This wonderful list of inspirations and practical suggestions were submitted by online in-person attendees at the 2018 Inner Renewal Week at Ananda Village.

Sadhana (Meditation / Spiritual practice)

  • Take as long as it takes to be able to breathe relaxedly, diaphragmatically, and in my case, for right now, do less kriyas. I’ve been pushing a little too hard (that’s my pattern). I need to be more gentle and come into meditation more relaxed
  • Being inspired by my fellow gurubais
  • Desire to deepen inner peace and calmness
  • Commitment to myself, God, and Guru to meditate every day
  • Dedicated meditation room
  • Meditate at a consistent time each day
  • Books for inspiration next to where I meditate
  • Chanting to calm the heart and restlessness, and feel devotion
  • Look into Master’s eyes, talk to him; be with him in silence with heart open
  • Doing Navi Kriya to draw the focus to the spiritual eye
  • Doing nadi shodanam — alternate nostril breathing to calm the energy, breath, mind, and body
  • Meditate before evening meal rather than afterwards — that way I’m not sleepy
  • Longer meditations with fellow gurubais, online
  • Virtual satsang
  • Affirmations
  • Reciting hymns of God and meditating before sleeping
  • Bringing awareness and focus on heart chakra and keeping straighter spine there while looking at the spiritual eye, thus ignoring the mind / thoughts
  • Whenever I make up my mind to do a longer meditation, always follow through for the length of time intended. This helps the mind to stop fighting longer meditations so much.
  • Do whatever I can to awaken devotion. Be creative: chanting, visualization, and reading poetry. It makes it so much deeper and transforms my consciousness.
  • Getting a memory foam seat cushion from TempurPedic
  • Trying not to move after the first few minutes; sitting in a position that I can be comfortable in for a long time.
  • A few minutes of yoga postures before meditation help my body settle down and relax so I can go deeper more quickly.
  • Bring devotion into mahamudra
  • Read Master’s words before and after meditation
  • Focus on meditation as an offering, rather than trying to achieve something
  • Don’t check email or anything else that connects you to the world before you meditate in the morning
  • I don’t let my mind interpret a story in a negative way. I shut it down within 5 seconds so I am not relating to my lower self. At all times I relate to my higher self and relate to the higher selves of others. They are one.
  • Have the feeling Master is meditation for / with you
  • To prime the pump, I tell myself, “Just think, in ____ hours I’ll be able to meditate deeply.”
  • Keep a journal
  • Keep tissues and a glass of water close by
  • During a period when I was feeling restless and having trouble meditating, I started listening to Swami Kriyananda’s guided meditations. It helped a lot. I also started reading from Master’s or Swamiji’s books each evening and read the Holy Science.
  • Practicing the presence of God
  • Concentration on God or one (or more) of his Divine attributes or qualities, such as the Cosmic Aum vibration.
  • Kriya Yoga and Aum go hand in hand towards concentration on God’s liberating Aum vibration. Aum truly is the comforter
  • Chanting is half the battle.
  • Chant before meditating
  • Read a favorite or random entry from Whispers from Eternity
  • Bring joy into your meditation time
  • Get a custom mala made by prescription at Ananda Village (through Mandala or Marion)
  • Get a good seat cushion
  • Put down silk over wool to sit on
  • The techniques themselves, teachers, God’s bliss/love/calmness, good health.
  • Recently I’ve been inspired by an acronym the choir directors gave the choir:
    S: Support (of the abdomen while breathing). In Kriya this means using the support of a straight spine and engaging the diaphragm.
    O: Open (the mouth). In Kriya this means opening the throat, being open to the sounds of Kriya, and relaxing.
    M: Meaning (of the lyrics). In Kriya this can be self-offering. I might as well throw saying Aum at the chakras in here as well.
    E: Energy (behind the music). In Kriya that can mean moving the energy with the willpower.
  • I rotate the focus of each letter every 12 kriyas.
  • Practicing at the same time every day.
