This inspiration from Paramhansa Yogananda comes from How to Awaken Your True Potential, published earlier this year.
A Sacred Invitation
Come out of your closed chamber of limitation. Breathe in the fresh air of vital thoughts. Exhale poisonous thoughts of discouragement, discontentment, or hopelessness. Never suggest to your mind human limitations of sickness, old age, or death, but constantly remind yourself, “I am the Infinite, which has become the body.”
Take long mental walks on the path of self-confidence. Exercise with instruments of judgment, introspection, and initiative. Feast unstintingly on creative thinking within yourself and others.
Above all, cultivate the habit of meditation. This is the inner switch you turn on to connect yourself with the Infinite. Hold on to the after-effects of meditation by your attention. You will then find that you are a reservoir of power in body, mind, and soul. By constantly holding in mind the peaceful after-effects of meditation, by feeling immortality in the body, and by feeling the ocean of God’s bliss beneath the changeable waves of experiences, the soul can find perpetual rejuvenation.
You are all gods, if you only knew it. You must look within. Behind the wave of your consciousness is the sea of God’s presence. Claim your Divine Birthright. Awake, and you shall behold the glory of God.
You Are Infinite
Because of long concentration upon the little body and its necessities, the soul has forgotten its omnipresent nature. God is omnipresent. Man’s soul, made in His image, has in it the seed experience of omnipresence. That omnipresence is hidden in the little soul as a tree is secreted in a small seed.
Looking at the body daily causes the mind to think of itself as confined in flesh. The mind, meditating upon the body, becomes limited by it. The mind, meditating upon the Infinite, becomes unlimited. Meditation upon the Infinite, as it grows deeper, convinces the mind that it is not encased only in the little body, but is in everything.
The spiritual man, through the spreading light of sympathy and meditation, learns to feel the woes and pains of other souls. He feels that the world is his home. That is why the meditating aspirant must do away with little body attachments. He must learn to be proof against warm or cold climates. He must learn to overcome hunger and pain. He must learn to conquer all the attachments that govern the little body, for as long as the mind is focused on the body, the soul cannot remember its omnipresent nature.
Meditation means constant thinking of the vastness within and without, so that the soul may forget its attachment to the little body and may remember its vast body as God.
Every night when you sit to meditate, pray to God unceasingly. Cry as you once cried to your mother or father, “Where are You? You made me. You are in the flowers, in the moon, and in the stars. Must You remain secret? Come to me. You must. You must.”
With the intellect and the love of your heart, tear at the veils of silence. With the rod of devotion churn the ether, and it shall produce God.
There are no words
Feel so blessed – thank you
Although I have not red the complete mail. However just reading few lines I am convinced that your guidance will go a long way in strengthening my spiritual journey and meditation
Thank you so much.
Thank you for these wonderful words of wisdom
Thank you for your enchanting and blissful message. Truly inspiring and helpful to overcome our limitations.
Message making my thoughts energetic.
Most of Yogananda’s advice is pretty sound and can be relied upon. However his reference to God and soul can only lead to duality and confusion. This aspect of his teaching is certainly fueled by sentimentality and has no bearing on reality.
The Chinese Zen Ch’an teaching is perfectly clear that there is nothing beyond mind. Mind is the totality of the universe and all phenomena is constructed by the mind. The mind is void and quiescent which makes all mathematics a false construction and an illusion. All is Maya.
Buddha Sakiamuni says know your mind, see your nature and become a Buddha. Yogananda is correct when he says “You are all gods, if you only knew it” because the the Buddha mind is everywhere so that anything can be an occasion for its realization.
Again Yogananda’s call to prayer is based on sentimentality- Krsna says “mere prayer cannot lead anywhere” because all prayer can only be mind praying to mind as there is nothing beyond singularity of mind.
I have met two Yogananda sadaks in India and both are enlightened but the teaching that works in India does not necessarily work in the west simply because of our grounded mindset. But eliminate the sentimentality in the Indian teaching and one can find the truth.
Hi John, thanks for your well-considered thoughts. I just wanted to add a few ideas and clarifications.
Yogananda definitely agreed with the teaching that God is one, and that ultimately everything in creation is maya.
He said, however, that for incarnate beings (e.g. us), it is usually easier to be able to imagine God in some form. Any form, really. “The Cosmic Ground of Being” just doesn’t tug at those heart strings for most people—and we are motivated principally by our feelings.
Yogananda did stress that behind any form of God, though, we should remember that He is ultimately formless. So it’s a different approach, but it doesn’t mean that it is wrong or that the Buddhist teachings are wrong. Just two paths to the same destination.
Sentimentality is usually somewhat emotional, isn’t it? Enjoying the feeling of tenderness, or nostalgia, or even longing for their own sake. At least how that it seems to me. If that’s true, it would not really have a place on the spiritual path.
