how to still the mind for meditation
A Touch of Light

Start with the Heart

It seems nearly impossible to stop the restless monkey mind during meditation. Why? In part, because we are looking at the effect rather than the cause. Mental restlessness is generally initiated by restless emotions! If you want to calm an agitated mind, first see what emotions are triggering your thoughts. Start with the heart. I practiced this principle in my … Read More

A Touch of Light

Collaboration

“You should write a book on collaborative medicine.” Swami Kriyananda once gave this advice to Dr. Peter Van Houten, the physician for Ananda Village, and the founder of a national award–winning rural clinic. Recently we had an inspiring visit with Peter and his wife, Patricia, during which he shared about how he practices medicine “collaboratively” at his clinic. First, there’s … Read More

king of the infinite jyotish art
A Touch of Light

Identity Theft

This blog is meant to be what Master said life should be: “entertaining and educational.” It is done in a light way about a serious topic, but sometimes things are too serious to be approached seriously. So, here is a story of the journey of a young man that Swami Kriyananda might have called, “devotee everyone.” For the sake of … Read More

yogananda teachings on how to learn lessons of life
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What Am I Supposed to Learn?

Little did I know, that first day I arrived at Ananda Village—July 4, 1969—that my real education and, in fact, my real life was about to begin. Twenty-two years old, I had just finished college. Up until then I had basically spent my whole life listening to teachers feed me facts, figures, theories, and formulae. Though I’d excelled in my … Read More

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Give God the Responsibility

Devi and I have been exploring the same basic theme for three blogs, allowing us to look more deeply at such an important topic. Two weeks ago I wrote about the importance of faith, followed by Devi’s blog about relaxing upward. Today, I want to write about a topic that concerns everyone: how to deal with our responsibilities. The teachings … Read More

relax upward meditation yogananda teachings picture of buddha universal spirituality of ananda palo alto
A Touch of Light

Relax Upward

I read a true story recently about a woman who was tending her son in the hospital following a long, difficult surgery. Three days after the procedure, the boy was still in a great deal of pain, and the worried mother was unable to sleep. As she paced the empty hospital corridors alone at three in the morning, tears of … Read More

how to develop faith teachings of yogananda and babaji and christ watching over the world quote autobiography of a yogi
A Touch of Light

Have a Little Faith

“Have a little faith” is an expression often used in a light way, perhaps by those who are trying to prove themselves to you. But in fact, true faith is the bedrock of both spiritual success and the ability to withstand the storms and trials of life. How many times do we despair when we encounter difficulties? Often we are … Read More

yogananda teachings in daily life on three unexepcted gifts on spiritual path with yogananda in painting
A Touch of Light

Three Unexpected Gifts

Sometimes the best gifts come in unexpected packages. Perhaps this is God’s way of encouraging us to see the hidden treasure lying beneath the challenges in life. Here are three such gifts that at first glance seem to come in very odd wrappings: solitude, silence, and spiritual hunger. First, the Gift of Solitude. Most people are either uncomfortable or bored … Read More

A Touch of Light

The Parable of the Frightened Boy

There was a young boy who lived in a small village. One night he woke up screaming, and when his parents rushed in to see what was wrong, the trembling boy said, “I was in the forest at the edge of the village just as it was starting to get dark. A huge tiger came out of the trees and … Read More

paintings of yogananda and mountains
A Touch of Light

You Can Get There from Here

There’s a joke I enjoy sharing about a traveler who found himself lost in an unfamiliar countryside. Luckily, he spied an old farmer standing by the side of the road surveying his fields. Approaching the old man, the lost traveler asked, “Excuse me. Do you know the way to Smartsville?” The laconic farmer paused for a while, and then replied, … Read More

A Touch of Light

Three Questions

What is working? What isn’t working? What if? A delightful painting instructor uses these three questions as part of his artistic process. When he is making a sketch for a new painting, he looks at his first attempt and keeps those things that are working, changes those that aren’t, and asks “What if I did this instead?” He repeats the … Read More

babaji krishna and jesus christ in meditation art by jyotish
A Touch of Light

Our Own Possibilities

All of life is bound together by a common purpose. From the lowliest worm to the most exalted saint, all are seeking the same goal: bliss. This search may take many forms—from finding a juicy leaf to union with God—but this shared desire for true happiness motivates us all. People do themselves a disservice when they put great saints on … Read More

yogananda teachings on how to be happy all the time
A Touch of Light

I Can Choose

In 1937 Yogananda wrote to his most advanced disciple, Rajarshi Janakananda, “I used to come home, my hair saturated with smoke and my eyes burning after luncheon talks. I felt even suffocated. One day I made up my mind, Divine Spirit was smoke and light, and I was never bothered since. Mind is everything, whichever way you train it.” Mind … Read More

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A Touch of Light

Is Freedom from Karma Possible?

Recently we were discussing the law of karma with a few friends. One of them made an interesting comment that karma doesn’t always come back immediately, but hangs around for a while. It isn’t, he said, as if there were a credit card company keeping track of charges and payments each month. That’s why we need a “Master Card” to … Read More

ashok baba disciple anandamayi ma with yogananda devotees
A Touch of Light

Faith, Attunement, and Courage

We just received news that a friend in India, Ashok Baba Kulkarni, is close to leaving his body. We’ve considered him a friend and an inspiration even though we met him and his wife, Daya, only a few times. On every occasion, he would regale us with stories of his time with his guru, Ananda Moyi Ma. Ashok Baba didn’t … Read More

yogananda teachings on reincarnation and karma and swami kriyananda moksha mandir ananda village tulips
A Touch of Light

Planning for Your Next Incarnation

The little boy was orphaned at an early age when both of his parents were killed in a tragic accident. Fortunately, he was taken in by his loving grandparents, who raised him in the tradition of his people: the Cherokee.  Thus begins The Education of Little Tree, a beautiful book which describes the ways of these indigenous people, and their … Read More

yogananda teachings whispers from eternity the hidden language of god and in all creatures like horse whispering
A Touch of Light

God’s Hidden Language

One of the most thrilling episodes in Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi is when Sri Yukteswar, after his death, materializes in front of Yogananda. Yogananda writes, “For the first time in my life I did not kneel at his feet in greeting but instantly advanced to gather him hungrily in my arms.” Then a little later, “My mind was … Read More

A Touch of Light

Attitudes for a Better World

Swami Kriyananda has written a visionary book called, Hope for a Better World! The Small Communities Solution. In it he shows how the materialistic attitudes of society today have brought us to the present state of worldwide tension and suffering. He also describes how global peace and happiness can be achieved through the spread of spiritual communities. “Is it realistic,” … Read More

how to do a short meditation intensely when there isnt time
A Touch of Light

When Time Is Short

We sometimes find ourselves in a situation in which we simply don’t have as long for our meditation as we would like. When this happens, the solution is not to skip our practice, but to do a shorter sadhana with greater intensity. In a short meditation it is especially important to make an effort to concentrate deeply. This principle of … Read More

crystal hermitage chapel ananda village
A Touch of Light

Watch for the “Aha” Moments

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about life by observing parents shopping with their children. Once in a supermarket I watched a little girl who was noisily demanding of her mother some goodie she wanted. After trying repeatedly to placate her child with noncommittal answers, the mother finally blurted out in exasperation, “The answer is maybe, and that’s final!” … Read More