything, including us!

We were all brought into being from the Divine. It is said that the Divine is in every atom of creation. It isn’t God who needs service from us, but it is we who need to serve in order to grow spiritually. Service to the Divine purifies the heart’s feelings and uplifts them.

But it is not enough to simply state these ideas, we must realize them through regular meditation practice and through devotional service to that Divine presence. Service can be what we do when we are not meditating. It’s simply a matter of attitude.

Paramhansa Yogananda had a close disciple who he was working with spiritually. One day she was helping him in the kitchen as he prepared a meal. She, feeling restless, began cleaning up after him. As she did this she noticed that he was dirtying more and more dishes than ever. As soon as she cleaned one, there were many more to do. Finally, feeling that it might be better to wait and do them all at one time, she sat down. Yogananda smiled at her, said nothing, and proceeded cooking. She noticed that he was now dirtying hardly any dishes. The lesson she gained from this was that her restlessness had made her service unfocused and therefore unproductive spiritually. She had not been thinking of God as she worked, but only about how many dishes there were and how hard she was working.

This same disciple, who had worked hard all her life, received another important lesson in this way from Yogananda. He said to her one day, “You have worked hard all your life. You need to not work so hard!” Then the following day he gave her more things to do than before. This same conversation repeated itself several times. Each time she tried to cut back what she was doing, her guru gave her more to do. Finally she got it, and said to him, “Master, perhaps we should refer to what we do here as service, rather than work.”

Master laughed. “It has been a good show,” he said. “All your life you’ve been thinking, Work! Work! Work! That very thought was exhausting you. But just see how differently you feel when you think of work as a divine service! When you act to please God you can do twice as much, and not feel tired!”

I would suggest experimenting with acting as though you were serving the Divine, both in what you do and in everyone you interact with. It’s naturally a process to take on this attitude, but see what happens when you do, both to your own energy and consciousness and to the people around. You may well find that life becomes much more enjoyable and harmonious. And this joy and harmony will help you to meditate more deeply as well.

Good luck and many blessings,

Nayaswami Parvati

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