In my role as teacher at the Portland Living Wisdom School, I watch the simple dramas of life enthusiastically played out by the children and, if I pay attention, I learn.
Two second grade boys decided to try jumping UP the four steps that lead from one level of the play area to another. One of the boys, who is built small and spry, was able to take a running start and just make it to the fourth step, teetering precariously before getting solid footing. He was pleased with himself and did it again. The other boy also ran and gathered his strength for the jump, but landed on the third step.
“Oh, man! So close! So close!” the boy exclaimed, and he quickly went back to the starting position for another try. Again, he hit the third step. Again, he loudly expressed his near miss, and returned to try again. I watched quietly and prayed for an aura of protection around both boys as they took turns leaping up the concrete steps.
The second boy kept trying and put all his energy into each attempt. Every time he hit the third step I heard him say, “Oh man, if I only got a little bit closer, I could do it!” He expressed frustration, but his energy remained high and hopeful. I lost track of how many times he jumped.
Suddenly, although I had turned away to keep an eye on other children, I knew he had made it to the fourth step because I heard him gleefully, triumphantly shout, “YES! YES! I did it! I did it!” And then he lifted both hands to the sky and with enormous feeling proclaimed,
The word was drawn up from his toes and expressed with such rapture that I could feel the energy radiating out of him to fill the school yard.
The image filled my mind for days. Yoga tells us that power is one of the eight manifestations of God, and I felt privileged to have witnessed this boy’s direct experience of the inner power we can tap into when we direct our will with an open heart.
Upon reflection I realized that power was not something I felt in tune with. In fact, despite the inner joy I feel as a dedicated disciple of Yogananda, I had to admit that I have really been struggling with feeling weak and inadequate – just the opposite of powerful. Power is required for the spiritual warrior or the battle is lost.
So I’ve been playing with affirming power in my daily activities. Practicing Yogananda’s Energization Exercises is a good place to begin feeling power. But I have also tried tuning into power when it feels more natural to be aware of devotion, calmness, peace, or another of the aspects of God (the other four being wisdom, light, sound, and bliss).
My efforts are a little tentative – I think there is part of me that is a bit afraid of real spiritual power. But this morning, when I felt the warm covers holding me back from the call of meditation, I strongly affirmed, “I am a disciple! I am a meditator!” I got out of bed with renewed determination, the first battle of the day won.