My husband, Tim, and I moved to Ananda Village in 1978. It was still the pioneering “good old days” at Ananda and sacrifices were necessary to help build the work. We worked in community jobs for very modest salaries. Tim worked in the community’s cabinet shop, I in the nursery school.
Being at Ananda accelerated our spiritual growth tremendously; our inner life was deeply blessed. But our family was also growing (three children eventually), and we soon had new responsibilities to fulfill.
The challenge of earning a living
In the days before the internet, it was tough making a living in an extremely rural area. We lived very simply: we had a large garden and I sewed many of our clothes. I was mostly a stay-at-home mom and did childcare, sewing, or baking to bring in a little income, but for years, there was no money to cushion against the unexpected.
This gradually created a sense of “lack,” which developed its own magnetism. Our family had to experience several episodes of extreme financial difficulty before Tim and I found the right balance between living simply and being able to joyfully attract the money we needed. In fact, we focused so much on “spending less” that it was a “light bulb moment” when we realized we actually needed to “earn more.”
The cabinet shop: a hard teacher
The vehicle for much of our “instruction” was the Ananda cabinet shop. As a capable craftsman, Tim soon became manager. At that time, however, small cabinet shops tended to be high overhead and low profit; the least little breeze of a housing recession would nearly blow them over.
In a very serious recession in the early 80’s, two thirds of all the cabinet shops in the county went bankrupt. Tim was the last to throw in the towel.
Tim found other work in town, but eventually started getting calls for his beautiful cabinetwork. He started up again privately, renting the old cabinet shop space. We had some good years and also some bad years.
Suffice it to say, the bad years gave us a taste of real hardship. Through it all, our family life was happy and we retained our inner peace. But when simplicity goes too far, it starts to feel like poverty.
To disconnect from the unpredictable housing industry, Tim began making meditation benches.* Later, he also made hammer dulcimer musical instruments, and some wonderful recordings. These ventures started slowly, however, and we were still primarily dependent upon the cabinet business.
A mounting stack of bills
In the early ‘90s, there was another housing slowdown, and the cabinet business really took a hit—we were right back into the same struggle to survive. I was then running the fledgling Ananda Healing Prayer Ministry from home.
One day, in desperation, I placed my hands on a mounting stack of bills and prayed, “Divine Mother, I have no idea how we are going to pay these bills. You will have to show me how.” I then sent divine healing energy into that pile of bills.
An hour later, I was offered a nurse’s aide position three nights a week for an elderly couple nearby. I slept in a private room but would answer their bell as needed in the night. I got $100 a night, and was home with my kids by breakfast! The pile of bills soon disappeared.
“This isn’t about the economy”
Things were better for a little while, but Tim’s business still struggled. At this point he said, “This isn’t really about the economy, it’s about my karma. I’m going to do Master’s ‘material success affirmation’ until this karma is GONE!”
Previously, I couldn’t relate to this affirmation, but now it was quite obvious we needed it. At first Tim and I simply read it aloud together, but once we memorized it, we felt its deep power. Tim would say it 30 times a day. He described the process as “removing cobwebs of disbelief from my mind.”
One day, soon after we memorized it, I was feeling anxious about some upcoming bills. But now Yogananda’s powerful words were implanted in my mind, right beside that fearful sense of lack. I realized I had a choice. So I said the affirmation again, with power! Things improved immediately.
A huge turning point
This period was a huge turning point for us. We felt many inner blocks dissolve. Tim felt the inner guidance to “hold up each business decision to the spiritual eye.” In the past, his business struggles often came after taking on a “bad” client when cabinet jobs were scarce. Now that he trusted his intuition, there were no further financial setbacks.
In time, Tim’s meditation bench business became the family’s primary source of income, especially once he had a good website. We were able to meet our obligations and even save a little. Life was still fairly simple, but at a higher level.
An opportunity to expand
In June 2006, Swami Kriyananda invited Tim to perform one of the main roles in his play, Jewel in the Lotus, during the 2007 International Mahasamadhi Retreat in India. Tim wanted me to go, and also our youngest son, David, who still lived at home.
All of a sudden this looked like a very expensive trip! How were we to pay for it? We didn’t have money for international travel for three people, and I didn’t want to go into debt again. I found myself almost resenting the expense of the trip, yet I wanted to be receptive to God’s flow.
