Wisdom is the power of the soul to know truth.
By thinking with the rational mind, we will not be able to comprehend truth.
It is through the heart that we perceive and understand the deepest truths.
As we get in touch with the heart, calm feeling will inspire our thoughts and behavior to right action.
Reason tends to analyze, to separate, to break up the jigsaw puzzle into lots of little pieces, and then see how they fit together. Reason is an important tool for us, but it must be balanced by calm feeling. When the feeling quality is not confused by swirling emotions but is calm and intuitive, we experience the flow of life, the deeper purpose, and how people, events, experiences relate to one another.
We do not necessarily gain wisdom from lots of reading and intellectual study. Wisdom is the ability to tune into the intuitive knowing of the calm heart, and feel what is right and true. Real wisdom is the ability to see things in their broader contest.
The Training of St. Augustine
St. Augustine became one of the great theologians of the West. Once, when he was walking on the beach, he saw a curious sight. A little boy was taking his toy bucket to the ocean, filling the bucket with ocean water, then carrying it back to empty the water onto the beach. As Augustine watched for a long while, the boy repeated this action again and again. Finally, Augustine said to the little boy, “Don’t you know that you can’t possibly empty the ocean of water by carrying it in your little bucket?”
The little boy looked up at him with calm wisdom and said, “And isn’t it just as foolish to think that you can empty the ocean of Truth with the little bucket of your intellect?” Then the small child disappeared. Augustine humbly received this message from God — to free him of his pride in book learning.
Attune to God’s Wisdom
Paramhansa Yogananda said that by attunement with God’s wisdom we can clarify our understanding. We need to pray to God that no matter what experiences come to us, we may have true understanding above all.
When trials become very great, first seek God’s wisdom in yourself. Avoid blaming circumstances or others for your problems. Go into your own heart and try to remove anything that obstructs your soul’s ability to perceive truth clearly.
As Yogananda said in Autobiography of a Yogi: “Thoughts are universally not individually rooted.” Examine what level of consciousness you are attuned to. By attuning to a larger reality — God or one of his divine attributes (peace, calmness, love, joy, light, sound, power, or wisdom)—our thinking becomes more expansive.
What Is Real?
I remember vividly a period of time when I felt discouraged and overwhelmed by life. One night, as I sat on my bed before going to sleep, in desperation I gazed at Paramhansa Yogananda’s photo on the nightstand, and my soul spoke to me:
“What is real? Yogananda is the only REALITY. Throughout years of meditation, Yogananda’s living presence has calmed your heart, comforted you, and led you wisely through all your trials and challenges. The feeling of his presence has never changed, and has always been your true guide in life. His presence is REAL, all else is fleeting and temporary.”
These words brought great comfort to my heart, and I was able to sleep peacefully. The next day, after my morning meditation, with clarity and renewed energy, I was able to look at the priorities in my life, clarify what I was doing, and move forward.
In trying to figure out my problems with the mind only, I had found only confusion.
Thinking is very susceptible to delusion, when it is disconnected from the heart.
If you find yourself worrying, or caught by negative thinking and spiraling downward, take a few deep breaths and shift your attention to your heart. Resolutely withdraw from the senses, and connect with your soul to feel what is true and real. God’s guidance is unlimited and is stronger than all our tests.
The daily practice of meditation helps us to:
- Calm the restless mind and the tumult of emotions, and be better able to listen inwardly and hear the inner voice of true wisdom.
- Get a clearer, broader view of reality.
- Access the Infinite Intelligence and divine wisdom of God.
- Navigate our way through life according to truth, and avoid suffering. As it says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Even a little practice of this inward religion (meditation) will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings.”
Words of Advice From Yogananda
“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.”
“Your soul’s message cannot reach God through your mental microphone if it is broken by the hammers of restlessness. You must repair that microphone by practicing deep silence both in the morning and before sleep, until all restless thoughts disappear. Then, affirm deeply, ‘My Father and I are One,’ until you feel the response of God as deep, increasing peace. This peace will not be felt except through practice of the right method of meditation. This increasing peace, or bliss, is the surest proof of God’s contact and response.”