As a child, I hadn’t the slightest thought that I would live my life for God, but that proved to be my destiny. For some people this concept of living for God might seem intimidating, or grim, or filled with dour self-sacrifice and denial. But it’s quite the contrary. From my own experience and that of hundreds of others I know, such a life is filled with fulfillment and joy on all levels.
Why? Because God is the source of true happiness that will flow into our experiences if we break down the barriers we’ve built around our heart. When we place Him/Her at the center of our life, all of our activities are enriched by this mighty current of Divine Consciousness.
Here are a few of the ways that living for God is fulfilling:
Achieving Our Goals
When, in meditation, we train our mind to concentrate, we can focus more effectively on whatever task is at hand. Turning our attention to a goal with focused, heightened energy helps us to persevere until we achieve it.
Once, a group of us joined Swami Kriyananda in painting his (then) new dome at Crystal Hermitage. Being around Swamiji’s highly focused energy, we grew unaware of the passage of time, and painted nonstop for seven hours. Finally, at two in the morning, we realized we’d finished the job! On that occasion Swamiji showed us that we can accomplish any task when we forget about ourselves and focus on what we’re doing.
Finding Solutions to Our Problems
Often life seems like a never-ending series of problems—we fix one, only to have two more pop up. But living for God gives us not only strength and resilience, but a powerful, unseen partner to help us along the way. By tapping into a positive flow of energy, we can meet every obstacle with confidence that there is a solution.
In building Ananda, we’ve encountered countless challenges: forest fires, lawsuits, financial crises, to name a few. I remember a community meeting with Swamiji in July 1976, only a few days after the forest fire had burnt the community to the ground. Rallying the “troops,” Swamiji led us all in a solution-oriented discussion about how we could earn money to rebuild, construct simple dwellings to get through the winter, and more. It all seemed very doable, and in fact it all was.
Positive thinking draws solutions. When we live in that spirit, then God also steps in and presents unexpected opportunities to support our efforts.
People may have the misconception that a life in God means cutting oneself off from others, and becoming aloof or cold. It’s not so! God is the source of all love. The more we love Him/Her, the more our love flows out to everyone and everything around us. Our relationships with our friends, family, partners, children, and coworkers all become deeper and more fulfilling.
Fifteen years ago Jyotish and I spoke at a yoga conference held in a large public park in Rome. The next day as we were strolling through the park, we passed a woman we’d never met who’d been at our talk. She immediately came up to us and said, “I have many troubles in my life. I felt so much love coming from you both. Can I write to you for support?” She’s been in touch ever since, studied our teachings, and has taken Kriya initiation at our Assisi community. We’ve also watched her find peace and happiness in her life, and a growing ability to help others.
What happened was not about us, but about the power of God’s love that can flow through each of us to change people’s lives.
Dealing with Change
Swami Kriyananda wrote, “The secret of earthly happiness is to flow gracefully with change. Allow things freely to come and go. All things pass: people, events, time—life itself. Learn to accept every fresh experience joyfully.”
Everything around us will change, but we can train ourselves not to react with fear or sorrow, but to live with calmness and joy under all circumstances. As you may know, at Ananda Village we’ve had two dear friends pass away in the last three months. The way they approached their “final exam” was a powerful testament to the benefits of living for God. Whether by serving to the last moment of life, or by consciously releasing all attachments, they both exited with inner freedom and joy.
Though we feel a sense of loss at their passing, there is very little sorrow. Rather, there is a deep appreciation for the years of loving friendship we shared, and a quiet happiness for the soul freedom of our departed ones.
A saint once said, “Finding God is the end of all sorrow.” When we live only for ourself, we are forever tossed about on the alternating waves of gain and loss, pleasure and pain. A life in God enables us to achieve our goals, solve our problems, love more deeply, and know a joy unaffected by any outward change. It’s truly a life worth living.
Your friend in God,
Listen to Devi as she reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:48):