There Is So Much I Do Not Understand. I Feel Overwhelmed.



I have been developing spiritually for some time now. While this has no doubt had many benefits I have noticed one challenge recently. Mainly, I realize that there is so little that I know and understand. Not just about the world around me, but about myself as well. This lack of certainty and sudden synchronicities that cannot be explained can be overwhelming at times. I was wondering if you have any advice.

Thank you.

—Kevin, USA


​Dear Kevin,

It has well and often said that the spiritual path is a process of un-learning. This contrasts with our outer life during which our years of growth and schooling is a process of adding knowledge, attitudes, and opinions to our brains.

Either way, whether by adding information or eliminating complexity one could say that we become confused! While I’m being a little bit “funny” by saying that, what I AM saying is that what you are experiencing is quite normal. As we make the effort to become more self-aware, we realize that we are complicated and we realize that the effort to “know Thy Self” seems to be a monumental task. (Do you meditate regularly? I assume you do.)​

But fear not — for what you are experiencing, unlike adding knowledge, is a good sign. This is because your soul is leading you to the realization that you need a guide. This is where God’s earthly representative — the guru — might come into your life’s picture.

Even if you were to say to me, “But I already am a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda (or XXXX)!” I am talking about something deeper. Deeper than studying scriptures, books, or taking workshops; deeper even than the act of performing good deeds, performing rituals, reciting mantras, or chanting. While all of these things are important, indeed, in some combination, they are absolutely necessary, there is something more. This something more is called “attunement to the guru.” And what is this?

Attunement means having a heart-felt, natural, and steadfast inner relationship with God through the inner awareness of the living presence of a God-realized soul. While some degree of intuition (wisdom-inner clarity) arises from living a pure life, a pure life itself is not enough to dissolve the first and last barrier to certainty: the ego. Nor, in fact, can one truly achieve a pure life without dissolving the vortex of ego-involvement.

“Chop wood; carry water.” For now, accept the fact that your life and the world around you remains a mystery. In some ways, this stage is wonderful because you can let go of pretending or needing to know or have opinions about everything and everyone (including yourself). But you can’t stay in this state forever. In your silent thoughts, in your prayerful moods, in your meditations — call to God in the wordless language of your heart, “Show me the way to your love.” (Wisdom or understanding will come in time but such is far inferior to the sufficiency of divine love.)

And if, in fact, you have a relationship with a God-realized guru, then it is time to deepen that relationship through devotion, through service to the guru, and performance of the duties and practices that the guru gives. Constant thought and constant inner communion — in word or feeling — with the guru is as important as any spiritual practices or duties.

Do you practice Kriya Yoga? If not, you might look into it. If so, deepen it not by personal practice alone, but by being around and practicing with others who do practice.

May the light of divine love be your guide,
Nayaswami Hriman