Painting by Jan Tarr

Dear Meditator,

Years ago in Hawaii I had an experience at the ocean that beautifully illustrated the power of meditation and the guru.

While vacationing on the island of Kauai, I went to a beach to swim with a few friends. There I saw sets of ten-foot waves crashing along the shore. It seemed impossible to get through the high, turbulent surf. Yet, I knew it was possible. I could see swimmers beyond the surf bobbing happily in the gentle, rolling ocean. They’d made it through the surf. I wanted to be there with them.

Swami Kriyananda said that no one would ever seek God without the tangible example of liberated souls like the Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Paramhansa Yogananda. Seeing the swimmers beyond the surf was incredibly enticing and I longed to be with them. So I braved the crashing waves.

But the surf was too powerful for me and I was pounded and tossed about like a stick of driftwood. Defeated, I crawled out of the water onto the beach looking like a drowned rat.

After catching my breath, I stood up and again looked longingly at the swimmers. Meanwhile, a local “waterman” had been observing my attempt to reach the open ocean. He walked over to me and introduced himself, then shared the secret of swimming through ten-foot ocean waves:

“Swim on the surface until a waves approaches. Then dive and swim underwater until it passes safely overhead. Surface, and swim like mad until the next wave comes.

“When you dive beneath a crashing wave,” he cautioned, “hold your arms and hands in front of your face in case the wave pounds you into the seafloor.” With a big smile, he said, “This will protect you.”

The waterman’s advice and encouragement made all the difference. I followed his instructions to the letter and was able to maneuver through the turbulent surf, without too much excitement.

I joined the other swimmers who were happily gathered together chatting and reveling in the gentle rising and falling waves. As I floated peacefully, I felt embraced by an awesome, yet gentle love emanating and pulsing through the Great Ocean. “Oh make me Thyself,” Paramhansa Yogananda wrote, “that I behold my little bubble of self ever floating in Thee!”

Spiritual teachers tell us, “This world is a nest of troubles.” We don’t have to relate to surface, or superficial, realities on their own terms. If we live on the surface of life, far from our spiritual center, every passing wave will throw us.

When I tried to fight my way through the high Hawaiian surf, I was defeated. But when I dived beneath the waves, the surf’s power over me vanished.

Why not dive beneath the waves of life’s restlessness and limitations by regular, ever-deepening meditation and God remembrance? The Divine Presence awaits us at the center of our own being. The guru, at home in the oceanic consciousness of God, is ready and willing to guide us to the seas of Spirit.

When God sees that a soul deeply desires freedom, he sends him a guru. Just as the waterman’s instructions allowed me to realize my aspiration to reach the open ocean, the guru’s God-magnetism and careful instructions will enable us to pass successfully through all of delusion’s waves.

Remember the waterman’s sage advice. When creation’s waves loom above you, with their apparent destructive power: dive beneath them.

May your practice of meditation and God remembrance bring you ever increasing joy and freedom.

Blessings of light,
Nayaswami Bharat

Please share with us what has helped you transcend delusion’s power and find inner peace amidst life’s crashing waves.


  1. Once in Hawaii while kayaking with a friend we banked our kayak and were busy exploring on the shore and chatting. We didn’t pay attention to the time or the sky and had left everyone else behind. When it suddenly began downpouring rain we headed back to our kayak only to discover everyone else had long gone. The water had become much rougher but we knew of no other way back so we launched ourselves back on the ocean. We were having difficulty with the surf and waves and didn’t have any way to call for help. I was sitting in the front of the kayak and my friend behind me. There was fear and uneasiness in her voice as the waves became bigger. I too began to feel very fearful and began silently praying to God. All of a sudden a great calmness came over me, it was such a great peace. i knew all was well, all stress and fear left my body, as we continued on my heart was singing. I then enjoyed the journey, outside the storm inside the peace.

    1. What a beautiful and inspiring experience, Sharon. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Bharat. I’ve been struggling with the tremendous negative energy that is throughout the world, feeling beaten down by it. My meditations have been more turgid than peaceful of late.I will remember this story and advice as I “swim” along.

  3. Thank you Bharat for this inspired story! With leaving the familiarity of the East Coast where I lived for the last 10 years, and all the normal stress that usually comes with change, I can truly say if it weren’t for a regular meditation practice, I would be lost! “In the midst of life’s storms, I stand serene” has been a wonderful affirmation. Tuning into that point between the eyebrows and feeling that divine serenity has been a life-saver (or maybe a “soul-saver?!”). Thanks to all for sharing. We can all use reminders!

