Keeping One’s Mind on God in Daily Life


Paramahansa Yogananda has always urged us to seek God around us and in everything we do.

I would like to ask what does this truly entail? In our everyday lives, what does it mean to go about our duties yet keep the focus on God?

What is it that we really need to focus on?

Please shed some light on the same.

—Nandini, India


Dear Nandini,

That’s a good question, because it’s something that can really change every aspect of our spiritual life, including our meditations.

There are several ways that you can do this. With different life and work environments, and with various people and personalities, different approaches will work for each individual. Experiment! I’ll talk about a few that you can try out.

One is to practice mental japa throughout the day. This can be a God-reminding phrase that you repeat over and over, or a simple mantra that helps keep your mind on God. When this is done often enough, it can become such a habit that it builds its own momentum and is always there in the back of your mind, reminding you of God or the Guru.

Most people have many times during the day where they must intently focus on the work at hand, on their children, driving a car, etc., so the practice of japa is one of the best ways to keep the mind on God during the day without distracting us from being effective in what we do.

Swami Kriyananda gave me this personal advice about practicing a form of mantra or japa:

I have found that mentally chanting “AUM Guru” is a wonderful practice. If you keep that consciousness day and night, it is amazing how you can change. You feel more and more desire for God, more and more purity of heart, more and more dedication.

Some Christians have a similar practice, where they try to mentally repeat throughout the day the phrase, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”

Again, experiment, and use a phrase or mantra that is meaningful to you.

In the last few years I’ve been experimenting with developing the habit of turning to God at certain times, or when certain events happen during the day. I’ve found a great deal of success with using certain triggers, even negative ones, to quickly help turn my mind to God. You can read more about this in my blog titled “Devotion as a Habit.”

It’s also very helpful to see all of one’s daily activities and service as being done for God and with God. Share your thoughts during the day with God. When you are walking, whether in the city or in the country, share what you see with God. Pray for those you see, or share the humor of the situation with God. When you suffer or feel pain, also share that with God.

Again, there are many ways to eventually develop the habit of tuning in to God throughout the day. Find what works for you, and see it as a wonderful and grand experiment!