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Kriya While Pregnant
August 26, 2015

renata
slovakia

Question

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.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Renata,

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,

Mary Kretzmann

Author of Finding God In Your Family

You might be interested in this video: Devotion — We Become What We Concentrate On, by Swami Kriyananda

vihar
india

Question

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?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Vihar,

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.

And this:

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.

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

 

Pradnya Chaugule
India

Question

Acharya Pranam,

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?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Pradnya,

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.

Blessings,

Mary Kretzmann, Director,

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

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.

ruchit
India

Question

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.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

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.

Be well.

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

No Love Is Ever Lost
April 21, 2015

Geeta
India

Question

Hello, my father passed away in June last year. I miss him everyday very much. I pray to meet him after I die. I never get his dream Never to meet him, such thought is unbearable. He was good.I live with my old mother. Thought of being alone after her causes great fear of loneliness, anxiety comes almost every night after sleep. Inspite of praying and chanting. I am unable to get rid of it. How to remove fear of loneliness, dependency on work ,friends. Grateful.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Geeta,

I am very sorry for your loss. Please know that no love is ever lost, and you will see your father’s soul again. Paramhansa Yogananda teaches us to continue to send our love to our loved ones after they have died. You do not have control on whether or not he appears to you in a dream, but you do have the power to send him your love, anyway. Please know that he will receive that love.

These words of Paramhansa Yogananda offer guidance:

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.

Please know that your father developed good karma by his goodness, and earned your lasting love. By this we know that he is in a blessed place in the astral world.

Yogananda also wrote:

Souls in the astral region are clothed in gossamer light. They do not encase themselves in bundles of bones with fleshly covers. They carry no frail, heavy frames that collide with other crude solids and break. Therefore, there is no war in the astral land between man’s body and solids, oceans, lightning, and disease. Nor are there accidents, for all things coexist in mutual helpfulness, rather than antagonism. All forms of vibration function in harmony with one another. All forces live in peace and conscious helpfulness. The souls, the rays on which they tread, and the orange rays they drink and eat, all are made of living light. Souls live in mutual cognizance and cooperation, breathing not oxygen, but the joy of Spirit.

Do you meditate? If not, it will help you very much. You mentioned that it is difficult to chant and pray. That can happen in grief, because when our hearts are open to God, we also open more to the grief inside, and so more tears come. And of course, we want to feel God’s bliss and the tears don’t feel like bliss at all, and so we become nervous to meditate deeply. Even so, please do try to do at least 5–10 minutes of Hong-Sau on a regular basis, and soon you will be able to meditate more. This short meditation video will help you to renew your practice. Your deepening calmness will bless you, and also allow your father’s soul to send his love back to you.

Deep grief is a heavy vibration, and the lighter vibrations from the astral world have a hard time cutting through it. Please know that he is already sending you his love and concern, but the grief and anxiety create static that make it hard to get through. The calmness of meditation will allow you to receive the love of your father, and also the love of God and Guru.

Your first step is to read the words of Yogananda, believing. And then pray and meditate, believing. Once you meditation goes deeper, you can also try this method that he taught, below.

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 Christ center 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...." 

You can read more about these things in Karma and Reincarnation: The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda. It is available in India, and in the USA.

You mention that you are also anxious about the day when your mother has also passed on. For now, please do not think about this. Instead, deepen your relationship with God so that you can be guided in every moment of your life.

Please know you can also request healing prayers to help you develop peace and calmness at this time.

Blessings,

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Recommended Reading: Karma and Reincarnation by Paramhansa Yogananda

SJ
India

Question

Aum Guru,

I know that what I am about to ask is not a good thing for a person on the spiritual path( I am a kriyaban).But, my lack of hair is really affecting my self-esteem and I feel depressed. Can you provide me with a spiritual solution like a prayer chant for thick healthy hair?. Thank you.

P.S-please do not publish my name on the site. Thank you once again.

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear SJ,

Thank you for your question. Ultimately we must understand that we are made of God’s light, but it is natural to want to look one’s best. You do not mention if you are male or female, or young or old. Is your "lack of hair" severe enough to get in the way of marriage or career? These days it is fashionable for men to shave the head, so that is why I ask you if you are male or female.

Here are a few ideas to help you:

  • Practice gratitude for the things that are healthy and well in your bodily temple. Do you have healthy eyes, ears, skin, feet and hands and internal organs? If so, give thanks for the miracle of wellness that is happening in those areas of your health. Be grateful every day.
  • From this grateful attitude, you can then visualize that every atom and cell of your being is well in God’s Light. Know that this is already true in your astral body.
  • Please also do this affirmation every day for general wellness and lifting of your spirits.
  • From this attitude of wellness you can pray to be guided to an answer, and then leave it in God’s hands. Be at peace. There are many solutions to help one’s hair to be thicker, in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and in western herbal traditions. Let prayer and gratitude guide you to find the solution.
  • Finally, determine to be at peace with your situation, no matter what the outcome. Be not only at peace, but be in full joy and love. Be grateful for every good thing.
  • Write something in a gratitude journal, every single day.
  • And if still you find you are regretting your general lack of hair, please look up Nicholas James Vujicic. He is in his early 30’s and was born with no limbs. He said, “I never met a bitter person who was thankful, or a thankful person who was bitter.”
  • And consider getting an attractive wig or headscarves, etc. Make yourself as attractive as possible, so you can then forget about it. Do your best and leave the results in God’s hands.

