Are Conditions Always Neutral?
July 27, 2015
Yogananda said that "conditions are neither good nor bad; they are always neutral." I understand that morality is relative, but that doesn’t mean it’s subjective. Isn’t it true, for e.g., that harming an innocent child for pleasure is objectively bad? We have a moral duty to do good. Kriyananda also said that morality is directional in its relativity. So how can all conditions be "neutral"?
This is a subtle and sensitive issue that you raise; one that can easily be misunderstood.
My understanding of Yogananda’s words is that they relate to the level of attachment (the “good and bad”), that we bring to conditions. That doesn’t mean we should let bad things happen around us; it has to do with not reacting to those things, but rather acting in a way that involves dharma, or right action. “Rightness,” or dharma, can be understood as those feelings, thoughts, and actions, which directionally, are bringing us closer to God.
If we see a situation such as you describe, it is certainly appropriate to not condone abusive behavior. It is also appropriate to take action if warranted. However, if we react to wrong behavior in others by getting angry, then we are basically just adding more fuel to the problem.
It is difficult for us to view the play (“lila”) of God and understand that everything in life, good or bad, is happening so as to offer us opportunities for spiritual growth. God is in everything, even when we have a hard time accepting that reality. Perhaps this is the most important thing to gain from Yogananda’s words, "conditions are neither good nor bad; they are always neutral."
I hope this is helpful.
In divine friendship,
Healing After a Devastating Loss
July 22, 2015
My wife passed at 33 years age in a train accident 2 month ago.in 8 years of our married life she left me with my 7 years daughter. Will she forgive me for any mistake of mine that ever I hert her intensionaly or unintentionally.?is this accident took her away from me & my daughter due to any negative karma of mine.? That she has to face this accident. How do I connect to her for confess something or realize her absence?
First, I want to express my deepest condolences to you for the devastating loss of your wife and your daughter’s mother. Paramhansa Yogananda said that God never gives us a test that is greater than we can handle, but when we are in the midst of such a big loss, we can feel overwhelmed with sadness. This leads us to wish we could do it all over, but with even more love.
Please know that your wife forgives you for anything and everything. The soul, once freed from the body, can see things from a more expanded view. Also, in the astral world, when souls are ready, they often have a spiritual guide to help them review their life with greater understanding.
Karma is complex. All we can really see is that which is right before us. We all have so much karma from so many lives. Your wife had the karma to die young, and you and your daughter had this karma to lose her much too soon. But mass karma is also a factor in this, since she died in a train accident, which I assume took other lives, as well. Swami Kriyananda taught that if we are caught in a mass karma situation, it may not mean that we had the strong karma to die that day, but perhaps we needed stronger good karma to counter that mass karma, so that we could survive it. This can happen in small way, such as maybe some people never got on that train, eve though they had a ticket, or maybe they went to another car right in time, etc.
Please know that I am not saying these things to deepen your anguish in any way. Rather, I am trying to help you get past the personal aspect of blaming yourself, or your own karma, for causing her demise. Karma is so vast.
You can send your love now to the soul of your wife, even now. Paramhansa Yogananda wrote:
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 Spiritual Eye 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.
This book can also be of great help to you now. It is available in India: Karma and Reincarnation, by Paramhansa Yogananda.
God bless you.
The Guru's Ray, Flowing Through Disciples
July 21, 2015
Hello. I understand that disciplic lineage is important in finding a guru, a teacher. How do I go about doing this, or is this one of those when the student is ready, the teacher will appear situations? Thank you for your time.
I think the right response is one of those BOTH-AND responses. Yes, when the disciple is ready, the "guru" (which includes the teachings, other disciples, the lineage, and the techniques) "appears," but that won’t happen unless we put out some energy in that direction. Running around helter-skelter to chase after gurus is, of course, silly. But sincere searching for one’s path is serious and committed, if calm and sometimes even humorous!
Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: at first, one is guided and inspired by books; then lesser teachers, and, in time, by the true (or sat) guru. The implication, and the reality that I have observed, is that most of us find our spiritual path in the context of other disciples, perhaps long before we meet the true guru in human form. I put it this way: "The question isn’t who is a true guru, but who is a true disciple!"
We must prove (mostly to ourselves!) that our search is pure and sincere before we can attract that soul who actually has the power to free us. The good news is that God, in the form of one’s true guru, need not be physically present. The guru can guide us through other disciples, through the teachings and techniques and in other ways by our inner attunement. There has to be, as our teacher explained it, one "touch" of the guru at some point in one or more of these ways. But it makes sense because so fulfilling that in some lifetime we will have the living presence and friendship of our guru to guide us to freedom.
One who rejects contact with other disciples in favor of the claim of having a direct connection is warned of pride. So, continue your search and be open to the help offered by those who represent the divine ray to which you are drawn. Step by step we are guided as we grow, spiritually.
Blessings to you,
Helping a Child's Broken Heart
July 21, 2015
My husband issued me a legal notice during 4th month of my pregnancy.I blindly trusted him but he deceived me and my daughter.I had a chance to terminate my pregnancy but being a Mother I didnt.From the community which I belong,father has a prime importance for upbringing of the child.I take all the responsibility upon my shoulders as Shri Swami Vivekanada says and accept what destiny has to offer. But I am unable to c sufferings of my daughter. How can I suffice her pain?
Thank you for your question. I am so sorry that you had to endure this shock during your pregnancy, in what ideally should be a time of peace and harmony between a couple. You do not mention how old your child is at this point, and in what ways she shows her suffering, but I will answer you in some general ways. Please do feel free to write back to me, as needed.
The main "cure" for your child is to pray for her every day, and feel that you are surrounding her heart chakra in love and healing light. We can pray for her, as well. In my private healing sessions I have sometimes come across a similar scenario in which a great trauma happened during pregnancy, and abortion was considered by the parents. In such cases, the baby sometimes internalizes all that angst, and believes on a core level they are somehow flawed, and is the cause of all the problems between the parents. This core thought of being "the problem" can continue through life, unless healed.
I am glad you did not have the abortion. Paramhansa Yogananda says that life begins at conception. So it is a spiritual victory that you did not take the easy way out at that time. She is blessed to have you as her mother.
Please feel free to request healing prayers for your daughter and for yourself, until you feel this issue is resolved in Light. try not to think of her father as the enemy in any way, as this is a burden for your child. He is her father. Some difficult karma was at play, and he wasn’t ready then to live up to the responsibilities of marriage and family. Maybe that will change in the future, or maybe in another life. But for now, simply see him as God’s erring child, who failed you in your time of great need. Hopefully this will help you to let go of some of the pain, and this in turn will help your daughter. Children are very connected to their mothers.
Surround yourself with the support of family and friends, if possible. How old is your daughter now? These spiritual resources may be helpful to you, once you have created a stable life for her. We will pray for you.
Please keep in touch.
Mary Kretzmann, Director,
I am suffering from depression which is caused by the problems of fear of decease n fear of death.i have been practicing haung-sau and om meditation techniques from last 1 year but these thoughts are keep coming during meditaion.plz advice to avoid these negative thoughs during meditation and general advice to improve my condition
Sometimes during times when one experiences depression, fear or other negative emotions, it might not be enough to practice meditation, as the heart is too agitated.
Try adding meditative activities, like walking meditation with a repetition of a positive affirmation like this one by Swami Kriyananda:
"I am strong in myself, I am complete in myself. The joy and perfection of the universe, await discovery within my inner being."
Try walking in nature and relating to the beauty of flowers, trees, and the sound of birds. Focus on deep breathing, and feeling life’s energy and vitality flowing through you. Feel the joy of your own being.
Spend time with positive supportive people.
Find a way to serve other people. Sharing and giving to other people will help you expand your self identity. As you feel more joyful, then you will find that the meditation practices will be more effective.
Right now, it is better to focus on self-expansion, through service to others, through meditative activities, and feeling the joy of your existence. And if you are taking prescription medication for depression, continue that.
Transmute Fear into Wisdom and Courage
July 14, 2015
I have been meditating for 1 month. Sometimes I meditate between the brows and sometimes on the chest center. When I meditate on the chest center, my body gets heated up quickly and a certain kind of fear gripes me. This completely freaks me out. And then I break my meditation. Please guide me as to at which point I should meditate. And why this fear happens.
