In 1982, after many years of seeking meaning, a friend offered me a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi. I read it, and while not able to relate to many of the experiences shared by Yogananda, I instantly understood that he had the understanding that I had been seeking.
I began taking his written lessons, after reading that he insisted that spiritual experience is for everyone. He wrote that, unless we experience for ourselves the truth of what he offered, what he offered was meaningless. All he asked was that we try what he suggested long enough to discover for ourselves.
I began the lessons and practices and quickly discovered that the direct experience of God was possible. I yearned to make this central to my daily life. I discovered Ananda shortly thereafter, and found an environment that supported every sincere seeker in the effort for Self-realization, regardless of outer circumstances.
By 1985, I had moved my family to Ananda Village, and have lived and served and practiced within Ananda ever since. I raised a daughter, served in any number of businesses, helped build communities and centers and temples around the world and generally have lived a rich and joy-filled life because of the inspiration offered by Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, and Ananda (founded by Swami Kriyananda who, after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, took a bus across the county to immerse his life in service to Yogananda’s vision).
I realized, over time, that there is no aspect of my life that is not informed and fulfilled by the understanding offered by Paramhansa Yogananda through this book.
My wife and I have been the spiritual directors of Ananda Portland and Laurelwood for the past thirteen years, realizing that the only joy greater than the experience of God’s presence within is sharing with others how to have that same divine contact.