During the first year of the pandemic, I became intensely active in learning how to create online courses and to make and edit videos to be available to our guests at The Expanding Light Retreat.

One evening, long after I went to bed, I found myself yet wide awake and unable to sleep. My mind was too agitated.

As I lay awake in bed, wondering why I was not able to sleep, I heard a voice inside of me saying: ‘You are too busy.’ Intuitively, I understood the message.

I had been too busy that day trying to accomplish many things. Even though I kept my morning and evening meditation practice, I nonetheless got lost in restless activity.

In an attempt to rid myself of any remaining restlessness, I got up and went to the meditation room, and meditated for an hour. At the end of the meditation, I remembered Yogananda’s words: ‘Be actively calm, and calmly active.’ Only then was I able to fall asleep.

This incident helped me to become aware of the two states: Doing and Being. Most people tend to focus on doing, on accomplishing things, and don’t take the time for being.

Balance of Doing and Being

Being means being still, calm, and not busy thinking. To simply BE is to feel the presence of God. There are so many voices inside of us, clamoring for our attention.  But when we take the time to BE, we can hear the voice of truth, the voice of God.

Yogananda’s Prayer to Divine Mother

Divine Mother, a million distractions have come to lure us away from thoughts of Thee. Thou Thyself, in order to test us, hast offered false, substitute fulfillments.

Accomplishment vs. Fulfillment

There are two modes of action: Accomplishment and fulfillment.

  • Accomplishment comes from the ego and the mind
  • Fulfillment comes from the soul

When we function from ego, we are busy getting things done, yet there is restlessness and tension.

When we act from the soul, we are peaceful, centered, and connected with God, and we allow the divine to flow through us and guide our actions. Fulfillment is the reward for living at least to some degree in harmony with one’s intrinsic divine nature.

Swami Kriyananda’s suggestions for practicing God’s presence during activity:

Much of our daily life is spent in work or in other outward activities. Our minds may often become engrossed in what we are doing at the expense of the thought of God.

We must somehow discipline ourselves to carry at least the feeling of His presence into everything we do. How is this to be arranged? I think the simple advice, “Do it,” is not enough. Some sort of exercise is needed to help us form the habit.

In the early years of his work, Paramhansa Yogananda conducted early morning group meditations at his Mt. Washington headquarters. After each such meditation, so one of his early disciples recalls, he would lead the disciples out of doors to sweep the walks. And he would urge them, as they swept, to continue in the thought of God. In this mild activity, it was comparatively easy for them to practice God’s presence.

Having once established the habit of feeling the divine presence outside of their meditations, it was easier for them to carry it into the more strenuous daily labors that followed.

I think we should follow on our own, the training Yogananda prescribed for the disciples in those early years. We should start our practice of sharing every thought, every labor with God by first thinking of Him during uninvolving activities–those requiring little concentration or physical effort, such as sweeping the walks, strolling quietly, or mopping the floor.

During such unexacting occupations, we should make every mental effort to bring the Lord into our motions. As we are able to do so, we shall gradually develop the habit of bringing Him into all our activities–even into those requiring great effort of body or concentration of mind.  

     -Swami Kriyananda

The Bhagavad Gita: A Sacred Manual for Living Wisely

The wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita is relevant on all levels: material, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It shows us how to rise above human limitations and past mistakes, in clear, simple, and inspiring ways.

* * *

We invite you to join Nayaswami Gyandev and Nayaswami Diksha for a 6-week course:

The Bhagavad Gita: Bring Its Power into Daily Living

More information about the course and on Vimeo


  1. I get it. Very clear. Good to hear and to know who is saying.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing Diksha! We can never be reminded enough to not only “Do It” with God or For God, but also to Relax into Superconsciousness. Both the Active and the Calm are needed throughout our day. And I just want to highly recommend the Gita course, it is truly a universal life manual to calmness and joy within, especially Swami’s Essence of the Gita book and with yours and Gyandev’s guidance! Blessings to you and all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *