What is our job as students of this path and disciples of a great Master? We must offer ourselves completely to God and become receptive to Him. The spiritual path is one of self-giving and receptivity. Both are important.
God wants our love
Many people think, “What could I possibly give God? He’s infinite, with all wisdom and power. He has everything.” But there’s one thing God doesn’t have—our love. He wants us to love Him as He loves us.
God longs for our love because He knows that only through loving Him will we find fulfillment. When we return God’s love, our capacity to receive His love expands. Ultimately, everything we do on the spiritual path is to bring us to the point where we can offer more and more love.
His grace pours into you
There’s a lovely story Yogananda told of a man who was dying of diabetes. The doctors gave him only three months to live, and he thought, “I must spend those three months seeking God.” So he sat down to meditate.
At first he was only able to sit for fifteen minutes, but he kept praying, “Lord, come into this broken temple.” Three months passed and he was still alive. Eventually, he was able to extend his meditation periods to an hour, three hours, and then six hours. Finally, he was meditating most of the time.
One year passed and he was still alive. After three years, he suddenly had a vision of the divine light, and was bathed in that light. Afterwards, when the vision had passed, he saw that his body was well.
He said, “Lord, I didn’t ask you to heal this body. I just asked you to come into this temple.” The Lord said to him, “Where my light is, no darkness can dwell.”
When you love God and offer yourself up to Him, His grace pours into you. It says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Even the worse of sinners quickly comes to me if he steadfastly meditates on Me.” By surrendering ourselves completely to that divine flow, our consciousness expands into the Infinite and we become one with Him.
Opening up to that power
I remember the time when Yogananda wanted me to develop more devotion. I was too intellectual. I didn’t like being that way, but it had become a habit. So I did a lot of chanting, praying and meditating to change my consciousness.
One day, while I was at Mount Washington, Yogananda said to a group of monks at Encinitas, “Look how I have changed Walter,” which is what he called me. When I later learned of his remark, I suddenly realized that this was indeed what had happened. I had opened myself to receive him, and he had changed me. More than anything else what I wanted was his consciousness, and I had tried to receive that into myself.
In my service to my Guru, I haven’t done anything, personally. All I’ve done is to try to put myself in attunement with him, and then ask Him to flow through me. You can’t get rid of the hypnosis that you’re a separate individual on your own. You have to open yourself up. What you’re doing is opening little fissures in your consciousness and allowing His grace to pour in and fill them.
You receive as you give
A technique for attuning yourself to a great Master is to concentrate on his image at the spiritual eye, the Christ center. Visualize his eyes, especially, then try to feel his blessings in your heart. As you meditate on the different Masters, you’ll find that each one has a different vibration.
Yogananda’s most advanced disciple, Rajarsi Janakananda, would often send his blessings to Sister Gyanamata, Yogananda’s most advanced woman disciple. She once wrote to Yogananda, “I could clearly tell his vibrations from yours.” Even though it was Yogananda’s energy, it was filtered through Rajarsi.
You, too, must be an active filter for God. As you pass through this world, try to feel that you can bring God’s peace to others.
If you can learn to give even a little bit, you’ll begin to feel the happiness of the people who receive. It’s a marvelous thing. In that expanded consciousness, you’ll be able to receive much more from Him. But if you don’t give much, you don’t receive much.
What holds us back?
The only thing that holds us back from realizing our oneness with Him is a little veil of delusion that says, “I want this,” and “I like that.”
One of my brother disciples had an inclination to become a scientist. One day some scientists told him, “You could have been a great scientist.” Their encouragement fanned that desire in him, and he eventually left the ashram to become a scientist. There was another disciple who played the piano very well. The desire to play the piano beautifully also took her away.
Don’t let it happen. Everything except God will disappoint you in the end. It can’t be otherwise because ultimately, there’s no joy in these things.
It’s simple to be omnipresent
The more you get rid of such desires, the more you see that it’s simple to be omnipresent. At first it’s a frightening thought, but if you can pull back from that fear, you suddenly realize it’s the most natural thing in the world.
The same divine power resides in each of us. Yet the beautiful thing is that, in finding God, we never lose this sense of “I.” Ultimately, it expands to infinity.
You never lose the ego, but you reach the point where you’re not bound by it. Yogananda describes this state in his poem, Samadhi: “I, the cosmic sea, watch the little ego floating in me.”
Live in the thought that God is yours right now. Don’t wait for Him to come to you tomorrow. You’ll see that He comes in through the back door. Suddenly your consciousness will be filled with His light, and you will know that you are that light.