On the wall of the Outreach Ministry office at Ananda Village where I work is a framed statement by Swami Kriyananda about how to serve others. The last line reads: “We are part of a great tide of loving, joyful energy that wants to give and give, so long as people are happy to receive.”
God is love, joy, willingness, loyalty—bliss. To be happy we need to cooperate with this flow of energy. It is who we are. Our best interests are served when we are loving, kind, loyal and willing to give of ourselves. We have no choice if we want to avoid the conflicting crosscurrents that arise when we live with a closed heart. These opposing flows of energy often manifest in the form of agitation, which makes us seek more stimulation and an increasingly frantic lifestyle.
When I was in college I received a degree in plant science. As I think back on my bizarre decision to choose this major, I can only say that I really love science. I like to understand how things work and I like to experiment. The path of yoga (Raja Yoga) is fantastic for a science lover like me. I get to experiment with my own life and figure out what makes me happy and unhappy. By the time I was in my twenties, I knew that nothing that the world had to offer could make me happy. I was becoming more and more agitated and I longed for a level of peace and calmness that I knew existed inside of me.
Swami Kriyananda writes in his course Material Success through Yoga Principles:
“People work grimly all their lives, thinking to find ease and happiness at least when they retire. How many men I’ve known who, two years after their retirement, were either senile or dead!
“Don’t look to the future for happiness. Happiness exists in the present. My Guru once said, ‘Most people seek happiness in the future, or create a false cloud of nostalgia for the past. When you can be happy now, then you have God!’”
As long as we occupy a body on this planet at this particular time, we are going to have to deal with money. We can let financial concerns rule us through worry and fear or we can surrender this part of our lives more and more to God’s care. Just think about how much control we have over our expenses. When our car needs an expensive repair job, how much control do we have? The only thing we can control is how we react to the situation. We can consciously try to feel God’s ever-existing joy in that moment. Experiment with tithing and you will find that your financial concerns begin to melt away.
Joy to you!
For Ananda’s “Thank You, God” Tithing