And last but not least, find a way to be of compassionate service to others, such as the poor orphans or widows in India. (Ananda India has recently started a trust to help the less fortunate.)

Please do not feel that I am saying this in order to minimize your feelings about your hair, or lack thereof, but rather to help you find the pathway to joy in the midst of this karma. I hope and pray you will be deeply blessed with Guru’s grace.

Blessings,

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Rush
USA

Question

I have read a lot cases this past year over stories of school shootings / rapes / pedophilia, and it saddens me because these are preventable things — but these ppl are afraid to admit their issues for fear of being judged. Society today just labels them 'monsters' and doesn’t have any sympathy to them. But unless we are open to hearing them, they will fester hidden in society. What can we do on a personal/social level to help? How can we get over the 'gut' urge to reject and scorn them?

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Rush,

Thank you for your letter and your compassion on behalf of erring humanity. Since you have an urge not only to help individuals who are within your sphere of influence, but also society in general, you may want to examine what would be the best use of your time and energy.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • When you hear a disturbing news item, pray for those involved. Pray for them NOW. Ask that the victims be comforted, but also that the perpetrator be healed of the dark tendencies that led to the act. Let your compassion flow both ways.
  • Paramhansa Yogananda said we can do more good if we ourselves are transformed. Embrace your divinity on a more profound level so that you are able to send out deeper prayers for those areas that concern you.
  • Find ways to help society in positive ways that bring upliftment to others.
  • Meditate and love God. Then help others to meditate and love God.
  • Pray for individuals, and pray for the upliftment of the planet.
  • Pray that saintly souls be born to our nation, and to other regions of the world.
  • Consider that you may be watching too much of the news and you are getting whipped around by it. Meditate deeply and then send rays of peace and blessing to all receptive souls. If you find that the news is disturbing your peace, then meditate more and watch the news less.

Also, in your compassion and non-judgement for those who have committed the crimes, be careful to not judge those who scorn said crimes. For they have their reasons, too. Perhaps they are afraid for what might happen to those they love. If you want to "listen" to the one, then you need to listen to the other, too. In the healing prayer ministry we have received many letters from families devastated by the crimes you mention.

The universe is Infinite. We are blessed that many children with good qualities are being born to this planet. Some people refer to these spiritually gifted ones as "indigo children." But the very crimes that you mention tell us that this planet is also drawing some very troubled souls who have fundamental lessons to learn in the Do unto others as you would have them do unto you department.

You are right that we should not scorn them, and that we should try to help them before they act — if they should choose to seek help.

But these dark tendencies are something that people hide, not so much from fear of judgment of others, but for fear of having to face themselves and change. People tend to justify their tendencies until life itself makes it clear they need to change their ways. That is why there are sometimes spiritual conversions in prisons.

Furthermore, Christ said on the cross, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. He didn't say that they know darn well what they are doing, but they don’t have anyone who understands them to talk to about it. They were blind to the karma they were creating by putting Him to death.

Over the year we have received many letters from prisoners who have committed very serious crimes. Some of them have since turned their lives to prayer and meditation. We help them in every way we can, often with free books, correspondence, and other spiritual aid. Some of our Ananda ministers have gone into the prisons to offer spiritual counsel.

One prisoner wrote me a letter saying, "I did not commit this crime, and yet I know I am guilty. In my heart of hearts I realize that I got away with a very similar crime in a previous life, and that is why I accept my prison sentence now. There is no escaping karma. Please pray for me, and allow me to pray for others..."

Another prisoner had committed one of the crimes you mentioned above, pedophilia. He knew he had broken a great taboo in society, but it was only after three years in prison that he finally realized he had hurt the other person, the victim. He realized it was not simply a taboo that he had broken, but it was truly an emotional and psychological injury to the younger person.

Help already exists for those who grasp that they indeed have a problem that needs to be healed. When a person merely grasps that something is wrong because it breaks a societal taboo, then hidden in the mind is the thought that society needs to loosen up. The underlying feeling is "I am fine — but society should change."

But once a soul had changed for the better they may seek to help others with the same issues, now or in a future life. They know what it is to suffer from the particular delusion that led to their crimes. Indeed, helping other souls in that way would serve to expiate some of their karma.

We are all on an upward journey, except that sometimes the soul gets sidetracked or even trapped in a ditch of error.

Forget the past. The vanished lives of all men are dark with many shames. Human conduct is ever unreliable until man is anchored in the Divine. Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now. - Swami Sri Yukteswar

I hope these ideas are helpful to you.

God bless you,

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Kris
Us

Question

Hi, I was wondering if there were any prayers by Guruji or Swamiji, that I could use in the following 3 cases..

1. I’m terrified of driving after a road accident a few years ago.., is there a prayer I can say before starting the engine to help protect us on the road?

