Most people are trying to achieve outward security and outward fulfillment but always find that something doesn’t go right. There’s always something missing. That something, in the last analysis, is God. -Swami Kriyananda
At age seven, I had no idea I was looking for God but when my great uncle whom I was very close to passed away, I knew I needed something to fill the gap and give me some answers. It seemed like things just should not be like that — dying and so on.
I asked my parents if I could attend vacation Bible school at the Nazarene church next door to our home. They were always supportive of my spiritual quest but not involved or affiliated with any particular religion themselves.
So I became a born-again Christian at vacation Bible school! It was a good and strong start. I could keenly feel the presence of Jesus and got a glimpse of a reality much bigger than what I knew about thus far in the small town of Newbury, Ohio. That episode had a big impact on the rest of my spiritual search.
Growing up as an only child and with no other children around my age, I learned how to be happy and content being alone. A favorite activity of mine was to be outdoors sitting. I would sit for hours near the pond and waterfall overlooking a cemetery near our house observing the surroundings and contemplating life and death. I was looking (even then) for ways to calm my mind so that I could be more in the moment and let go of daily concerns.
I was also very interested in church services and metaphysics in general. I later visited many types of churches, synagogues, and metaphysical groups with friends throughout high school. I was searching for some kind of spiritual practice that seemed worth doing.
When I got to college, I continued the search. I knew I wanted to be with other people who either meditated or had other spiritual practices. After trying quite a few different spiritual paths, I settled on Zen meditation.
…the only way out of ego involvement is to go in.
It was my first glimpse of what happens when you go deep within and find your true center. Zen taught me that the only way out of ego involvement is to go in.
It was a very smooth transition from Zen meditation spanning ten years, to embrace the more devotional path of Vedanta. I learned much about the guru-disciple relationship with my first Vedanta guru, including when to let go.
I Find My Path
I visited the Ananda Palo Alto Center with a friend in 1988. I was mysteriously drawn by Paramhansa Yogananda’s photo on the altar. I say “mysteriously drawn” because I was not looking for another guru.
When I met Swami Kriyananda in Palo Alto, I was even more drawn to the path of Self-realization. I wrote about this to my Vedanta guru and she said simply, “Proceed without any sense of conflict.”
I began to take classes at Ananda Palo Alto and resonated deeply with the meditation and all of the practices, especially listening to Aum. I knew this path would take me to God, so I was all in!
Looking back on this progression, it seems I was always looking for a way to balance my outer life with my inner life.
The person who really succeeds, wants to do a good job and doesn’t think about himself. He doesn’t even think about success or failure; his whole consciousness and concentration is on the thing that he’s doing. In other words, getting away from the thought of self and merging into a larger reality.
Meditation is a means of helping us to achieve this long-range goal. The more we understand meditation in that way, the more we can relate it to life as a whole; and not see it only as something that we do as a means of separating ourselves from whatever other reality we are a part of. I think it’s important to understand this aspect of meditation. -Swami Kriyananda, “The Purpose of Meditation”
Swami Kriyananda left a vast legacy of wisdom in his thousands of recordings of classes, events, radio and TV series, and more. If you listen carefully to any given talk, you will find that he mentions meditation almost every time.
Here is a song by Swami Kriyananda, Peace. This song, written and sang by Swami Kriyananda, describes the true state of Peace we are all looking for. The musical arrangement helps you to feel this state of peace in a deep way.
- The Purpose of Meditation – Full talk
- The Purpose of Meditation – 7-minute guided Hong Sau Practice
- Ananda course in meditation – Online lessons
- Treasures Along the Path – Audio talks by Swami Kriyananda
- Crystal Clarity Music – Ananda music collection
- Ananda Music Ministry – Music by Swami Kriyananda
May your spiritual quest and meditations be filled with a sense of purpose, inner stillness, and true peace.
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