  • Group meditations
  • Invite one other
  • Meditate outdoors
  • Meditate anywhere unobtrusively
  • My favorite thing is having a free afternoon and starting at 2pm and going deep as long as I can
  • Spending any time in the Moksha Mandir at Ananda Village will always reset a soggy practice
  • Halasana pose at times in meditation to keep spine happy
  • Listen to my kriyas without earplugs
  • Taking voice lessons with Ramesha has not only helped my singing, but also my Kriyas. Learning to make singing more “effortless” has carried over into more “effortless” kriyas.
  • Kriya as an act of self-offering that comes up through the spine, receiving love coming down through the spine
  • Have paper and pen near meditation chair
  • Set long-term goals to inspire perseverance
  • Make sadhana fun for yourself
  • Find a clear objective for your future; make it tangible (something you’ve already experienced and that you want more of), like joy or calmness
  • Write out index cards (10) for each niyama/yama. Pick one each month to practice and focus on
  • “When others end, I’m just beginning.” —Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Sometimes start earlier, sometimes go longer.
  • Don’t end a meditation while feeling restless.
  • In a loving way, do mahamudra more than 3 times, more like 6, 9, 15 times to increase depth of meditation, help with posture, wellness, centering, and focusing chakras clearly
  • I am one of the people with a fast, busy mind. Mornings when the blood sugar is low without eating, Satana tries to have a field day with my mind. The thing that has most affected the improvement in my Sadhana in 25 years is something I started about 15 years ago in seclusion. I started collecting inspiring passages from Whispers from Eternity, chants, and Swami’s songs around various themes such as devotion, grace, and attunement. Whispers I put in my own words to make them easier to memorize, the others are already easy. When I became a Nayaswami, I started using the vows for my themes. Then each morning before sadhana I read, chant, sing as I need to, to get my mind inspired on today’s theme. Once I start meditation, if I lose focus I grab inspiration from that day’s theme and hang onto it until my mind is back, interiorized.Each year during seclusion, I upgrade this a little which is an inspiring time in my seclusion. At this point these themes include one of the Masters who particularly remind me of this quality and attune to this quality in them. There are many things you can do with this. The outcome is, of course, that I need them less and less. But also I recall them during the day when I need them. It is far and away the most rewarding thing I’ve done for my meditations.
  • Keeping the focus on the spiritual eye (of course it is constantly wandering)
  • Remember to relax and lower the shoulders
  • Lighten up
  • Chanting
  • Coffee or tea with the masters
  • Just sitting with Divine Mother when I am in resistence or restless
  • 2 minutes rule—tell the masters without their help it will only be two minutes
  • Do it to please the Guru, offering to the Guru
  • Straighten posture, open and lift the heart
  • Practice willingly and joyfull
  • When away from Ananda, watch YouTube! Subscribe to all the centers’ YouTube channels
  • While getting exercise, morning walk
  • Energy
  • I would like to begin my day with a meditation practice. Nayaswami maria discussed the importance of meditation before one starts their day because it will set the tone for how you approach your daily activities. I often get distracted with everything I need to do during the day, but she reminded me that while I may not have an hour, everyone has five minutes.
  • Counteracting the negative energy that is happening now on Earth
  • Life is sadhana.
  • Incorporating the aspect of your inner guru into meditation. So instead of coming from a place of being a beginner or unaccomplished meditator, you embrace the quality of guru actively as if you are already there.
  • Rising of energy using 3 bandhas to move up the spine into the medula oblongata. Taking a few breaths in the medula, then slowly expanding throughout the entire brain to the one-point third eye.
  • Give everything to Divine Mother
  • Remembering that my difficulties with sadhana are shared by others. I am not the only one with these troubles because we are all connected and we are rising together. I need not feel there is something wrong with me. As I rise, so do we all rise, and as we all rise, so do I. Jai, Guru!
  • What Ananta said… and Jyotish… and Swamiji!
