It was one of those days (a few months ago)…I was trying to deal with a disappointment about the way I felt I was being treated (whine whine whine), feeling a distinct lack of respect from someone that generally has the ability to push my buttons. Also that day I was fighting off the summer cold that was going around, but doing pretty well, trying to stay positive and keep my energy up by not giving in to the constant temptation to vent my feelings in this regard.

The phone rang…it was them.

Here it was – my golden opportunity to speak my mind, letting them know how disrespected I felt. I kept it in…I kept it in…I kept it in………and then I finally let them have it with all of my frustration.

And in that very moment I felt like all the floodgates of my aura opened themselves wide open, and the negativity washed over my entire body, carrying with it the sickness that I was fighting. The sore throat tingle turned into a full fledged rawness, and I could feel all my energy drain right down to my toes – in that very instant.

The dark side had won, and did not live up to its promise of glory and power! It took me a few days to recover not only from the cold, but also from that negative flow of energy that I had brought into manifestation. I reflected upon the wise words of Sister Gyanamata: “People make too much of feelings”. What she must have been talking about is not the feeling of love, joy, and bliss, but the ego centered feelings stemming from our attachments.

Weeks passed, and I was running late for Sunday Service. Moments before I was to begin leading chanting before the service, I was once again given the opportunity to dwell on negativity from a misunderstanding. As I chanted, I could feel this bubble of protective energy begin to surround me, keeping me safe, and moreover giving me a great presence of joy. THIS is what I wanted to hold onto, but my mind kept trying to remind me of how I really should defend myself and give this person a piece of my mind. I dived deeper with more conviction into the chant, resolutely holding my ground against this constant temptation of negativity.

With luck and much patience, I finally won out, and kept my energy high and whole for the Sunday Service and throughout the day.

I’m finally beginning to understand the danger of negative expression, no matter how good or justifiable it might feel in the moment – it simply isn’t worth the loss of joy, the loss of energy, or the loss of health. Plus the fact that the dark side never ever lives up to its promises.

May you all be strong and courageous in this ongoing struggle to stay always in the light!


  1. Oh how wonderful these words are :)

    Just the previous night, I had been struggling to deal with negativity and wondered why people are negative.But the fact remains you cannot alter somebody else’s actions but just by shifting your own awareness and choosing to be in the presence of joy you can overcome the dark side.

    Wishing everybody to hang in there and remember all the beautiful things in their own life to be grateful for. Ignore and smile at all those silly “-” individuals.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience. Sister G. is right about our making too much of feelings.

  3. Thanks for sharing!

    It is an ongoing struggle for myself, but i am trying to get better. Reminders like this one are very helpful!

    Thanks, David!

  4. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I can say this is one I struggle with all too much. I usually try to avoid people that can make my dark side come out, but am not always successful (you know…those family members you can’t avoid). I have always found it so much easier to lash out and justify it as “I was defending the righteous and they were just wrong and shouldn’t get away with it”. The thing is it never really feels good. Oh yeah maybe at the moment when you are all fired up with adrenaline….but afterwards…not so much. Thank you again and I am going to remember your words and chant good vibrations the next time I am being engulfed with negative feelings towards anyone.

  5. Many thanks David, for this Divine reminder! Your words really spoke to me loud and clear. When those ‘opportunities’ arise during my day, I will exercise my will to answer the call of the Light.

  6. is it not ok then to even justify your self peacefully? my husband likes to maintain control on finances, i have given up my carrer to look after my daughter. i am fighting for joining of finaces since that is what i would do myself if i had those dollars coming in.

    i do get angry at times!!

    pls advice :{

    Dear n – what I find works best is being able to express yourself, your concerns, your feelings, not in the heat of them, but when you can be in a very calm, centered place. Have you ever noticed that people tend to listen to you the most when you are in your centered self, where you have the most energy, conviction, and flow of the Divine helping you? Speaking in anger never does anyone any good in the long run, but yet you do need to be able to express yourself in times of need.

    I would advise including your husband in your vision of your life together, suggesting things like “don’t you think it would be a good idea if we…” instead of “I think we should…” There are of course many other aspects that you can explore in the teachings of Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda. Or feel free to submit your question to the Ask Ananda’s Experts.

    Hope this helps!
    In joyful service, David

  7. exactly what I wanted to hear right NOW!
    Thanks for sharing your experience.


  8. Thanks David. Your sharing reminds me of just how delusive delusion can be. In Joy, Steve

  9. So true and so beautifully expressed! This is a lesson I (evidently) need to learn over and over again. Thank you for the timely reminder, David.

  10. Thank you, David, for sharing both the failure and the success – the failure I’m too aware of, the success I’m trying to become more familiar with and your story is a great support for that. Joy!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing these experiences so honestly with us. The dark side tries to ensnare our consciousness whenever it gets a chance, which seems to be more frequently than we would like! As devotees, we need to be vigilant and stay conscious of where our energy is going in every moment. We need to keep choosing the Light to keep the ever-encroaching darkness at bay. Thanks for this reminder of how our spiritual life is tested in the “cold light of day”. Hopefully,with God’s grace, we can all continue to bring in the Light to dispel the darkness whenever it reaches out to us.

  12. David, thank you for your honesty. It is so important for us to share our unsuccessfulness(I won’t say failures)as well as our triumphs, because this is an undulating path and we have to learn how to stay calm amidst the crash of breaking worlds as well as amidst ‘the nice blessings’. All are blessings though, in truth. It is frightening how wretched one can feel after having succumbed to a mood, or by snapping at someone. We have the tools to overcome, but it won’t come overnight. Thank you dear for your insight and your subsequent success in controlling that loose canon of emotion.

    Joy to you



    1. I second that.

      I appreciate when ministers and long time Ananda members share their struggles. It is inspiring because it feels attainable, we identify with these struggles.

      Swami going to the dentist with no Novocain (or worse surgery with no anesthesia), that I admire but I cannot copy that.

  13. Thank you David for this very helpful reminder. None of us are past the temptation of expressing the negative, the shadow. I think it was the sage Vishwamitra who lost all his spiritual attainment in one burst of anger. Over the years I’ve found strategies that have worked. One is “pretentd.” I would pretend the Guru is sitting next to me. The mood changes and my words and actions are transmuted. The latest one, which is very effective is, when the shadow rears its head, I say, “Sit down and be quiet. You don’t get to drive my bus. Only God can do that.” It works. We do need strategies. Thank you for sharing yours and your insights

    Divine light and love,

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  15. I struggle with this from time to time. It feels like the negative energy just took over your brain and whole body.

    I once even asked Padma to bop me on the head to get rid of it. She told me to tell myself it had no reality next to God.

    It did go away that time (again). But it would have gone away no matter what she told me to do, because the energy she was projecting for me was protective.

    I also find the negative energy dissolve away when I teach yoga.

    But the protective energy…thanks for pointing that out. I will try to remember to seek it next time I get into the same negative quagmire.

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