How do I deal with life’s challenges?


In my life I felt calm and quiet for some years and then after a period of time, calamities and problems seemed to come one after another. After a very big turmoil, my life seemed to be steady again but the chain of challenges still doesn't seem to be broken yet. Meditation is not possible in this unstable state of mind. Will prayers work ? I don't want to lose faith in God, come whatever may.

—vaishu, india


Dear Vaishu,

Living in this world pretty much guarantees that we’ll have our fair share of challenges. But these challenges that we face, are really what allow us to grow. As Paramhansa Yogananda said, “There are no obstacles, there are only opportunities.”

It’s important, perhaps even critical, to find ways that we open to God’s presence no matter what is happening in our lives. You mention that meditation is not possible – that might be true. However, it might be helpful to go back to the basics and get refreshed in the techniques. Meditation is constantly being proven by scientific studies as being very effective in dealing with the stresses in life.

Taking the time to work with relaxation is often a key in receiving the benefits of meditation. You might want to spend more time with the yoga asanas (postures) and the breathing exercises. Also, focusing more on Yogananda’s Energization Exercises can be tremendous in freeing up, and working with, prana (energy).

And, yes, prayers are another important way to keep our hearts open to God’s presence and to Superconsciousness. Affirmations are yet another excellent tool. You might want to use Swami Kriyananda’s book, “Affirmations for Self-Healing” to help you. Another resource is the book, “Whispers From Eternity” by Yogananda. Both these books are available at . You can also check with Ananda India at as they may have these publications as well.

One other suggestion is to be around other devotees (satsang) who can give you support and help remind you of God’s presence. Often this can be very effective to help get us over some of our most pressing challenges.

In divine friendship,