As you walk into Hansa Mandir, one of the first things you notice is a quote from Yogananda stencilled beautifully over the entrance that reads “The time for knowing God has come!” I must confess, for the past few years, I’ve thought “yes, yes, someday…” However, there have been positive changes in my life over the past few months that breathe life and new meaning into that powerful assertion.
It all seems to start from when I picked up a book in a friend’s apartment last spring, entitled Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It was one of those books that draws you in right from the start, and takes you on a journey into the heart of Mexico in search of the elusive running tribe called the Tarumahara. The book also explains that the abundance of knee, hip, and ankle injuries are due to the introduction of the super padded running shoe in the 1970s that allowed one to run with all kinds of imperfections in the stride without feeling immediate pain in the feet.
We, as human beings, were naturally born to run, and I’ve actually made the switch to running in Vibram five fingers, which has made all the difference in the world.
Wait a minute – this is supposed to be a spiritual blog, not a fitness blog!
But yet, we were naturally designed to be able to run without pain and injury, and we were made to know God. I’m trying to run 4 to 5 days a week, and strive to feel God’s joy flowing through me. Running is not the end, but rather the means to bring me closer to knowing God.
Then came another book from my wife, called Thrive by Brendan Brazier, a professional triathlete who trains on a vegan alkaline and mostly gluten free raw diet. The book made a huge amount of sense nutritionally and energetically, and we really noticed a difference in making some changes in our diet. Instead of spending vast amounts of our energy on hard to digest food, we should strive to get the highest amount of energy from the most prana filled food. Some people think that this is all very new, but Paramhansa Yogananda wrote prolifically about this proper diet many years ago. I’d highly recommend a compilation by Craig Roberts, DC, entitled Living Radiance: The Nutritional Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, which include all of Yogananda’s writings on proper diet.
Wait a minute – this isn’t supposed to be a food blog! But yet, just as we were made to function better through proper diet, we were made to know God. When we are eating more in line with what our bodies are designed for (and not what mainstream America tells us!), it gives us more energy, a clearer mind, and a higher vibration so that we may dive more deeply in our sadhanas and stay uplifted throughout the day. This has been a time of awakening in the literal sense as well, as I’ve been able to get up earlier in the morning, with more energy, to have time for a longer sadhana before my 5 year old starts rocking the house.
And finally, the week after Christmas was filled with Source Energy Medicine workshops given by Stephen Pollitt, whose work with vibrational healing waters have enabled Swami Kriyananda to stop taking certain medication.
His work is fascinating, and you can learn more at his website. Perhaps you have heard of Masaru Emoto: Messages from Water, where water is “shown” certain words, and then frozen to reveal staggeringly different crystalline structures. The Source Energy Medicine labels that Stephen Pollitt has created work in much the same way, through ways that we are just beginning to understand. He has written a fascinating book entitled Heal Thyself, which is very inspiring. I cannot give you an adequate description of the work, but suffice it to say that since we’ve been drinking the water, we’ve noticed a tangible difference in the taste of our water, and our energy and consciousness has been significantly at a more consistent higher level, leading to a deepening of my own sadhana.
But wait a minute! This isn’t a blog about water! But yet, through working with the water, I’ve been able to dislodge many detrimental thought patterns, enabling me once again to remain more consistently in a state of higher consciousness. We were born to heal ourselves, and we were born to know God.
And finally, I’ve started reading a book entitled The Field by Lynn McTaggart, in which she, as a journalist, explores the realms of quantum physics and the zero point energy field. Little did I know that the zero point energy field is not some woowoo airy fairy new age mumbo jumbo, but is the actual presence of energy all around us, vibrating in the vast spaces between each electron, proton, and subatomic particle. When scientists remove all matter from a container and then freeze the container to absolute zero (which, according to my wife, was the exact temperature of my feet last night), they still can register fluctuations of energy. I’m not all the way through it, but it begins to be a scientific explanation of Yogananda’s poem, Samadhi.
But wait a minute! This isn’t a book review! And certainly mere understanding, mere diet, and mere exercise do not bring us closer to God without our spiritual practice. What good is a fit and healthy body, if we don’t have God? The inspiration for making these changes comes from my desire to keep up my level of service with ever greater joy and enthusiasm, and to meditate with greater concentration and devotion. Life at Ananda is far from easy, and we need all the help we can get to keep ourselves healthy, vibrant, and able to serve with greater energy. As a success story, this has been the first Christmas Season where I was able to do all of the programs and concerts (all 11 of them) without getting sick, and was able to keep my energy high and my consciousness uplifted for 95% of the time.
I am finally beginning to resonate with this excerpt of Yogananda from Whispers from Eternity:
A lion-cub of the Divine Mother, I was somehow thrown into life in the sheep-fold of human frailties. Living long with the sheep of fear, failure and disease, I bleated with weakness. I forgot my roars which had frightened away all wicked, pestering sorrows.
O Lion of Realization, Thou didst drag me away from the sheep-fold unto the waters of meditation. And Thou didst say: “Open thine eyes and roar!” But I kept my eyes tightly closed and bleated with fear. The roar of Thy wisdom reverberated through me, and Thy hard shakings of spiritual urge made me open my eyes. Lo! there in the crystal pool of peace, Thou didst show me my face to be like Thine!
Now, I know I am the Lion of cosmic power. I will no more bleat in fear of weakness and suffering: I will roar with the vibrant power of the Almighty! Bounding in the forest of experiences, I will seize the little creatures of vexing worries, the timid fears, and wild hyenas of disbelief, and devour them ruthlessly.
O Lion of Immortality, roar through me Thine all-conquering power of wisdom!
May we truly know that we are children of light (did you know that we actually emit photons?), that the thoughts we put out into the world are actually resonating in our very cells, and that our potential truly is to know God in this lifetime! May God’s blessings shower upon you in abundance this new year, and may we every more resolutely know that “The time for knowing God has come!”