  • I want to be present in each daily activity—in my sadhana to begin and carry it with me throughout the day
  • Regularity
  • Non-judgement, non-attachment, sat-sang, Nishkam Karma
  • Mindful yoga
  • Chanting, prayer, listening to Yogananda’s voice (his Om chanting specifically)
  • Learn the life lessons knocking on your door
  • Connect first with Master
  • Pray about stillness and relaxation
  • Meditation with others at community temple
  • Releasing expectations of I “must” start at a certain time (e.g. if I miss the 6:30 start of group meditation, I still go)
  • Genuine desire to meditate (I nurture this by reminding myself that Master said “the soul wants to meditate”)
  • Having all my meditation things always ready in a “to go” bag right by the front door (just as I have my gym bag ready). That way i can quickly grab when the inspiration hits, rather than risk distraction as I try to gather things. I meditate in community temple.
  • Joining one monthly kriyaban meditation.
  • When I feel a boost (or rise) in energy, do energization, asana/postures and meditate (without a time limit)
  • Yoga and pranayama
  • Do every technique that we’ve been given
  • Morning meditation: can feel connection to the divine throughout the day
  • Asana to deepen meditation especially Cobra Pose with breath in spine inhaling down the spine to coccyx; exhaling up spine to spiritual eye.
  • Being gentle and kind with myself and not dogmatic about how, when, and how long. I do my Sadhana to keep myself from falling into perfectionist and grim tendencies
  • Finding ever-new ways to fill the practice with joy
  • regularity, every morning. Walking in nature before.
  • I make my altar beautiful, clean it often, colored lights, beautiful fabrics. Magnetize it whatever ways I can. Go to Moksha Mandir often if you live at the Village.
  • Chant at the beginning of every Sadhana. Group Sadhana helps a lot, but balance it with alone times. Seclusion helps very much – once a year minimum.
  • Keep my spine tall and straight. Don’t slump ever.
  • Try different sitting positions. Meditate with long-time deep meditators as often as possible.
  • Ask Master to meditate for and with me. Never neglect energization before meditation.
  • Watch the position of my eyes – strive for upward always in meditation.
  • Seclusion really helps to take my sadhana to the next step

Seva (Selfless Service)

  • Having joy in service
  • Seeing everything as service
  • Nishkam karma — action without the desire for the fruits of action
  • Remembering the path is about ego-transcendence
  • Thinking of Master flowing through me
  • Doing work with Divine Mother
  • Chanting and mantras (silently or out loud)
  • Feeling the joy in doing something for others or just because it is needed, especially when I don’t want to — a great teacher of desirelessness
  • Doing something without an agenda, with detachment
  • Giving unconditional love, kindness, and upliftment to situations or an environment to bring more of God’s light there
  • Eagerness and looking for opportunities to help family/friends/community/school as a service to God
  • Set an example in the family by doing yoga, prayer, and meditation every day and giving the opportunity to kids to lead family prayer and meditation at night before bedtime
  • Write positive quotes of Gurugi on the kitchen/dining wall blackboard at home on right attitudes to live by
  • Encourage kids to talk to God and Guru for guidance and talk about our experiences
  • Subtly encourage parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, friends to read Autobiography of a Yogi and meditate as appropriate
  • Feeling the joy and fun of it
  • Develop a habit of saying yes without thinking too much about it
  • Trying not to think about myself—where I fit in, how much people appreciate me, or what I will get out of serving.
  • I like Master’s advice about serving because it makes me happier, not with the sense that I am sacrificing myself.
  • Scheduling things with other people helps me to actually do them
  • Going to moving days, which have great group energy
  • Doing a variety of services, some more active (decorating, farming, big group activities) and quieter ones, more mental (Hansa scheduling, helping at the shrine, cooking).
  • Trying to find something serviceful to do most evening, even if it is simply (writing letters to people, donating, making dinner for someone)
  • Doing healing prayers
  • Start with a prayer before starting projects
  • Ask God to flow through my actions
  • Ask God for guidance when needing to make decisions
  • Focus on it as an offering, rather than something you have to do
  • Asking myself if Master or Swamiji asked me to do a job, how well would I do it
  • Begin a service project with a prayer
  • Constantly check in to see if what I am doing pleases Master
  • When I want to do something for God, I try to give myself plenty of time and expect the unexpected. If it’s something simple that I’ve done many times before, I give myself even more time.
  • Practicing the presence of God
  • What is Life all about? As devotees we know that life is God’s play and we are playing “parts” in that play. As Master said, “God sent you here to act out this human part with the attitude of a Divine Being.” Service is remembering that we are co-creating with God on this stage called Life and that we’ve been given a body, mind, and soul to dynamically act through and participate with.