  4. The lesson arrived at a most meaningful time for me….thank you for the reminder to live in my spiritual center. The world is indeed a nest of troubles that can easily entangle even a brave soul. Such a valuable lesson in the times we are living in. Heartfelt Thanks Bharat!

  5. Master is in an attunement with his disciples according to their

  6. ………Very inspiring and thought-provoking indeed!
    A Great Message for the humanity in these turbulant times as to how to remain connected to your Innerself against all odds!!

    It teaches you how to,
    …view your agony as well as your attachments with A sense of detachment ……as these are all reated to your body and not to YOU!
    Because in reality,
    You are not the body – You are the Soul -The Ever Blissful ,Ever Liberated One !
    The Soham state,
    We should all aspire to achieve that state!

    Swami Paramhansa Yogananada conveyed this message beautifully in His prayers to The Lord ,,
    ”Oh make Thyself,that I behold my little bubble of self ever floating in Thee!”

    May God’s Grace and your blessings shower on all of us in abundance!


  7. very inspiring. after sometimes ,on the path of guru’s teachings we lack the motivation .and we feel we are not getting the results as we had earlier.please keep us motivating.

  8. Thank you, Bharat — I so love the metaphors for the Spiritual Life I find in nature.

    Over 20 years ago, I was house sitting for friends far out in the country. I was fairly new to meditation . Each morning I would practice meditation, sitting on a large boulder in the sunlight beside their pond.

    I noticed that the pond was like my mind. The slightest disturbance to the water created ripples that spread across the pond, mirroring the way thoughts would bob into my mind and disturb my peace. I wanted the water in pond to stay still — just as I believed the thoughts that disturbed my mind shouldn’t be happening. New to meditation — I was operating under the delusion that the thoughts would just STOP. (Ha! the angels laugh.)

    One morning, the dogs that I was caring for, (big playful Labrador lummoxes ) – wildly jumped into the pond. They came out of the water and went away, leaving the mirror of the pond greatly disturbed. I watched the ripples – mini waves – move across what had been the still surface of the water — until they reached the farthest side, covering the whole pond. The whole surface was in turmoil.

    Then I noticed something that comforted me. As soon as the ripples touched the far bank of the pond, the turbulence turned to smoothness. The smooth surface then moved back toward me, seemingly erasing the ripples, until calm reached the near bank where I sat on the rock. The pond was once again smooth.

    The sunlit lesson that morning ??? Well, I realized that the ripples are always happening. If I keep focus, and not fight the turbulence. If I don’t effort — don’t push it away just notice the disturbance without judgement, letting it pass, I experience it turning once more to calm and that calm making its way back across the pond of my mind.

    I learned that the mind is always throwing sticks and stones into the calm. My trying to stop all the turbulence was fruitless, still is. After all the mind is still the mind. Expecting it to be otherwise was fruitless. In the same vein, fighting life doesn’t work either, but steadfastly maintaining focus, the ripples diminish and smoothness returns.

    I used to get so very “freaked” by the bumps in the road of life.
    Today I know that keeping my focus on God doesn’t stop the “ripples”, it helps me accept, be present, knowing that the “clarity” always returns – is there always.

    Of course in those early days, I forgot more often than hoped to. But, with steadfastness, the trust deepened and continues to deepen, the ripples clearing sooner. Peace is available despite appearances.

    Thanks Bharat for your gifts to us all.

    My loving regards to Anandi.

    1. Marcela, your words are so true and powerful. Your comment, “My trying to stop all the turbulence was fruitless, still is. After all the mind is still the mind,” is something that should comfort every meditator! Blessings, Bharat

      1. These 2 stories are both beautiful metaphorics of how tricky or mind can be and how gracefully we can overcome the ripples of our mind. Thank you Bharat and Anandi for sharing your experiences. I too find myself much more in the ripples of the mind than I used in the beginning of this path. I too experienced that it does not help to fight against them, the mind only become stronger then. That is what I certainly did for some time. But slowly slowly I accepted them and saw my-‘self’ as an observer and it is amazing when you give yourself over to what is happening in the mind, how you literally can become still in the midst of the turmoil of your thoughts. When I can accept the thoughts, I find myself in the middle of them, without taking part of it. It is like the needle of a storm, it is quiet and peaceful in the middle, but still one can see what is happening around. Being in this center, I look at the thoughts offer them to Divine Mother and just ‘be’ in this center where it is so amazingly beautiful and serene to be. Aum

  9. My concept for centering has been the image of the mountain, overlying the image of myself sitting like the Buddha, each of us a witness to the sun and storms that pass over us, the gentle rain, earthquakes and floods, enduring with stillness, and acceptance the “life lessons” that come with our time here on Earth, seeking the wisdom inherent in each. It is not always easy as one is buffeted and shaken, obviously, but the mountain, like the center within us, endures.

