By the time I was thirty, I had already been married and divorced. In the decade after, I married and divorced again, and two other serious relationships started and ended.

You would think at that point I would have given up and become a nun! My spiritual path supported that alternative. But in my heart I knew my desire for a successful marriage was too strong.Despite all these heartbreaks, I never felt abandoned by God. At one particularly painful period, I had to attend the wedding of a friend, even though my heart was raw from a recent breakup. At the reception, I huddled alone in a corner of the room, not wanting to spoil the festive occasion with my sad mood.

Swami Kriyananda sought me out. “I had a dream about you lastmnight,” he said. “You seemed very sad.”

I acknowledged that his dream was true. “This is a hard day for me.” I didn’t have to explain; he knew why. We talked about superficial things for a few minutes longer before he left to speak with others. No circumstance of my life had changed, but after that brief encounter with Swamiji my heart felt lighter and a glimmer of hope returned. Later I wondered, “Did he really dream about me? Or was that just his way of saying, ‘I know what you are feeling. God knows. He is with you.’”

I married and divorced the first time before I came to the spiritual path. In the throes of that disappointment, I went every day at lunchtime to the roof of the building where I worked so I could be quiet and alone. I hadn’t yet learned to meditate, but I knew how to pray.“God, you must help me. I don’t know what to do. You must help me.”

One day I distinctly felt a divine response: “Today your prayer will be answered.” When lunch hour ended, with eager anticipation I went back to my desk. An acquaintance said, “I’m going to Ananda this weekend. Do you want to come along?”

“Yes!” I said, without a moment’s hesitation. In that first weekend at Ananda I knew I had found my spiritual path. Many people seemed anciently familiar — friends, I believe, from past lives who became dear friends also in this incarnation, including the man who became my second husband. He helped me to learn to meditate, to understand Ananda’s teachings, and, within a couple of months, to move to the community.

Alas, that marriage, too, ended in divorce, but at the time his help seemed the answer to my prayer. And I believe it was. The marriage did not have a happy ending, for I had many lessons still to learn. But finding my Guru and moving to Ananda were still the happiest beginning and ending I could have imagined for myself.

Yet the relationship issue, all these years later, was still unresolved. I felt I had to get more serious about putting this part of my life in God’s hands. I had long known about an affirmation Yogananda had written to help people attract an appropriate life-companion. Through the years I had made halfhearted attempts to repeat it. Now I put my whole will into it: “Heavenly Father, bless me that I choose my life companion according to Thy law of perfect soul union.”

The affirmation itself became my life-companion. Every day, as much as I could, I repeated it. A few people told me how well it had worked for them, and how quickly. Their happy relationships were living proof. Weeks went by, then months; then a year, then two. Despite my loneliness, the affirmation itself gave me hope. I remembered the words of Sri Yukteswar: “Everything in future will improve if you are making a spiritual effort now.”

After several years living outside of California, I decided it was time to come home. I tried to find a place to live, and a job in either of the two communities where I’d lived before, but nothing opened up for me. Nothing. The only option was a community I found entirely unattractive. But I had no choice. Every other door was closed.

My sister had suffered several bouts of cancer; and the one advantage of that community was its proximity to her, which proved God-sent. Her cancer did return, and soon after, took her life. Living there I was able to assist more than I could have from anywhere else. My love for my sister and, I believe, my call for a soul companion, brought me there. Within a month of moving, a friendship started that blossomed into romance, and then became — for twenty years now — the happy marriage I have always longed for.

God answers our prayers…eventually.

—from Anonymous

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda