My daily practice of keeping a quiet peaceful mind goes along well during my day, but if a problem comes up I lose it. I can't seem to be able to release it and let go and get back to my center and stay in the moment.
—Barry DeStein, USA
This is how it is with all our qualities which we are trying to develop. We succeed in maintaining our good quality for some time, but then an obstacle arises, and lo, it is gone.
But nothing is lost in truth, because we have tried to keep up this quality. It is like a muscle. You train it again and again: first it is weak, then it grows stronger, and at last it can even withstand “the crash of breaking worlds,” to quote Yogananda.
The same is true for all qualities. Joy, for example is a sort of inner “muscle” training, too. It doesn’t come because at last there is some great wonderful event and everything goes finally well. It comes instead by practicing joy in all situations, especially in the tough ones. First we lose it again and again, but then the muscle grows stronger. Finally nothing can take our inner joy away from us.
The same with love. It is a muscle training to “love anyway.” At last we can love even our enemy. This kind of love, joy, or peace is true and lasting. The other kinds are weak and transitory, dependent on outer situations.
So keep practicing your “inner peace-muscle”, especially when a problem comes up. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t always succeed. Just get up and try again. “A saint is a sinner who never gave up,” Yogananda said.
Here are a few extra tips for your “spiritual gym”:
– When a problem arises which usually takes your quiet and peaceful mind away, try to take control with your breath: take a few deep long inhalations and breathe with what Swami Kriyananda calls, mental “lungs” (in his fabulous book, The Art and Science of Raja Yoga). This means that you inhale not only oxygen, but you consciously inhale the energy of peace. Our breath in this way can become a powerful transformer.
– Regular meditation will help you to establish and strengthen a strong peaceful mind. Yogananda recommends to meditate in the morning to establish a harmonious aura. Then during the day practice keeping the after-effects of meditation. Try to silently send out a constant energy of peace.
– Our company is important. As much as you can surround yourself with people who have succeeded in establishing a peaceful mind. It will help you.
– Music has a greater influence on our consciousness than most people realize. Swami Kriyananda explains that it directly touches our nervous system, more than any other art form. An agitated nervous system makes a peaceful mind difficult to maintain. So choose music which has a calm and peaceful influence on you. But at the same time it shouldn’t be sleepy music. All spiritual qualities are of high energy, never sleepy… also peace.
– Establishing an inner relationship with God makes all other things less relevant: the more He is present in your life, the less any problem will be able to take your peaceful mind away from you. You will become a “smile millionaire.”
Enjoy the “spiritual gym” of your life, building your muscle of peace, in divine friendship, jayadev