“I welcome everything that comes to me as an opportunity for further growth.”
(from Affirmations for Self-Healing by Swami Kriyananda)
Willingness must be cultivated deliberately. It is an attitude of mind, and does not depend on outward conditions. People who are successful in any endeavor are not ruled by their likes and dislikes. They are willing to do what needs to be done, even when they don’t enjoy those tasks.
“I don’t know what to do” is an oft-heard cry when we feel trapped, with no options. But usually we know deep inside what we need to do, we are just unwilling to do it. The ego can fool us into overestimating the benefits of staying as we are, and underestimating the gains we will experience by changing ourselves.
Paramhansa Yogananda shared this powerful prayer: “I will reason, I will will, and I will act: but guide Thou my reason, will, and activity to the right thing I should do in everything.” When we are willing to seek inner guidance and act on that guidance, we will continue to grow.
There is nothing more thrilling than the expansion and freedom we feel when we are truly willing in thought and deed.
“Lord, help me to overcome the satanic pull of unwillingness. The more I embrace life in Your name, the more I feel Your joy.”
In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Pushpa for Thank you, God!
The importance of Willingness
Inspiring talk by Swami Kriyananda from September 11, 2017 from part of the Art of Mangetic Leadership.
Thy Will, Not Mine
Personal Reflection by Nayaswami Pushpa
I was living in the Ananda community in Mountain View, California, and serving as the events coordinator at East West Bookshop. It was around the end of July 2000 and I had just returned from Spiritual Renewal Week at Ananda Village, where I had been initiated into the higher Kriyas. I felt a shift in my energy and had a strong feeling that things were going to be changing for me.
I shared this news with my manager and he said, “I think your next step is to move to Ananda Village, where you can dive even deeper into the teachings.“ In meditation I prayed and felt a clear confirmation of this counsel. I had already enrolled in the Ananda Yoga Teacher Training for the month of September at Ananda Village, and I decided I would relocate there at the same time. I sent my résumé to the Human Resources Director and followed up with a phone call. I was told there were plenty of jobs available.
However, by the time I finished Yoga Teacher Training all the positions had been filled and I had to scramble to patch together a number of part-time jobs just to pay the rent. Many of them were gig jobs that only lasted for a day or two, so I was constantly looking for new ones. It was exhausting. Approaching Christmas I had eight different part-time jobs of the clerical and cleaning variety. The physical jobs were really taking a toll on my body and causing major low back pain. This was not what I had thought “living at the Village” was going to be like!
One day I was vacuuming Hansa Temple—a vast expanse of solid blue carpet—in a great deal of pain and feeling intensely sorry for myself. The inner turmoil had been building and I felt like I was going to explode. I started vehemently complaining to Divine Mother—the expression of the Divine to Whom I feel closest. Tears of self-pity were rolling down my cheeks as I sobbed, “It’s not fair! I don’t understand. I know You wanted me to come here, and I came, but now there are no jobs and I am experiencing intense physical pain.”
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I sat in front of the temple altar and prayed for guidance and understanding. After a time, clarity came. I realized then that my resolve was being tested. I had been focused on what I wanted, what I expected, how I thought my life should unfold. I realized I needed to adjust my attitude, and along with it the tone of my communication. I prayed, “Divine Mother, I know this is where I am meant to be, where you have placed me, so I will strive to attune more deeply to your will.” Then a deep peace enveloped me. And then I finished vacuuming the temple.
The very next day the director of Crystal Clarity Publishers called and offered me a full-time job! At the very last minute the person who had been planning to move to the Village to take that job had had a change in circumstance and couldn’t come. I was thrilled to become the publicist for Crystal Clarity Publishers and Swami Kriyananda for the next seven years!
The Magnetism of Joyful Willingness
An excerpt by Nayaswami Prakash
Swami Kriyananda’s spiritual magnetism generated an attitude of joyful willingness in those around him. On one occasion, those of us who had accompanied him to a Reno speaking engagement were milling about in a large auditorium preparing for the evening. Having been in Kriyananda’s aura for some hours, I found heart and mind emptying of every thought and feeling but the desire to be of service to Swami! Kriyananda, I think picking up on my state of mind, quietly spoke behind me: “Prakash, would you . . . ?” And I was off at a near-run across the auditorium; I made it half-way across before I realized I had no idea what Swami wanted me to do. I stopped, felt his amused gaze on me, turned around. There he was, smiling with joy and love: “bring me my umbrella?”
An expanding joy and lightness
I was present with Kriyananda during one of his kidney stone attacks. Outwardly he was grey with pain, perspiring, on his hands and knees. As shocked as I felt at his appearance, inwardly I could feel only a calm joy—not my own, but Swami’s joy, even at such a time. Often in public talks he had told us of another crippling kidney stone attack, one that struck just hours before a Sunday service he was to give. Unwilling to ask anything of Divine Mother except to know and carry out Her will, he finally prayed in this way: “Mother, if You wish me to give this Sunday service, You’ll have to help me.” At once his excruciating pain vanished, to be replaced by a joy so overwhelming that, for sheer joy, he could barely speak.
As it happened, I was the backup speaker for that morning. Sitting in the back of a temple full to overflowing with people who were there to hear Kriyananda, I too was grey and perspiring, not knowing whether Swami would come, feeling small and inadequate. “Divine Mother,” I prayed, “You know I can’t do this alone. You’ve got to help me now.” And as I prayed, I felt a wonderful warmth and calmness spread through my heart, then an expanding joy and lightness. What had happened? Kriyananda had come. He was just walking into the temple, his whole being radiating the perfection of joyful willingness—ready equally to continue suffering the pain of a kidney stone attack or to speak to all who would hear of his beloved Divine Mother.
Nayaswami Prakash is a long-time member of Ananda. He currently serves at Ananda Village doing forestry and landscaping work. Before moving to Ananda Village in 1974, he taught English and Literature at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.
Great sharing, Pushpa!