About the Expert
Posts by Mary Kretzmann:
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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
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.
Healing Without Ego
September 17, 2015
Am a reiki healer and KRIYA yoga practitioner too I had completed my level2 in KRIYA yoga am having having a doubt about reiki healing ,recently I viewed a video of sadhguru jaggi vasudev who claims that healing is wrong — through healing, a healer is taking ones karma and the patient involved in that healing also healed temporarily but he will also need to pay for that later. Is it true? I am having more trust in yoganandaji what he says about healing (reiki). may I continue reiki?
Thank you for your question. First, this article may help with your question about Reiki. Yes, you may continue Reiki, but eventually you may choose to give it up, in order to feel the presence of the Guru flowing through you even more powerfully.
I practiced Reiki I and II many years ago, and at a certain point I felt guided that I should pray that the Reiki initiation be revoked, so I could be purely an instrument of healing through the grace of our line of Gurus. I had to take it as a “leap of faith”... and so I prayed powerfully for it to be removed. I did not know what the outcome would be, but overnight I felt a very strong increase in both healing power and intuition, for now the Gurus could flow through me more directly....
Pray to our Gurus, and you will be guided when the time is right.
In relation to your other question, it appears that you may be having "spiritual indigestion" as Master called it, when a person studies too many spiritual paths at once. Now that you are a Kriya Yogi, you have taken a vow of discipleship to Paramhansa Yogananda and our line of Avatars; let Master be your true Guru and guide. He gave us teachings of healing prayers and more, so would he give us something that would harm us? Of course not; in fact, when we heal in the right way — it is a sacred seva (service) and thus helps us to burn up our karma to free our souls. It does not ascribe to our egos — unless we heal with ego consciousness, such as "Oh — look at me! I am so great!"
If God has placed someone before you, and you are in the position to help — be grateful for the opportunity to serve God in that form. Then your service is pure and you will be protected.
If we pray to Divine Mother and the Gurus to flow through us in healing, we are not healing in ego-consciousness. We are healing in God-consciousness. It is a form of divine compassion on this earth. Jesus said, "When you do these things unto the least of them, you do it unto Me."
It is very helpful, to pray aloud to the Guru, and to have a picture of the Guru in your healing room. This protects your ego from getting puffed up, and it also protects those who come to you. They will see that you have the humility to pray to the Guru, and ask for Him to guide your sessions. Even in more informal situations, if I am going to close my eyes and place my hands on a someone who has asked for healing, I will say, "I am praying to Divine Mother and my Guru to bless you now..." I talk more about the power of invoking God and Guru in this article, "How to start a local healing prayer group."
Feel that you are healing with God and Guru. Remember that the person before you is a child of God who needs some divine encouragement at this time. Let your words and your healing touch be guided by God and Guru.
Mary Kretzmann, Director
Hello. I have 2 questions.
1 is, do you have any suggestions for good spiritually minded books to read to a 4-5 year old? We already have all of the available Ananda books, and were wondering if there are any more you could advise us.
2nd question. Do you have any advise on how I can stop caring so much about what other people think? I’m trying so hard to overcome this, but I still can’t let go completely of caring what other people think of me (a LOT). I’d be grateful for any advise!
Thank you for your questions. Have you seen our Family Life Treasure Chest, full of resources devoted to bringing divine light into family life? Please scroll down on that page for the section, “Stories for Children of All Ages.” Please also see Life’s Little Secrets, and Prayer Demands for Children.
Years ago, I made a hobby of collecting spiritual books for children. I wrote about this process in chapter two of my online book, Finding God in Your Family. Some of my favorites may now be out of print, but I just saw a nice collection of books on amazon.com when I searched "kids spiritual books." See if any of them resonate with what you feel is meaningful to share with your child.
We do need more children’s books from this spiritual path, and also uplifting books of a universal nature. It is such a powerful way to bring expansive light to young children! This is an area that I would love see developed by devotees of Paramhansa Yogananda. For now we have to use creatively the resources that do exist.
As for your other question, have you ever tried the Affirmation for Psychological Success by Paramhansa Yogananda? By strengthening your inner being, you will naturally begin to have a more balanced view of life itself, and not worry quite so much about what others think of you. Another simple technique is to assume that many other people have the same problem: they are worried about what others think of them! Solve your problem by solving somebody else’s problem. Make it your business to put others at ease with a genuine smile, and a kind word. This will take your mind off of yourself.
Try this affirmation by Paramhansa Yogananda can help you to develop this quality: "As I radiate love and goodwill to others, I will open the channel for God’s love to come to me. Divine love is the magnet that draws to me all good."
I wish you all the best.
Mary Kretzmann, Director
Kriya While Pregnant
August 26, 2015
Could you tell me please if its recommended to do Kriya yoga during pregnancy? I am two weeks pregnant and don't feel somewhat comfortable (the sensation inside of my abdomen isn't pleasant) during Kriya breaths.Thank you.
Congratulations on your pregnancy, and may you be ever guided and blessed in your role as mother. This Family Life Treasure Chest of Ananda Resources will be very helpful to you in the coming years.
Regarding your question of Kriya Yoga during pregnancy: please follow your instincts on this. The nature of Kriya is to withdraw the life force, and bring it up the spine, but of course the developing baby needs that energy, too!
