A few weeks ago we were talking with a guest at The Expanding Light who had recently suffered severe losses in the Stock Market.
He went on to tell about his first meeting with Swami Kriyananda twenty years ago. At a pool party at Crystal Hermitage, Swamiji sat down next to him, and without any preamble, said, “The real treasures in life are true friends.”
We live in a time of financial uncertainty on a global scale, and many are faced with losing their jobs or their life savings. Certainly the era of living beyond one’s means is over, and it’s time to heed Sri Yukteswar’s advice to “live comfortably within your means.”
But there are keys to living in prosperity despite outer circumstances, and we’d like to share four of these with you.
First, our security doesn’t come from possessions, but from living with the consciousness of abundance. In his wonderful little book, Money Magnetism, Swami Kriyananda writes, “If one is wealthy in his mind or spirit, he may require very few material possessions to be perfectly satisfied with life.”
In 1976 when Ananda Village was burned to the ground by a forest fire, our home and all our possessions were destroyed. Even though we had no insurance to cover the loss, by God’s grace we were able to cling to the thought that our true wealth was inner peace.
A few days after the fire, members of the Red Cross knocked on the door of Swami Kriyananda’s home, where we were temporarily staying, and said, “We’re here to provide support for the disaster victims.”
We calmly replied, “Well, I guess that would be us.”
“No, no,” they said in disbelief. “We mean the people who lost everything in the fire.”
Finally we convinced them that though we didn’t seem like “victims” or in dire need, our home had burned down. They wrote us a check in compensation for our losses. “Poverty consciousness” is a state of mind.
Second, energy, determined and unflagging, is a key to living in prosperity. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Paramhansa Yogananda said, “If I didn’t have a job, I would churn the ether with my energy until I drew one.”
During the time when Ananda was seemingly being crushed by the financial burden of an unjust lawsuit, there were several times when we thought we’d be forced to sell off the land. A small group of us was discussing what to do if faced with this eventuality.
Someone voiced the opinion that we all shared, “They can take everything from us, but they can’t take away our energy or enthusiasm to serve our Guru. We’ll just start another community somewhere else.” Fortunately, we were never forced to take this step.
Third, living in prosperity comes from including others’ welfare in your own. No matter how “impoverished” you may feel, try to find some way to share with others. When you realize that you do indeed have something, however small, to give, you begin to understand that true wealth is a flow of energy that you can tap into, not a fixed quantity that can be lost.
Finally, we need to live in the thought that we are part of a greater reality, of God, and everything we have comes from Him. Once a supercilious visitor to Mt. Washington asked Yogananda, “What are the assets of this organization?”
“None,” Master replied in a booming voice. “God is our only asset.”
Living with a sense of abundance and appreciation for what we have, having high focused energy to achieve our goals, sharing with others, and developing deep faith in God – all these will give us the ability to weather whatever financial storms may lie ahead.
May you be an example to others of how to live in true prosperity with the understanding that “the kingdom of God is within you”.
In divine friendship,
Jyotish and Devi