What Yogananda is suggesting in this excerpt is certainly not an emotional thing, though I can see how it sounds that way, and it’s also much more than sentimentalism. It is a deep call of the soul to God.
At the highest states of prayer, as Yogananda wrote in Whispers from Eternity, any call like this, as it went deep enough, would pass beyond words altogether into a state of vibrant stillness. Finally, as I understand it, the one praying would realize that he is, in fact, the one that he was praying to. “Tat twam asi,” as the Sanskrit saying goes — “Thou art That.”
Great comment appreciate your thoughts especially in the last paragraph.
I come from a macrobiotic background so the relation between food and mind is very clear. Krsna says “There is no more powerful reason for good or bad temperament than the food consumed.” Extremes of yin and yang effect the mind in various ways.
Yogananda is a Buddha and beyond reproach. It is perhaps for the sake of clarity that I comment on the aspects sentimentality in his teaching. Yogananda was a great eater of sugar an extreme yin food substance, which had no effect on his enlightenment however sentimentality is a trait of extreme yin.
Reference to god, spirit or soul are products of a yin mindset and yin being a centrifugal force will create dharma outside the mind. Buddha Sakiamuni stressed “there is nothing outside the mind.” Anything outside the mind will create duality and divert the path to union with Brahman – the unattached mind.
“Tat twam asi” from the Vedas surely settles this matter.
It simply enlightens you.
Yogananada, the Poet-Teacher ~ wisdom spirit soars in every one of his words. They do not whisper here, but roar into my consciousness, ever new power, as if I heard PY for the first time. WOW !!!! Those who find sentimentality in PY’s teachings: His comments on the Bhagavat Gita help us comprehend, stanza by stanza, the YOGA of body, mind and soul. Read it once, and you get a little, read it again and again and the “Western mind-focused MIND still does not “com-prehend”. Yogananda soars high above ANY perceived sentimentality.
Still guiding us paramhansaji throught your words!! Thank you For giving us new direction in our lives. Blessed to have teachings of you in this lifetime.
Thanks for the material, about meditation and praying.
love this from Master! he always gets right to the point! thanks
Thank you for blessing me with this information. We are so very blessed with Yogananda’s love, and His autobiography. And thank you for blessing me with that sacred energy which I experience at your retreat center. I always feel recharged when attending your services. I have experienced total bliss and euphoria,utopia, and etc. during meditation. There are no words to explain that amount of joy.
In and through His love,
I send you my love,
Thank you Michael, this is a delight to hear. May you live in joy!
oh gosh, I needed that.
Timely advice.I needed it the most.wonderful article beautifully explained!!
What can I comment on such wonderful words of wisdom and love.
I can only realise how low a human I am and how much more I have to improve to even think of asking God where He is.
I cannot express in words how timely this note came.god gives just in time what we need
Thank you for these wonderful words of eternal wisdom. Parahamsa Yogananda is a beloved Master indeed and His autobiography was beyond words and makes you really feel connected. Have recommended it to many people. Namaste
PARROTS ALL AROUND THE WORLD SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE SO IS THE CASE OF YOGIS. THEY ALL SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE AND SELF REALIZATION. SRI RAMKRISHNA SAYS,”PEOPLE OF THE WORLD WEEP FOR PETTY THINGS OF THIS WORLD, THEY NEVER WEEP FOR GOD” IT IS LOVE FOR GOD WHICH HAS TO BE DEVELOPED TO BREAK THE BONDAGE OFBODY AND MIND,
Its remarkable,it has open new vistas of thought and life.
indeed inspiring,motivating and thought provoking precious words
Igot nice and simple tips from PARAMANSHA YAGANAND REGARDING MEDITATION.AJOY
How am I waiting to longing to see God, I know he is within us but not practicing Meditation which is the only way to realize God.How these inspirational words help and motivate me to meditate daily?I am thankful to all those who spare their valuable time to help us to commune with God.Thanks.
Reena, great question, and so glad to hear of your desire to see God. Yogananda said that devotion plus Kriya Yoga (a meditation practice we teach) is like spiritual mathematics: it cannot fail.
If you want more motivation to meditate daily, you might try this 30-day challenge:
Also, meditate at the same time and at the same place every day. Most people find it easier to meditate immediately after they wake up and before they go to sleep, but really any time that works for you is OK.
If you do that, you’ll find that when you go to your meditation cushion or chair at that time, it will be much easier and feel more natural to meditate.
Just some thoughts! Feel free any time to write, or submit a question through https://www.ananda.org/ask-a-question/.
Thanks for the article Thanks for reminding us our real nature. I found all articles very very useful and encouraging