  • The channel is blessed by that which flows through it.
  • Thinking I am serving Divine Mother
  • Japa, good health, my gurubais, dreams, Swami Kriyananda’s last email
  • A suggestion from Sadhu, Beware! on visualizing yourself accepting a position that you would dislike—then doing it happily
  • Nayaswami Asha’s example of facing her fear of doing the job she was given for the rest of her life
  • Offer service
  • Get out of comfort zone
  • Say yes
  • Each person, each moment is a gift from God. The smaller and more insignificant the project or job, the better.
  • Sharing joy and connection is my objective in all things.
  • Say yes and make it snappy
  • Every opportunity and situation leads to greater joy
  • More love, more joy
  • Affirming, “I meet my challenges with courage and enthusiasm”
  • Praying to Master and Babaji, “You are the Doer”
  • See Master in everyone! Pretend your every interaction is with Him—so that your service is to Him and for Him!
  • Share youreself (take this time to fill out this form)
  • Open yourself to be a channel and feel God / Guru moving through you
  • “Rightly done seva is as good as meditation.” —Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Watch saintly movies!!!!!
  • Serve with satisfaction, no dialogue, full heart.
  • Be centered in the spine.
  • Give, give, give — listen and find a way to support, help, encourage, or just listen and inwardly ask the Masters to guide, heal, life their spirit with my focus on / my *concentration* on the *Master(s)* knowing God knows what they need and I can act as a servant for God. Pay attention to the thoughts that come.
  • If I am feeling “shoulds” see how I can bring it to joy
  • Where’s the joy, joy, Joy?
  • Lighten up
  • Chanting
  • Sometimes its important for me to think small! (instead of big)
  • Listening to others
  • Feel / think that I am serving the Guru. He is the receipient of my service
  • Do it joyfully and willingly
  • Let go personal likes and dislikes. Do that which needs doing.
  • Be a channel for God serving God
  • With Joy
  • Dancing with the vacuum
  • Life is an opportunity to serve God in all.
  • Affirming your intention to give the service up to God immediately before you begin
  • Efficiency as a form of service.
  • Service without expectations of reward.
  • Turn your work / business into Guru Seva
  • I want to spend more time serving other because when I do I feel closest to God—especially the joy I feel
  • Concentration
  • Impersonal love
  • Relaxing into my service with love
  • See God in everyone and everything
  • Offering my work to God and all actions
  • Ask at all moments “What is the Divine Intent?”
  • Represent Master
  • Remind myself that this is not about “me” and letting go of expectation of recognition (work in progress, to know this is my ego talking vs. spirit offering selfless service)
  • Be *willing* to say “yes” when asked, or at least consider the request
  • Shift my attitude of how I serve my family. “God serving God.”
  • Being with others and focusing on divine qualities of love and joy.
  • It’s a perfect moment to think on God and “work” with Him
  • Listen for Master’s guidance and your own feelings to accept a seva opportunity or to say “no thank you at this time”
  • Ask “What’s my intention” when I teach. I already ask Master to teach through me, for me, but want to go further… I’m teaching *with* God.
  • Realizing it doesn’t matter what I am doing, whether cleaning a toilet or helping with a website
  • Use the teachings, for instance Hong-Sau in the spine. Align and attune helps discernment dispassion.
  • I look for Divine Mother in all my challenging relationships and ask her to show me how to serve and love her in those people
  • Thinking and making everything I do service. Whatever is in front of you is where your service is needed.
  • Serve ’til you drop? I used to try to do it that way, but had to find balance. Service really is joy because it makes you quit thinking of yourself so much.
  • Pray, “What can I do to help someone today? Make me a channel of love and blessing to all!” Watch for service opportunities to come along. Ask Divine Mother to bring them to you. She will!!
  • Every day ask at the close of your morning meditation: “Show me the perfect ways to serve today.”
  • “God is the Doer” is the key for me to expand out of the little self

Attunement

  • Reading Autobiography of a Yogi every day
  • Having pictures of Master all around my house, work, and car
  • Inwardly praying throughout the day
  • Studying the basic teachings over and over with a receptive, beginner’s mind
  • Letting go of desires and trying to tune into what Master wants
  • Doing the Energization Exercises every day no matter what
  • Having conversations with Gurubais about the teachings
  • Looking into Master’s eye; offering him the love from my heart and feeling it connect with his
  • Practicing complete surrender to Guru and asking his guidance, his correction, and for all around me to be his mirror to me
  • Staying in touch with Master’s words, chants, and listening to his voice — these help me keep the awareness that he is near
  • For attuning or to help lift out of a mood, I listen to Kriyananda’s music—it bypasses the mental and goes straight to the heart
  • Chanting / mantras to inspire more, better practice
  • Listening to kirtan and devotional chants
  • Reading books, listening to podcasts and audio/videos of Master, Swami Kriyananda, and other nayaswami and gurubais
  • Feel Guru’s presence and guidance in everything I do
  • I feel gratitude and reverence to Guruji and Ananda for bringing me towards light and making life meaningful and purposeful
  • Remembering that attunement is a vibration and trying to stay in that vibration.
  • Asking Master for guidance even in small things.
  • Talking to Master / God / etc. like they are a close friend. When I love, when I do everything for God and Guru, I am in tune with them.
  • Subscribing to Ananda podcasts
  • Look into Master’s eyes at the end of meditation.
  • Ask God what you should do even in small things
  • Surround myself with pictures of the Gurus, at home, work, in the car
  • Listen to talks by Swami Kriyananda and Master in the car
  • Chant AUM when leaving on car rides to surround yourself with safety and Master’s presence
  • Reading and memorizing prayers from Whispers from Eternity; reciting them regularly and inwardly throughout the day
  • Offering love to God in daily life, in all people
  • One day a week, have a longer meditation and study period
  • Feeling for Master’s presence
  • I stare at a picture of Master or Swamiji until I feel their presence
  • Keeping my focus at the point between the eyebrows
  • Set a time each day just for tuning into Master
  • Take Master for a walk
  • Pray to Master in the language of my heart
  • I chant whenever I am feeling discouraged or having trouble getting my body to move.
  • I blow a conch in front of Shiva and Durga statues each day and combine this with healing prayers for people.
  • Practicing the presence of God
  • Attunement is the active participation in the Guru-disciple relationship. Attunement is attained with a hard-fought battle over the senses, again and again and again. Attunement is listening to whispers from eternity as much as you can whether in meditation or any other time. Attunement is saying, “Thank you, Master, thank you, Lord,” and not giving up. Attunement is reading something of Master’s and Swami’s every day. Attunement is concentrating on Aum at the spiritual eye whether you are meditating or not. Attunement is practicing the presence of God.
  • Picture Master looking through your eye lovingly at other people
  • Picture Master working through you; through your hands, mind, and body
  • The Secrets books by Swami Kriyananda
  • Singing in choir
  • Satsang groups
  • Group meditation
  • Service to Master’s work as expression through Swami and his living channels
  • Saying “Yes!” to life and service
  • Practicing cleanliness: Showering, and cleaning room
  • Doing the techniques
  • Connecting with teachers and gurubais
  • Getting a Kindle — then all the Secrets books can be on one device
  • Ananda.org
  • Kriyaban website
  • Online with Ananda
  • Books
  • Classes
  • Teach
  • Ananda Music Library
  • Ananda Library
  • Live stream Sunday Service from LA, Palo Alto, and Ananda Village
  • Ananda communities sites
  • Swami Kriyananda music internet sites
  • Asking constantly for inner guidance about anything and everything—and following the “yes” or “no” with trust
  • Reading Master’s / Swami’s words every day
  • Spreading God’s love like a waterfall up from my heart
  • Chanting Om Guru, Om Guru, Om Guru… Thank you Swamiji, Thank you Swamiji, …
  • Even if I can do nothing else well, I can say, “I Love you Master and Swami with ALL my heart.”
  • Watch closely those whose attunement I admire and follow their example. — This includes almost everyone!
  • The Attunement Ceremony, done with the group, is very powerful in helping with attunement.
