The practice of meditation can be described as a journey back home, back to our native land, as Paramhansa Yogananda called it. As we practice meditation, we find that the journey is not always easy.

At the end of summer 2014, my husband and I went to Squaw Valley in California, to relax in nature. Each day we went hiking in a different place. On the third day, we found a trail 10 minutes from where we stayed. There was no sign at the beginning indicating the length of the trail.

Diksha with hiking polesWe started at 6,600 feet elevation, and most of the way it was uphill. I had no idea how far and how high we were about to climb. As we started to climb, I found that I couldn’t walk fast, like I normally do, as I wasn’t getting enough oxygen. I had to adjust the pace according to my body’s physical needs.

I used my hiking poles and stopped to rest every 5–10 minutes, as other hikers passed us along the way. Yet, right from the start, I accepted my reality, and tried to enjoy the journey fully. I attuned myself with nature, and every time I sat to rest I repeated a beautiful affirmation by Swami Kriyananda:

I am one with all life, I am one with all nature. We are dancing together in God’s Joy.
Throughout the journey, I repeated the mantra, “Aum Guru.”

Nayaswamis Diksha and Gyandev on a hikeEven though the hike was not easy, by using spiritual tools I was able to embrace and savor every step along the way.

After three hours of uphill climbing, we reached the top, where we discovered some magnificent lakes. Later I learned that we climbed the Five Lakes Trail at Granite Chief Wilderness, from 6,600 to 7,500 feet.

This hike was a wonderful lesson for me, and a metaphor for the spiritual journey. As we embark on our spiritual journey, we don’t really know how long it will take us to reach our destination. There are times when, in our practice of meditation, we become impatient and discouraged. But the more we embrace each step along the way and make the best of it, the more we can enjoy the journey itself. Swami Kriyananda said that one of the secrets of life is seeing it as “an adventure in Self-awakening.”

We can use “spiritual hiking poles” in our meditation practice: repetition of a mantra or an affirmation, chanting, use of visualization, and breathing techniques. Nayaswami Diksha resting at a lakeAll the spiritual practices help us to keep moving up, and avoid sliding down. We can’t make a leap to the top, but if we keep putting out energy to move upward, with steady effort, we begin to feel lighter, freer and more joyful along the way.

Swami Kriyananda wrote: “In the flow of increasing wakefulness, lies the joy that we are all seeking.”

The more we savor each step along the way, with its ups and down, enjoying the process—not pushing it away, rejecting it, or wishing it to be different than it is—the more we can enjoy the journey and the more likely we’ll reach our destination.

Let’s enjoy the journey back home, and embrace whatever comes along the way.

You can reflect on your “hiking poles,” which help you along your journey back home. Re-energize and use them during your meditation practice and all along your spiritual journey.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Diksha

21 Comments

  1. Thank you, Diksha! Because i just locked all car keys inside the car, I came back to the computer to check emails one more time. So happy to read this inspiring reminder that EVERYTHING is part of the journey back home. So, I’ll go meditate for 10 more min while waiting for AAA to arrive with car help! Just found the Gratitude that I have AAA membership! Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!
    Aum, Peace & much Love.
    Supriya

  2. Dear Diksha, thank you for this wonderful and inspiring story.

  3. What a beautiful article. Thank you Diksha! These are reminders that we need every day and at every step.

    Blessings,

    Pat

  4. Diksha, Thank you so much for this timely reminder. I just opened your email after meditating, thinking that this morning wasn’t a very good one. But I will enlist my “spiritual hiking poles” and keep going. All the best to you and Gyandev.
    Namaste — Valerie

  5. What a beautiful approach to a challenging path. Love this story, Diksha!

  6. Thank you for this. It’s a lesson I’ve been trying to learn lately and this really helps.

    Blessings,

    Beth

  7. Thank you, Diksha, for sharing both your experience and quotes from Swami Kriyananda. Remembering that we have spiritual tools, and remembering to use them is important.

  8. Diksha, Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I love the metaphor, and the fact that you were able to reach new heights (literally) on your spiritual journey. It’s a wonderful reminder of the power of meditation and mantras. Peace and joy. Kelly

  9. Thank you Dikshaji! A wonderful reminder and lesson. On this Thanksgiving day I am grateful for the inspiration of wonderful Gurubhais like you!
    Blessings,
    Prem Das

  10. This was such an inspiring read. Great advice regarding the use of various techniques which can be adapted and integrated into one’s life to resolve so many of life’s challenges. It’s all in how one perceives challenge and in how one frames a challenge for the solution. This was a helpful, wonderful article!

    Thank you Nayaswami Diksha!

  11. Dear Diksha,
    Beautifully done, thank you.
    In divine friendship,
    Timothy

  12. Dear Diksha, you practice what you preach.

    Beautiful.

    As my journey hears it’s statistical end, it is good to have learned to accept, embrace reality.

    Love you, thank you,

    Francis

  13. Wonderful way to enjoy your time. I sometimes get annoyed when things are not going easily, or the way I expected, and that is useless. I know this. But it still happens. It is good to be reminded that expectations are silly. I am still out there, doing what I chose to do. However it unfolds is just right. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Thank you Diksha… Needed to hear of the spiritual hiking poles…. Aum

  15. Thank you for reminding me that life is a journey not a destination. Looking forward to the newsletter

  16. Dear Diksha: Sounds like a lovely and challenging hike and great opportunity to practice the Presence. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Joy, Prakriti

  17. Thanks for sharing. This is the doubt that frequently plagues me, whether I’m going forward or not? Sometimes I feel I’m slowing down or stagnating. You’ve given straight and simple answers to the questions that come up in mind at such occasions. Thak you so much.

  18. I find it wonderfull HOW you combine the spiritual journey with Nature’s beauty. It is indeed close to one another. You can’t have growth without Nature,it’s part of our life,our body even. Even if you live in the city,like me. Your discriptions of Nature remind me of the discriptions of Nature by Yoganandaji in his book Autobiografy of a Yogi. Love,Dominic an admireroii

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