Congratulations on beginning your practice of meditation. You mention you are either focusing on the heart chakra or the spiritual eye during your practice and that you are experiencing fearful feelings when concentrating on the heart chakra. The fear can be transmuted with regular, sincere practice of meditation and the grace of a true guru like Paramhansa Yogananda or any of the other masters of Self-realization.
I suggest you begin your meditation with devotional chants and offer the love of your heart to God at the spiritual eye and maintain your concentration there. Ask for God’s power to transmute all fear into wisdom and courage.
You have a wonderful opportunity to overcome fear through true spiritual teachings and meditation. May you grow ever more free and joyful as you practice the God given teachings of Self realization.
In Divine Friendship,
Tense to Relax
July 14, 2015
Why do my toes curl up and contract on my in breath whislt meditating, and release on the out breath? This happens late in my 45 minutes mediation period. Also why do I experience intermittent anxiety sometimes during meditation and sometimes not really at all.
There’s no intrinsic physiological reason for the toes to tense and relax with the breath cycle. I suggest it’s a question of deeper relaxation. At Ananda, we teach a series of tense and relax movements tied into the breath cycle that helps relax and dispel tension in the body. They are called Energization Exercises (or "Tension Exercises").
These or something equivalent, including yoga postures or even some stretches, performed before sitting to meditate might be helpful in your case. If nothing else, curl and uncurl your toes three to five times in a standing position BEFORE sitting to meditate. (You might do this one foot at a time!) Also, try an ankle rotation — one foot at a time — three circles one way, three in reverse.
In any case, make sure the feet and toes are relaxed before commencing your meditation.
Then, during meditation, tense and relax them as needed from time to time.
I think if you put attention on relaxing in the area of the feet, you'll find this symptom gradually disappearing.
Blessings to you,
Hello! I have an interesting question I’ve been trying to answer for about five years. I used to be very much into meditating, but I had to stop. The reason is, I learned how to go into a state of deep meditation quickly. When I do this, I become aware of all the layers of negative energy and thoughts I have. I feel almost as if I’m the wrong person. Then quite sadly, my mind goes searching for people and places in time I’ve lost. Why does this happen? How can I resolve it?
I won’t comment specifically on what you have experienced, because what I would like to offer to you is to return both to your own "center" and, following that, to the higher purpose of meditation. For, it is both true and possible that "going within" one encounters the kinds of experiences and impulses which you describe. But as you essentially report, it doesn’t take you anywhere useful, spiritually speaking.
Thus it is that meditation has been taught by true spiritual teachers down through the ages and then used by students and disciples for achieving the higher states of consciousness which are the soul’s true nature. If, therefore, you are seeking to achieve the higher purpose(s) of meditation, I would recommend that you seek a spiritual path, teacher, and technique(s) that resonate with your highest spiritual aspirations.
There’s little point in attempting to define meditation or even its goals but some of the most obvious include the negative side, ego transcendence, to the positive side, oneness with God, and everything else in between. True meditation takes place when thoughts have subsided. For most people, well, many, at least, having a positive focal point is necessary to raise one’s consciousness above the more subconscious states associated with the lower energy centers (chakras) in the body.
Devotion to God, guru, or whatever divine states of consciousness (abstract or personal) inspire you is like a rocket launcher to one’s heart and energy — launching up and past the subterranean darkness of our past. But whether your temperament is devotional, mental, or energetic, an "upward" focus (with eyes to the point between the eyebrows, to the heart in self-offering, and to the mind in seeking transcendence) is ultimately the solution. This "solution" presupposes, further, an openness to divine grace as the ultimate power doing the "heavy lifting" towards soul consciousness. This grace is, at first offered to us, by those enlightened teachers (gurus) whose very existence is to uplift and to enlighten. Direct contact with "God" is like trying to call the White House to speak personally with the President — not going to happen!!! Our body and nervous system could not sustain the shock of omnipresence should God "come to us."
As we are encased in flesh and ego, so we need an intermediary and intermediate steps to purify body, mind, heart, and ego. We need a "friend."
Seek and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened. Chanting, affirmation, mantra, visualization, even yoga postures, can, with right attitude and understanding, help you bypass the detours of karma and subconscious states of mind. "God alone!" Find your true path; attune yourself to God through the guru’s grace, teachings, techniques, and service.
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