Disaster planners allow for the 50-year flood, and if they’re really concerned they also plan for the 100-year flood. These are the times when the storms come and create such havoc that only those high above the flood plain survive.

Economically and in other ways, the world is headed toward that 100-year flood. Companies that have prospered for 100 years are on the brink of bankruptcy. There is a great trembling in the foundations of things people have looked to for their fundamental security. Paramhansa Yogananda long predicted this would occur because of imbalances in man’s consciousness.

The eternal wanderers
In The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, Paramhansa Yogananda describes the streams of consciousness that flow through the world as the “eternal wanderers.” We don’t create these streams of consciousness; we tune into them. And there’s always a balance between light and dark, between the upward pulling energies and the downward pulling energies.

The dark streams of consciousness flowing through the world at this time are basically of three types: a consciousness of conflict, of greed, and of fear. And they are causing enormous problems. The presence of conflict is obvious. It’s reflected in terrorists who blow up buildings and kill hundreds of people; in conflicts between people of different economic levels; and in the minds and hearts of people throughout the world.

How do we overcome conflict? Not by creating bigger conflicts or by building bigger, smarter bombs to kill more and more terrorists. It simply doesn’t work that way. We don’t overcome conflict by adding more darkness, but by adding light and specifically, by increasing its opposite, harmony.

God: the source of all harmony
Those of us who are part of Ananda are dedicated to living in exactly the way the world needs right now, which is living in harmony, not just with each other but, more importantly, with God, the source of all harmony. Not only can we model that for the world but, by living more consciously that way, we can also bring more of the vibration of harmony into the world.

There is also the stream of greed. Yogananda said that the depression of the 1930s was the result of greed. If anything, that greed has grown stronger over the many decades since the 1930s. How do you overcome greed? Not by taking but by giving; not by thinking of yourself, but of others.

The problem with conflict, greed, and ultimately fear is that they cause you to turn your energies in upon yourself, and pit you against others: rivals, other countries, and anyone who thinks differently. In the end, such divisive thinking shatters the world into separate fragments.

In fact, it’s the satanic force trying to draw people’s consciousness downward into separation. And those downward pulling energies whisper to us so-called “solutions.”

Choose the positive solutions
For conflict they whisper: “If only you build bigger armies and smarter bombs, you can eliminate the bad people and end conflict.” With greed they whisper: “If only you can rebuild your stock portfolio, and find a way to make a fortune, you will be secure and happy.”

You’ll read articles that say, “There’s real opportunity out there in the stock market. If you get in at the right time with the right stocks, you can become a millionaire.” And it’s put in such a way that those who are susceptible begin to think that getting more and more money really is the solution to all their problems. Carefully avoided is the thought that your gain may be someone else’s loss.

The solution to greed is not more greed, just as the solution to conflict is not more conflict. Greed contracts the heart. The solution to greed is the awakening and expanding of heart qualities such as kindness, compassion, and caring for other people.

And likewise with fear: The solution to fear is not hunkering down and becoming self-protective. It’s opening our hearts with courage to help others. The heart can’t simultaneously contract in fear and expand in love. Always choose love not fear.

Attune to God’s consciousness
Most of all, we have to attune our consciousness to the positive flow of God’s consciousness—to the eternal source of all positive energy. By tuning in to the ray that Paramhansa Yogananda brought into this world, and becoming channels for that energy, we will be doing our part to help counteract the dark consciousness now afflicting the planet.

In fact, we have a wonderful opportunity at this time because, as the downward force becomes stronger, the upward potential also becomes stronger. Yogananda said that during the next great depression, people would be half as wealthy but they would be much more spiritual.

So this year, especially, we need to reach out with positive energy—with love of God and each other, with caring about people who are going through difficult times, and with the desire to spread harmony in the world. And as we put our energy and consciousness on the line, we must understand that we are not acting alone. We are acting as manifestations of a great spiritual potential that is waiting, like lightning, to be released.

Seize this opportunity
How does lightning happen? Tremendous amounts of energy gather in the clouds, ready to be released. First a thin thread of energy goes up from the earth into one of those clouds; then the lightning bolt follows that thread down to the earth. We are that little thread of energy reaching up into the positive energy of God’s consciousness, which is waiting to be released as a bolt of light to uplift world consciousness.

If we want to be in tune with God, we must seize this opportunity and be a channel for harmony and light. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “May you be born in interesting times.” We are living in a very interesting period right now and, on some level, we have all chosen to be here at this time to help the world.

So let us all be channels for light, for love, and for the consciousness that Paramhansa Yogananda has so wonderfully and beautifully given us. That, especially, is the challenge and the blessing that awaits us this year.

Nayaswami Jyotish and Nayaswami Devi are Spiritual Directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide. Swami Kriyananda, in his Last Will, Testament, and Legacy, named Nayaswami Jyotish as his “spiritual successor.” An earlier version of this article appeared in Clarity Magazine, Spring 2009. Related reading: The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita by Paramhansa Yogananda as remembered by his disciple, Swami Kriyananda Related Videos: Meditation Therapy: Health and Healing, Relationships, Stress and Change by Nayaswami Jyotish 

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