Paramhansa Yogananda writes in his book, How to Have Courage, Calmness, and Confidence:
As a devotee on the spiritual path, give little weight to the trials that beset you. Be even minded. Walk with courage. Go forward from day to day with calm, inner faith. Eventually, you will pass beyond every shadow of bad karma, beyond all tests and difficulties, and will behold the dawn of divine fulfillment. In that highest of all states of consciousness will come freedom from every last, trailing vapor of misfortune.
When facing physical pain, for example, it’s easy to identify oneself with it, as it seems so real. How can one remain detached?
In September 2015, I had an opportunity to practice detachment. One day, after I had exercised, my pelvis got out of alignment. The twist pinched a nerve, which created an electrical shock in my left thigh.
At first it pinched once in a while, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. But when night came and I lay down to sleep, the frequency of the electrical shocks increased to almost every minute. I tried variety of stretches to alleviate the pain, but nothing helped.
So I accepted the reality of it, but tried not to identify with it. For the next five hours, as I lay in bed, I practiced a variety of spiritual techniques, such as watching the breath, repeating hong-sau at the center of the pain, chanting AUM, practicing japa, offering my ego to the spiritual eye, and affirming “I am Spirit.”
There was a point when the electrical shocks came every third breath that I took. The pain reached the limit of what I was able to bear, but I persisted with the practice. Gradually, the intervals between shocks lengthened, yet the shocks didn’t stop.
After five hours of self-offering and no sleep, I got up, energized, and went to meditate. The shocks continue but the interval lengthened. I did my meditation practice, not giving attention to the physical pain. At about 7 am, the electrical shocks ceased.
As I was getting ready to teach a class that morning at The Expanding Light, I noticed how refreshed and awake I felt, despite the fact that I had not slept.
I realized that by attuning to God’s power, exerting my will to stay in His light, affirming I am Spirit, and refusing to identify with the pain, a floodgate of divine energy had opened. That day, I was filled with immense joy, and the divine energy sustained me throughout the day.
These sayings by Paramhansa Yogananda convey it well:
I live, move, and have my being in Spirit,
As a fish lives in the water, and a bird in the air.
I will consciously draw strength, health, and happiness
From this all-enveloping Presence.
Behind your body wave is the vast ocean of God; behind your soul is the wisdom of God; behind your mind is the great intelligence of God. Attuning yourself with Him, you will know that you are the child of God.
(These are from the book How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality, by Paramhansa Yogananda.)
The Hong-Sau meditation technique is simple, yet deep and effective. It helps us convert ego-consciousness into God consciousness. Hong-Sau can be practiced at any time. Don’t limit it only to sitting meditation.
Swami Kriyananda has given us a variety of ways to practice Hong-Sau in daily life. This practice will help you control your mind, be less affected by the challenges of life, and be more successful in interiorizing your mind in meditation.
How to Practice Hong-Sau in Daily Life
When you are nervous, or agitated
Watch your breath and repeat the mantra; this will help you calm down.
When you experience pain, whether physical, mental, or emotional
As you watch your breath, mentally chant hong-sau (sau is pronounced saw) at the center of the pain. This can dissolve the ego’s connection to the pain, and can help reduce the pain and even to dissolve it.
During leisure time, when you are not doing anything
When you ride in a car (assuming that you are not the driver), when you are waiting to see a doctor, when you are just resting, you can keep your eyes open but focus your gaze at one point. Watch the breath and mentally chant hong-sau. Yogananda called this conscious passivity. He said that this practice will help free you from sense entanglements.
When you want to solve problems, and uplift your consciousness
As you watch your breath, focus at the medulla, the center of ego. Mentally chant hong and gather the energy at the medulla. When chanting sau, offer the energy up to the spiritual eye. This is a powerful practice. Even a few minutes of this practice can be very beneficial.
Swami Kriyananda wrote a chant called “Rise in Freedom,” which you may find helpful. You can listen to it below: