The drama began when my husband, Brian, phoned his longtime friend Andrew, whom he hadn’t heard from for awhile. Andrew sounded very strange on the phone, and Brian could tell something was wrong.

Victim consciousness puts the blame on other people. It’s the kind of thinking that says: “I have these difficulties and problems because of what people did to me.”

Suddenly, from somewhere behind him, a dagger was thrown that pierced the heart of the Buddha. David responded with shock, anguish, and a sense of betrayal.

Most of the stress and pain associated with change is the result of wishing that things were other than they are. Learn to accept life and much of the anxiety associated with change will disappear.

One of the main challenges facing teens and young adults today is resisting the message that happiness can be found outside of oneself — in money, material possessions, fame, popularity, or other worldly achievements. There is so much suffering because of that idea.

It is said that being on stage is one of the greatest fears, second only to the fear of death, but to me, being on stage seemed possibly even more frightening than dying.

A great sense of relaxation comes as we realize that relationships are given to us primarily to help us learn and grow, especially in our ability to accept and to love. Relationships lived in this manner hold the promise of deep fulfillment.

As early as I can remember, Mom’s greatest dread, and therefore mine, was that she would become incapacitated and have to live for many years in a nursing home.

A luxurious material life is pleasing only to the eyes; few realize “what price material comforts.” Don’t be a slave to money or possessions. Learn to live simply, renouncing unnecessary “wants” and ever-increasing desires.

Today many people are fearful for the future. How can we stay open and expansive in this time of uncertainty and turmoil? How do we remember that God is always supporting and guiding us?

My son’s illness was a dramatic example of how adversity can remind us to call on God. I’ve come to see how valuable the difficult times are, and how we can embrace adversity as an impetus to remember to practice God’s presence.

Letting Go of Fear

When I came onto the spiritual path my life became consciously God-centered. There was a feeling of restfulness and calm as I let go of anxiety about myself.

I was reflecting on how it had been such an unusually stressful afternoon that I could have easily keeled over with a heart attack. Yet I knew my current job was exactly what God wanted of me. I had hung in there and seen to it that each patient received the proper treatment. As much as possible, I had acted with the sense that God was the Doer. That was a victory.

Inwardly I asked Yogananda whether I should try hang gliding and was surprised to feel his stamp of approval in my heart. I tried to visualize myself hang gliding high above the ground — and the fear returned. Nevertheless, I decided to try it.

Amidst great physical abuse and suffering, John wrote to a brother monk: “Where you don’t find love, put love and you will find it.”

I recall a time when I felt like I was being crushed by a certain experience. Then it suddenly occurred to me, “Well, what did you expect? As a devotee, you’ve ‘signed on’ to go through this process, and others like it, to become more spiritual and of course it’s going to be challenging.”

Bill knows that to meet the challenges of Parkinson’s, he needs to raise his physical, mental, and spiritual energy. He believes that miracles do happen and that a recovery from Parkinson’s is a very real possibility. He says, “The key is not to lose hope.”

Illness is often one of the most serious challenges people face and can be a major test. Fifteen years ago, I had a rare, debilitating illness; fatigue, fever, pain and shortness of breath were my constant companions.

The emotional and spiritual challenges of an illness are perhaps even harder than the physical. There’s the temptation to fall into self-pity or to be hurt by other people’s impatience or lack of understanding.

I believed in Yogananda’s path, but was frightened to do the one thing he seemed to suggest above all others — meditate — for fear it would make my situation worse.