Swami Kriyananda’s new course, Material Success through Yoga Principles, teaches how to magnetize abundance as needed, without getting trapped in the desire for luxury. Studying these lessons helped dissolve a few remaining blocks about money, giving me inner “permission” to receive God’s blessings to meet any needs in life.
So, I prayed, “Divine Mother, I hope you have a plan, because we sure don’t…”
A “thank you” from Divine Mother
In July, I received a number of unsolicited donations earmarked for the trip, almost the exact amount of my plane ticket. Based on what the donors said, the money seemed like a “thank you” from Divine Mother for my years of service through Ananda’s Healing Prayer Ministry.
In September, Tim was given some “free miles” to cover his plane ticket, but we were wondering how we would manifest the rest of the money for the trip (David’s plane ticket, hotel costs, etc.). Later in the month, when Tim and I were visiting beautiful Lake Tahoe and gazing down at the expansive view, I started to affirm with him half-jokingly, “Who brings in the orders? God brings in the orders!”
Suddenly, we were joyfully invoking God’s support to flow through Tim’s meditation bench business. September was Tim’s biggest month ever, October was even bigger, and so it continued….
A desire to serve others
At the heart of our affirmations was the desire to serve others—by taking the play to India and by energizing the new Indian healing prayer ministry. This expansive motive inspired us to affirm exuberantly, much more so than if the trip had been only for ourselves.
Later that fall, when I was asked to teach piano lessons to Gaurja, an exchange student from India, I realized I had really begun to trust Divine Mother’s “financial flow.” Since Gaurja’s funds were limited, I didn’t charge for the lessons even though we still lacked all the money for the upcoming trip. Surprisingly, giving these lessons proved to be great fun, and a joyful balance to my service in the healing prayer ministry.
To teach Gaurja, I used the piano in the Ananda Village thrift store—years ago, I had sold my old, worn-out piano and never replaced it. I soon realized, however, that I needed my own piano for the convenience of teaching at home and to brush up on my playing.
Searching online, I found a very high quality electric piano priced 80% below retail, but still much more than we wanted to pay. Amazingly, it felt right to Tim and me to buy this piano. It made no sense! I was giving piano lessons for free, and we were leaving for India soon, yet the inner feeling was calm and very expansive. We ordered the piano.
Almost the exact amount
Soon after, we left for India. After two nights in the hotel, I casually mentioned to Sangeeta, Gaurja’s mother, that I felt lonely at the hotel and missed being with other devotees. Before I even knew what was happening, Sangeeta had arranged for us to stay in the homes of two devotee families in India, only a short car ride from our ashram. This turned out to be a delightful highlight of the trip.
Once back home, we realized that without hotel bills to pay, we now had enough money to pay for the piano. It almost worked out to the exact amount.
A growing sense of trust
I am deeply grateful to be more in tune with this expansive flow of abundance. My heart is more openly trusting of God’s flow, even when I don’t know how it will all work out.
As this grows trust grows, I am able to serve in more and more ways, with fewer limits. It’s time to let the music, the healing prayers, and the abundance flow.
Material Success Affirmation
by Paramhansa Yogananda
Thou art my Father
Success and joy
I am Thy child
Success and joy.
All the wealth of this earth
All the riches of the universe
Belong to Thee, belong to Thee.
I am Thy child.
The wealth of earth and universe
Belongs to me, belongs to me,
O belongs to me, belongs to me.
I lived in thoughts of poverty
And wrongly fancied I was poor
So I was poor.
Now I am home and Thy consciousness
Has made me wealthy, made me rich.
I am success, I am rich.
Thou art my treasure, I am rich, I am rich.
Thou art everything, Thou art everything.
Thou art mine.
I have everything, I have everything.
I am wealthy, I am rich.
I have everything, I have everything
I possess all and everything
Even as Thou dost, even as Thou dost.
I possess everything, I possess everything.
Thou art my wealth.
I have everything.
From Scientific Healing Affirmations, 1924 edition.
All-Purpose Self-Healing Tool
Are the struggles of life getting to you? Use this healing prayer affirmation from Paramhansa Yogananda.
Focus deeply at the spiritual eye, and repeat three times:
“I will with my own will, which flows from the divine will, to be healthy to be well, to be prosperous and spiritual, to be well, to be well.”