Why Does Hardship Come and What Can I Do?

Question

I always felt that i am a blessed child of god. i am very sensitive towards other beings and nature. I love animals, trees But now because of some hardships in my life, i don't feel blessed. I have never done any wrong to anyone then why such hardship ?? How do i come to know if its some past life karma that m facing such hardship from those people which is making me go insane and i keep feeling suffocated, lost and insecure.how to know about that past life karma and fix it?

—Godseeker, India

Answer

Dear Godseeker,

It is so beautiful that you have felt a lifelong connection with God and have experienced that divine presence in nature and in other people. When the devotee has a strong spiritual commitment, God urges us to come closer and dive deeper. There is no standing still on the spiritual path — if we are not going forward then we are going backward. To progress spiritually means courageously to take the next step forward to Him regardless of the challenges. Tests come to the spiritual aspirant to make him strong and increase his desire for God’s presence. Tests are in fact a blessing — though the devotee may not realize how much spiritual progress he has made until after the tests have passed.

Paramhansa Yogananda, who was self-realized and an avatar who came to earth to introduce millions to God, was strongly tested during his work in America. At such a time he wrote a beautiful prayer. Read this prayer and embrace its power for your own life. Repeat it many times a day if you feel to. God is waiting for the devotee to sincerely call for help.

A Prayer (Received after a great test of God)

In disease or in health, in success or in failure, in poverty or in prosperity, in joy or in sorrow, in disaster or in safety, in life or in death, I stand immutably, unalterably, unshakably loyal, devoted, and firmly loving Thee, my Heavenly Father, forever, forever, and forever!

(from Whispers from Eternity by Paramhansa Yogananda, edited by his disciple Swami Kriyananda)

Yes, we reincarnate because we have past karma to work out and spiritual lessons to learn. Karma is set in motion by past actions, possibly many lives in the past, and we have no memory of what transpired. When the time comes to balance the scales of karma, we can rise above the challenge if we accept what comes pleasantly and even-mindedly. It is a gift when we are given opportunities to do so because to reach freedom in God all past karma must eventually be resolved. Our soul is an individualized expression of God. It is only our ego — that part of our consciousness that is attached to our body, our actions, our likes and dislikes — that is challenged and suffers. When tests come, if we remain inwardly untouched by gain or loss, ever steady and clinging to God, then we win the battle of life, resolving the past and not creating any new karma. Yogananda said the life of the devotee is not easy but will be victorious if he never gives up the fight.

I encourage you to take your spiritual commitment to the next level. Call to God personally and repeatedly in prayer and ask for His help. No challenge is too great when faced with His support. Ask Him to reveal to you your next step and guide you to solutions for your current problems.

It is most helpful to have a meditation practice and connection with a community of fellow spiritual seekers that can provide support. You may have such a practice and community, in which case I encourage you to draw strongly on these. If you would like to explore the teachings and spiritual support available from Ananda then please take a look at our offerings. There is a 9-week online course Lessons in Meditation with classes, meditations, sharing with other students, and opportunity for personal support from instructors. New courses start regularly. At Online With Ananda there are free events as well as many other classes and opportunities for group sharing and meditation. Ananda is also in India at www.anandaindia.org and you can find courses in meditation and the spiritual path there as well.

Yogananda called life a battlefield between the forces of light and darkness, saying that we must fight our battles on the very spot where we now stand. Be determined to defeat darkness now. Use every spiritual tool. Our soul’s destiny is to be victorious.

Many blessings to you.

Nayaswami Mukti