  10. It is so hard to be detached and stay calm when the whirlwind and wild waves are plummeting all around you, but then what is the alternative and what truly is the only solution? Thank you for sharing.

  11. My life’s experience, that even the most painful experiences proved to be to my ultimate benefit.

  12. Thank you. I am learning that at each corner I turn in the day, there will always be surprises whether positive or negative and Psalm 23 reminds me that I am loved and protected.

  13. My experience in meditation is comparable to a glider, sometimes I land very smoothly into stilness, at times it is like landing amidst a whirlpool of turbulant waves. I personaly enjoy the Seagul experience of floating in the ocean of light.Overall meditation is my daily recharger. My most memorable expereince though was meditating inside the Babaji caves, somewhere in the Himalayas. I am able to connect with Nayaswamy Bharats experence,it will help me in fine tuning my technique .

  14. Thanks for finding the teachings in life’s situations and teaching us the same. Your writings are always inspiring and assuring. And thanks to all the people sharing their wonderful experiences.

  15. Thank you for an inspiring and uplifting piece. I loved it! this comes at such a good point for me.

  16. When in trouble, I find simply remembering God quite liberating. Also, remembering, in Ramkrishna’s words, that “…the world is transitory and God alone permanent” immediately brings detachment, strength and calm. Its very comforting to know that “this too shall pass.”

  17. just calmly and surely continuing my practice day in and day out. the other day i was surprised to find that, upon passing a group of trees that i travel past each day on the way home from work, i glanced over to see that the one my eyes rested upon was a noble, straight, and truly beautiful tree. And, tears welled up in me to bursting..and i happily cried.

  18. When meditating I imagine sitting in a room full of yogi’s and Paramhansa Yogananda. I feel his divine love radiate through my heart. Even if for short amount of time that I focus on this image during meditation I am starting to feel the depth of his love for me and all of us.

    I pray to his picture each day for guidance.

  19. I have found meditation and yoga and the Ananda in Hopkinton RI- my life has been changed and I have found more peace and love that I never felt before. I thank God and all life for this and I hope I can stay on this path

  20. I was searching for articles containing methods for proper meditation. I believe I have the qualities to excel in my career and life in total. My major problem is lack of concentration and I keep moving from one to another, result being stuck in life, nothing making me feel happy as I am now forced to almost everything. I want to continue was I once dreamt of doing for my career. I am 30 years old now and once again I want to give it a try and see for myself if I can. I lost my father last year, that too keeps revolving in my mind. I am messed up, found that at least some organisations are not pushing people to generate sales volume. There are facts about the actual meditation and I loved the way every message was conveyed to us.

  21. As a newcomer to Ananda, and just becoming acquainted with Swami Kriyananda, it is gratifying to see that, not only is there a lot of help for those on the “path”, but the responses show how human all are – even those who have been at it a long time. I was connected with SRF a long while ago (over 20 years), where I learned of the benefits that come with regular meditation. Sadly for me, I did not keep up with it.

    Now that I am back on the path, I realize that God was not done with me – merely allowing me to see the folly in the way I had chosen. As one who was a “fundamentalist”, there seemed a never-ending list of things to distract me from my actual goal, which is to know and love God. Perhaps being retired now will afford me the “time” to learn those lessons I need for this time.

  22. Spending time in the company of like-minded friends who are teaching me and sharing with me more about Oneness is what has helped me transcend delusion’s power and find inner peace amidst life’s crashing waves. Experiencing THE Love of my Life making his transition to the other side, very suddenly with no warning at all, after our brief time together here on Earth (in this lifetime) is one of those crashing waves that seemed to overwhelm me. And I now know for sure that he is still with me, guiding me and waiting for me on the other side. Being encouraged by those friends and teachers to believe what i already know to be true in my heart and live in joy is what has seen me thru these last 3+ months since Sept 18th to a peacefullness now. Remembering to practice my meditation times and be in the stillness and listen to that still small voice is the most important thing for me, next to the conncections with friends and teachers. I know for sure that Dave and I are forever connected with the deep heart connection that we knew was ours when he was still in his body here beside me. And I know that we communicate in meditation. I have had amazing experiences and they continue. He introduced me to this site, and I know it is one way he is communicating with me. Blessings to you all there. Thank you ! Carol D.

  23. I do mini meditations at my desk and in the restroom at work. What joy and relief. It is like the sun just came out of the clouds again. I also visualize Jesus and Paramhansa Yogananda being in my office with me. This helps me to see them blessing my efforts which I give to God.

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