Our 2012 adventure continues at home, as my wife has begun her online schooling to become a certified health coach (yes, we’re still juicing once a day and feeling great), and I move forward with manifesting new directions for music, consciousness, and inspiration, while keeping up the Ananda Music responsibilities. This is definitely uncharted territory for us both, and has brought its fair share of past habits to overcome, both mentally and spiritually.
I’m sure many of you feel, like myself, that you have lived lives of renunciation in the past, perhaps to the extent that you’ve been shy about achieving material abundance in this lifetime. Perhaps, again like me, you’ve been brought up in a family where true happiness and success isn’t been measured by wealth, and have been comfortable living with limited means, comfortable with only having enough to keep you going.
But perhaps you too have also fallen into the trap of poverty consciousness, challenged by manifesting material wealth to meet your bills. All too often do we concentrate on “oh no, how are we ever going to pay for this? We can’t afford that! We don’t have enough.” And by that simple affirmation, we manifest little, and shut the doors that could otherwise be wide open.
It’s a hard trap to extricate oneself, but something I experienced a few weekends ago has given me clarity on how to increase my receptivity to God’s flow, both spiritually and financially.
I was in Palo Alto to conduct Swami Kriyananda’s masterpiece, Christ Lives: An Oratorio (I’ll write again about the powerful performances, not only there but in Seattle and the Ananda Village), and attended the Sunday Service where Asha Praver gave an excellent talk on how God works with us. She mentioned that she had a revelation one night in which Divine Mother showed her that the less than compassionate energy she was putting out to another was coming back to her in the form of an irrational fear. Hmmm…sound familiar to anyone?
My similar experience was in music, where my ugly judgemental attitudes and habits turned their ugly heads upon me during a performance – not an experience I would wish on anyone! That was many years ago, and I have taken great strides in changing my ways, only to find that this same principle has been holding me back from God’s love, presence, and law of abundance.
After the performance of the Oratorio I could feel in the room a deep presence of God, which to me felt like the loving vibration of Christ. While the choir was busy congratulating one another, greeting the audience, and sharing their experiences, I witnessed a very moving exchange. Hidden from view by the intermingled choir and audinece, I noticed Asha alone by the altar, talking to the pictures of the Gurus, and particularly that of Christ. I attest to you that I could feel a direct interchange taking place, one that my heart yearned for, but could not yet achieve. I put my cello away, wiped back the tears that come from experience of the overabundance of God’s love, and began to ponder.
Driving home, I realized that I had developed a shyness to God’s presence, keeping my heart only open enough to receive enough to keep me going, but hardly in abundance. I realized that my habits of dwelling on lack, somehow fueled by an misconception of renunciation, have actually been turning God away.
Suddenly I had an image of a life filled to the brim with God’s presence. I tell you, it challenged every mental habit within me. I realized that I had to renounce not material wealth, but all the thoughts that constrict my consciousness in every aspect of my life.
I even realized that I’ve been doing it with my cello playing! “Oh no, I could never be THAT good.” Needless to say, my practice sessions have been improving greatly ever since.
Coincidentally, I met up with my family and friends at Cafe Gratitude, which specializes in spreading the concept of abundance – perfect timing with a perfect message.
In writing this I reviewed the vows that we have taken here at the Ananda Village. To my surprise, not one of them even mentions the word renunciation, but rather includes:
I relinquish all sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ in my life. I offer all that I own and all that I am at Thy feet of Infinity.
Nowhere does it mention living in poverty or even in the attidude of lack, and I deeply appreciate the explanation of what living by Yogananda’s ideals of simplicity means:
Simplicity, at Ananda, is not defined as poverty. It is defined, rather, as reducing one’s wants so that material things do not intrude on one’s inner freedom, but rather, in the context of whatever needs to be done, facilitate that freedom.
Freedom! Not fear of bondage to acquiring the necessities of life, but perfect freedom of soul!
And finally, a very comforting quote from a surprising source, Swami Sri Yukteswar, mentioned in the Autobiography of a Yogi, Chapter 15, The Cauliflower Robbery:
“You see how God feels for us,” Master replied after I had expressed my gratitude. “The Lord responds to all and works for all. Just as He sent rain at my plea, so He fulfills any sincere desire of the devotee. Seldom do men realize how often God heeds their prayers. He is not partial to a few, but listens to everyone who approaches Him trustingly. His children should ever have implicit faith in the loving-kindness of their Omnipresent Father.”