It has been said that wise are those who place their own wishes into the wish of the Lord, and abide by the wish of God. Of course this is true (as our wishes are guided by desires), but if that is so, how can i know what the wish of the Lord is (He never guides me by words)? How do i know that i am acting according to His wish?
What a beautiful question you are asking. It’s the question of a “true soul”. Yogananda said, “I prefer a soul to a crowd, and I love crowds of souls”: souls who desire to move toward God, and to act according to His wish. But how can we know His wish for us?
The thing is, as long as we are not enlightened, we simply can’t know for sure if we are actually doing the will of God. All we can do is do our best to intuit it, to tune into it. Then we act according to our best understanding, always remaining inwardly open to His inner guidance, humbly, devotedly.
The most important thing is that our intention is pure and firm. Yogananda taught an important affirmation which imprints into our mind the intention to do only God’s will: “I will tune my free will with the infinite will of God and my only desire shall be to do the will of Him who sent me.” (from Metaphysical Meditations)
A central ingredient to know God’s will is regular mediation, done with the intention to inwardly grow close to God. The closer we are, the better we can perceive His will. If you learn Yogananda’s Hong Sau meditation technique, especially the second part is helpful (when we do not practice any technique, but simply concentrate on God, or on one of His qualities). This practice helps to develop intuition, and the way to know God’s guidance is never through the mind, but through calm intuition.
At the end of meditation, you may practice the following technique, which will help you to know God’s will: visualize clearly at the spiritual eye what you are about to do (but are uncertain), and ask, “God, is this Your will?” After some time change your attention to the heart center and try to feel His answer, His guidance. It does not come in words, but as an inner feeling. Then act accordingly. After some time ask Him again in meditation: “Is this Your will?” Again listen. Then continue to act.
Before you act, you may use this prayer, which Yogananda highly recommended: “Father, I will reason, I will will, I will act, but guide Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right thing I should do.” And pray to Him sincerely: “If I err, please let me know, in one way or another. Guide me. I am Yours.”
As you act, know that difficulties and hurdles, or lack of success do not mean that you are doing the wrong thing. On the other hand, success and easy accomplishment do not mean that you are doing the will of God. Your heart alone will tell you.
Here is a last and important “technique”: tuning into a true Guru (one whose consciousness is one with God) is a shortcut to knowing God’s will. He is like a polestar, directing our will toward God. Yogananda explains (in The Essence of Self-Realization): “Cooperation with the guru strengthens the will power immeasurably, for it attunes the disciple’s will to the infinite will of God.”
All the best to you. May your soul flower by doing God’s will. He certainly needs all His available human instruments on this troubled earth.
In divine friendship, Jayadev