  • Doing the different notes at the chakras (that Swami developed) by oneself, before a private meditation, can be very powerful and helpful
  • Reading part of one of Master’s articles before meditation
  • Huge pictures of Master and Swami in my bedroom and meditation area
  • Talk to Master as a friend and brother. Speak out loud to Him so you hear yourself and it is not just “in your head.”
  • Memorize a poem or prayer-demand from Master. One that inspires, strengthens or opens your heart.
  • Type up or write up this same poem or prayer and put it on your fridge or bathroom mirror so you see it daily.
  • “To those who think me near, I will be near.” —Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Read Conversations with Yogananda.
  • Establish a mental connection with Master.
  • Ask the Masters to be present — then *feel* their persence, thrill in that presence. Share my love for their presence.
  • In many ways, through the day to seek Master’s presence and to follow His presence.
  • A few years ago I decided to purposely attune every hour with a sightly longer one on the odd hours. I keep a timer going to remind me. But now I am quicker to realize it needs doing. A timer helps because we can’t just stop on the hour with our busy lives. So after each attunement I need to look for the next free moment and set the timer for that.
  • Listening to Ananda.org and YouTube to keep in touch with Ananda environment
  • Reviewing what wisdom I share with others—to hear what I need to know
  • Laugh with Master, Swami, and Jyotish and Devi and sangha members
  • Chanting—especially the love songs to God
  • More reading
  • More listening to silence
  • Checking in with Master constantly throughout the day. All thoughts, feelings, actions.
  • Stay in Master’s presence all the time:
    – Wear something that reminds me of him
    – Read his books
    – Practice his presence
    – Affirm, “Unknown I’ll walk by your side and guard you with invisible arms.”
  • Chant and always listen to chanting when in the airplane, etc.
  • Love Master always
  • Asking for help, advice, etc.
  • When you know you are a dream, you will awaken in the Divine.
  • Developing the ability to *Listen*, to hear the subtle language
  • Do 1/100th of Master’s teachings; keep moving ahead on the path.
  • Using teachers and gurus to raise our own level of consciousness. They represent the higher for us to aspire to.
  • Staying close to like-minded environment.
  • Being in harmony with the Divine.
  • Yogananda is aware of Ananda. He approves of us and loves us.
  • Merging with the Guru so you can’t tell where your thoughts end and Guru’s begin
  • Attunement is challenging for me. I will invite the different masters in hopes to attune to my Guru. I was to feel my Guru’s consciousness.
  • Breathe Guru’s name in every breath.
  • Surrender
  • Painting/drawing the energy or master I wish to attune with
  • Calm heart and check with the Guru what he wants me to do
  • “Isn’t it wonderful Paramhansa-ji!”
  • Avoid negativity
  • Attend Ananda events
  • Blessed to live near community, but still have to make effort (willingness / desire / intent / etc. to go)
  • Catching the “reactive mind.” Very often remind myself of Maria Warner’s wise words. I know the mind is reacting to a like/dislike or an attachment.
  • Prayer/affirmation ALL the time.
  • Be with people on the Ananda path or use the app if you can’t physically be there.
  • Talk with God all day long
  • Feeling joy
  • OFFER IT UP (there was a drawing of several people with different emotions—angry, happy, and in-between—with arrows from each of them pointing to the spiritual eye)
  • Seeing the divine in the eyes, actions, smiles, laughter, and service of others
  • Obedience to inner guidance, for me, it has a sense of keenness in humanity; to awaken Thy love in all hearts
  • Inviting Divine Mother / Master into everything I do and offering everything including especially my mistakes and negative emotions to them to transmute them
  • Listening and seeing what Master is bringing to you in the moment.
  • How to tell if you are not in tune? Everything looks dark and sounds discordant. Be sensitive to noticing when non-attunement is happening and correct it asap. “Attunement with the Guru equals the highest possible human happiness.”
  • Every day ask at the close of your meditation: Guru, if my attunement is not perfect right now, show me how to correct this situation!!
  • Remembering “Why am I here?” “Why am I performing this particular task?” It is to serve my Guru. This opportunity is his gift to me.