2. A Bedtime prayer that can be used with Children? Not too short or banal.

3. And also a Morning Prayer that can be used with Children.

Thank You Very Much!

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Kris,

First, I am sorry to hear that you had a car accident a few years ago. I assume it was serious because it has had this lasting effect on you. Many of us here at Ananda Village say a prayer before starting the car, and especially before driving off of the Ananda land. Many of us also have a small picture of Paramhansa Yogananda in our cars.

There is no prescribed prayer for this, but before you drive, see yourself and your car surrounded in a halo of light. Pray to our line of Gurus, and ask that your trip be guided, protected and blessed. Also, it is good to do other things to strength your aura. Do you have an astrological bangle? They offer a protective power. You can read about them in Chapter 16 of Autobiography of Yogi. Prayer and devotion also strength the aura, but the bangle helps us even when we have momentarily forgotten God.

You also asked about children’s prayers. You will find these free resources to be helpful. Choose whichever prayers seem suitable for your child.

You will also enjoy this section on Family Life Resources: A Treasure Chest of Books and More. It offer free books and articles that will help you at any stage of parenting.

God bless you,

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

Ben Borkovitz
USA

Question

My daughter, who is almost 4, has a lot of tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. Still breastfeeding. Feel like I need help with my practice so that I can stay connected and see God in her and bring out/reinforce the healthy part of her. Any thoughts come to mind for fertilizer for healthy relationship/spiritual parenting? (I do realize that a lot of this is a call to deepen my own practice — a big challenge while also facing the other demands on my time and energy)

Mary Kretzmann

Mary Kretzmann

Ananda Village

Answer

Dear Ben,

Thank you for your question. I started meditating in my early 20’s, married at age 23 and had my first child at age 24. My three children are all grown now, and they are well-adjusted and spiritually inclined individuals. Also, as young woman I was a preschool teacher for a few years. So what I share with you is based on my personal experience, and the inspiration from the teachings of my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda.

Temper tantrums are an unfortunate aspect of childhood, but if they are too frequent it shows that something may be out of balance in the child’s life. Since you say that your daughter throws a tantrum whenever she doesn’t get her way, there are a few things that you can do:

  1. Get her to calm down, saying something like “Take a deep breath,” and ”Use your words…”
  2. If she insists on throwing a fit, a “timeout” may well be in order. I used timeouts for my kids on occasion, but I never exceeded one minute per year of age. So, a four year old would get a four-minute timeout. This is not harsh, especially if you tell the child we are trying to create a peaceful home here.
  3. I sometimes had to resort to locking the door of the bedroom (with a simple hook and eye) if the child would not cooperate with the timeout. I only had to resort to this a few times, but it does get the point across that you mean business. I still kept to the one minute per year of age.

I used timeouts as a last resort. Normally I would find ways to reward positive and cooperative behavior. One day I made a “star chart” that was simply a big field of blue, and the kids could place their star anywhere on the chart after they did something helpful, or without raising a big fuss. They asked me what the reward would be, and I said, “You will notice that when this sky of deep blue is filled up with gold stars, you will have had a happy mama and a peaceful home for quite a while…” That actually made sense to them, and they were only a little older than your daughter at the time.

Children need to learn to behave, not only so they can do well later in life, but also so they don’t make their friends and family miserable in the process. Tell your daughter you want to start working on this so you can all have a happy family and a peaceful household. An only child needs to be told that it is time to grow up, at least a little. In a larger family, such as was common in past generations, a four-year old could not have the entire world revolve around her every little desire. By then she could have easily had two younger siblings, and the child would have to think of the needs of others, even if just a little.

For this reason, it is also helpful for a child to go to preschool or kindergarten for part of the day. I don’t believe in all-day childcare, if it can be avoided (though I know some circumstances require it). But your daughter might really benefit from a part-time preschool program to help expand her reality, and learn healthier ways of relating.

Here are a few free online resources that may be a big help to you now:

  1. Do’s and Don’ts of Good Parenting, by Paramhansa Yogananda
  2. Education for Life, by Swami Kriyananda
  3. Finding God in Your Family, by Mary Kretzmann

Finally, take a moment to look over Family Life Resources: A Treasure Chest of Free Online Books and More. Here you will find many resources to help you at every stage of parenting. Read a little bit each day and apply the things the make sense to you.

You also ask for help on how to "see God in her." I think one of the best approaches to that would be to start the journey of helping her to see God in herself. Paramhansa Yogananda taught that the first gentle steps of spiritual training can begin at age two. With that in mind, consider using these resources for prayers at bedtime, etc. Some of these ideas are for slightly older children, so adapt accordingly:

I hope these resources are a help to you. Please don’t be overwhelmed by it — just read a little bit every day, and your own journey with your daughter will become clear.

God bless you,

Mary Kretzmann

Director, Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry

P.S. And last but not least, you may find this affirmation below very helpful, because when a marriage is happy and strong it is easier to carry out these noble ideals in family life.

Yogananda’s Affirmation for Increasing Marital Happiness

Father, please keep my husband (wife) and I perfectly united in body, mind and soul, and in ever-increasing happiness by Thy perfect law.

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