I am the mother of three grown children, and I have been a Kriyaban since prior to the first pregnancy. I noticed that when I did the Kriya breaths with deep concentration and focus, it felt very wrong, like it was pulling energy away from the baby. My heartbeat would also get rapid and then slow down. It also made me dizzy, and I felt out of tune with the divine will for the baby and me. I asked Swamiji about this in my first pregnancy, and he replied, "Do more Hong-Sau."
I found in my next two pregnancies that it was okay if I did a few Kriyas very gently, staying focused on love. In general, while pregnant I found it was most helpful to focus the majority of my meditation on devotion to Divine Mother and Guru. You might appreciate this short talk on how to develop devotion, by Swami Kriyananda.
Kriya was originally meant to be given to those who had forsaken all else, and therefore would not have been pregnant. So, while we are in this special, blessed state of carrying a child, listen to your intuition. Let the Guru and Divine Mother guide you, for there are no rules written on this. Do not stress your body, or the baby’s developing body. Every uplifted and devotional thought blesses your unborn child, and helps to bring out their own seeds of spiritual tendencies developed in past lives.
Pregnancy is such a profound state in which a tiny baby is dependent directly upon your life force. Everything I have written, above, pertains directly to the state of pregnancy. As soon as the baby was born, it changes, and your body is your own again, even if you are nursing your child. It takes energy to create that milk, but not in the same way. Kriya was never a disturbance in that state. However, it is difficult to find time to meditate with a new baby, and so, in this way, the focus on devotion to Divine Mother continues into that phase. You may only be able to do short sessions of Kriya then. But do try to sit every day at your altar even for a short time, and give your love to God. You can also practice prayer, devotion and Kriya as you nurse your baby. Don’t aim for perfection — but instead aim for love and sincerity.
The only time I heard Swamiji address this issue of stopping Kriya to conserve the energy for the body, or for healing was after he had major heart surgery. Normally, he never missed Kriya, but after this heart surgery he did his Kriyas, and he said it felt wrong, like he was pulling the energy away from his heart, when it was needed to do the healing. Please note, the heart is connected to life force and the ability of the body to survive. So I am not talking about minor things.
So, in big circumstance, like pregnancy or major surgery, one may need to pull back from Kriya, or to do them gently. But it is important to not use this as an excuse once that situation has passed. Keep some sadhana going, and if it feels okay — do a few Kriyas gently, as this will keep you in the habit of doing them.
God Bless you,
Author of Finding God In Your Family
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.
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,
Feeling Drowsy? Here Are Some Ideas
May 27, 2015
Do you have any recommendations on how to use acupressure to stop drowsiness?
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.
May you be well.
Is there any way in yoga to heal ourselves if we are infected by harmful diseases , recently i was diagnosed by an herpes zoster virus in my body and i heard that to remove it permanently i need to take help to yoga,
if you know how can i heal myself, please provide guidance to me, it'll be really appreciated.
Thank you for your question. There are several forms of herpes zoster, but I will answer in a general way.
Whenever you are told something is incurable, instead think of it as simply resistant to healing, but not impossible to heal. The pattern of the illness may be that it is typically incurable. But all things are potentially mutable, so apply your best energy to the situation.
Here are my suggestions:
Please read Divine Will Healing by Paramhansa Yogananda. It is available from Ananda Publications in India (and at Crystal Clarity in the USA). Read from it each day to increase your positive frame of mind for healing.
Please also purchase Scientific Healing Affirmations by Paramhansa Yogananda. There are many suitable affirmations in the book. Read it through, and learn to do some of the affirmations with depth and attention. Please start by doing this powerful affirmation daily, and then learn others. Also helpful is Swami Kriyananda’s book, Affirmations for Self-Healing.
One more suggestion is to play the Gayatri Mantra CD daily for at least one month. This is to help you to heal the body cells and also reset your body vibration to a higher level. It might also be helpful to listen to the AUM: Mantra of Eternity cd playing very softly while you sleep. This can bring changes in consciousness within about 3 weeks. These mantras will help your soul to dissolve some old energies that may be holding you back. You can experiment with both CDs and see which one resonates with you most deeply, and focus on that one for a while. I want you to feel that there is some flexibility in this process.
Of course, please do learn to meditate as this will help you to focus deeply on your healing affirmations and visualizations.
Paramhansa Yogananda said, "I know many cures". One that he mentioned for skin ailments was coconut oil. Try to get the purest non-hydrogenated form you can buy. This is a known antiviral. So you can use it topically and you can also eat it daily. A typical dose to heal a chronic viral load would be about three tablespoons a day. You can also simply eat a good amount of fresh coconut daily. These are simply my suggestions, and I advise you to use this as a starting point for your own research, but I have seen coconut oil help many ailments.
It is also advised to eat a healthy diet, of course, and to avoid artificial sweeteners as these seem to interfere with natural cures for herpes zoster. Another powerful remedy is oregano oil, another known antiviral.
Please do the affirmations and listen to the mantras, and know they will help to heal you directly, and also they can serve as a divine magnet to bring healing solutions to you. Paramhansa Yogananda demonstrated miraculous healing power, so please pray and ask him to guide you in your healing process.
I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. Use the mantras and affirmations to raise your vibrations and to help to dissolve the old karmic pattern. Then choose any of the above remedies and apply them with a positive mind. Put your faith in God even as you apply the remedies. God is the healer, but if you also use remedies, ask Him to infuse them with healing potency.
Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry
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