A Touch of Light

Relax and Feel

One of the most difficult concepts for most people to grasp is that we don’t so much achieve Self-realization as we relax into it. We are constantly bombarded with the message that success depends upon making a strenuous effort. While this is often true for worldly success, it is the opposite for spiritual attainment. One time Swami Kriyananda, a little … Read More

A Touch of Light

Without a Doubt

I was once visiting a friend who had recently given birth to her second child, a lovely little girl. Her first child, a precocious three-year-old named Tamara, was exhibiting definite signs of jealousy towards this newcomer with whom she had to share her parents’ attention. As my friend lovingly cradled the sleeping infant in her arms, Tamara approached with a … Read More

A Touch of Light

Thy Will Be Done

Today is the anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus, one of the three central events in Christianity. Anyone who grew up as a Christian is intimately familiar with the image of Christ dying on the cross. Easter, of course, represents the resurrection and the triumph of life over death, of spirit over body. There are many aspects to these events, … Read More

A Touch of Light

An Evening in the Eternal City

Today a friend of mine sent a cartoon in which a couple are seated together in a living room, and the woman says, “One day 2020 will be a one-word catchphrase for everything messed up. ‘How’s your day going?’ someone will ask you. ‘A total 2020,’ you’ll answer. ‘Say no more,’ will be their reply.” There’s probably truth behind the … Read More

A Touch of Light

How to Live “Autobiography of a Yogi”

For our annual Inner Renewal Week starting next week we will focus on various writings of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda, including Autobiography of a Yogi, Conversations with Yogananda, and The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita. But reading and discussing books is all too often merely an intellectual exercise, even when it is inspiring. We want to take a different … Read More

yogananda as channel of divine mother
A Touch of Light

More Than a Mother

Last week Jyotish wrote that the blog “Celebrations” marked his two hundredth offering. Well, friends, here is my two hundredth, making a grand total of four hundred blogs we’ve posted since we started writing them in 2013. Thanks to all of you for your support. There was another much more important event that also took place last week. On March … Read More

the next wave painting by Nayaswami Jyotish shows the celebratory energy of sharing the light
A Touch of Light

Celebrations

When Swami Kriyananda finished a big project—a major book or series of talks—he would usually gather a small group of friends together and take a short vacation to relax and celebrate. Devi and I were often blessed to accompany him on these celebratory trips. His favorite destination in America was Carmel, California, a picturesque former artist colony on the Pacific … Read More

Sri Anandamayi Ma Yogananda teachings
A Touch of Light

Exit Strategies

“YOU ARE HERE” is written on the poster in bold letters, next to a bright red X. A line of arrows leads from the X, showing the exit route that leads out of the building in case of a fire. Every hotel room we’ve ever stayed in has such a sign posted inside the door, and although I’ve never actually … Read More

A Touch of Light

Catching God

Once when I was young, perhaps three or four years old, my uncle was visiting our family. He had a quirky sense of humor that tended toward practical jokes. I was playing outside on a sunny spring morning, when he joined me in the backyard with a saltshaker, and a mischievous look on his face. As happens during spring in … Read More

soul freedom is the merging into the divine light
A Touch of Light

The Light Shining in Darkness

I have a confession to make. There are times when I can become stubborn. I expect this can be a little challenging for my friends, but at times it has produced some interesting results. Here’s an example. While in college my friends and I would occasionally sign up as subjects for psychology experiments. These were harmless enough, and we got … Read More

how to achieve peace and the difference between peace and calmness, seen in these wildflowers outside of ananda assisi temple
A Touch of Light

Peace

Devi wrote her last blog on the subject of calmness, saying, “When you feel a recurring karmic situation moving towards you, make the necessary mental or behavioral adjustments while you are still free to do so. The more you can self-adjust early in the process, the less power karma will have over you.” This is the proper way to fight … Read More

A Touch of Light

Keeping Your Balance

I recently read an article by a dance teacher that gives us surprisingly helpful advice about how to deal with life’s challenges. The instructor, Jan Erkert, wrote: “As a dancer, I study physical states of energy. In one exercise I often conduct with my students, one dancer must remain still while others throw their full weight into them, like football … Read More

hope for a better world yogananda teachings jyotish art spring comes
A Touch of Light

Hope for a Better World

We have occasionally written about the devastating forest fire of 1976, which destroyed our home along with most of the other houses at Ananda Village. We awoke that morning to a normal day with its usual routine, but within a few chaotic hours we had lost our home, our possessions, and our security. How can we look back through the … Read More

yoganandas mother ghosh
A Touch of Light

Dealing with Change and Loss

There’s a joke about a man who woke up one morning to discover that he had only three, long hairs left on his head. As he looked into the mirror, he said, “Today I think I’ll wear my hair in a braid.” The next morning he found that he had only two hairs left and thought, “Hmm . . . today I’ll … Read More

paramhansa yogananda is the avatar of love, wisdom, and joy author of autobiography of a yogi
A Touch of Light

In Love and Appreciation

Paramhansa Yogananda’s birthday is January 5. Usually we give people presents on their birthday, but what do you give to someone who has everything? who is everything? No choice is left us but to offer our love and appreciation. This is all we can truly give, and the hidden gift behind all outward symbols. In a spirit of appreciation, then, … Read More

A Touch of Light

Four Lamps to Illumine 2021

Each year the two-week period between December 23 and January 5 is rich with opportunities for spiritual growth. There’s 1) the eight-hour meditation on December 23; 2) the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25; 3) the start of a new year on January 1; and 4) Paramhansa Yogananda’s birthday on January 5. How can we draw the most from … Read More

yogananda true meaning of christmas and three wise men
A Touch of Light

Coming Full Circle

It is Christmas today. Paramhansa Yogananda suggested that his students celebrate the birth of Jesus with a “Spiritual Christmas” as well as the more common “Social Christmas.” Spiritual Christmas is a day of deep meditation during which we try to draw the presence and blessings of Jesus and achieve the birth of Christ consciousness within. This year, for the first … Read More

paramhansa yogananda toured across the us and coined the term art of living, great yoga master kriya yoga and author of autobiography of a yogi
A Touch of Light

Creating a New Language

Abstemious, antipathy, critical, dwindle, extract, horrid, vast, hereditary, excellent, eventful, assassination, lonely, leapfrog, and zany. What does this strange collection of words have in common? These and two thousand other words were first used by William Shakespeare in his forty plays written from 1590–1614. I should explain that I’m reading a wonderful book now that Swami Kriyananda gave me: Shakespeare, … Read More

A Touch of Light

World Brotherhood

At Ananda Village, we recently celebrated our annual “World Brotherhood Day,” a tradition of nearly forty years, in which individuals offer one day’s wages to help support the spread of Master’s teachings. We hold this event at the beginning of the Christmas season as a reminder that our first gift of the holidays should be offered to God to help … Read More

how now more than ever the world needs compassion and the spirit of world brotherhood shown ananda temple blessing with jyotish and devi
A Touch of Light

Now More Than Ever

“Where are the great saints and saviors to help guide us today? God doesn’t seem to be present in the world anymore.” As the world appears to be descending into a downward spiral of lost values, faith, and hope, we often hear this lament from friends. Yet if we change our expectations of God to appear as a wise, benevolent … Read More