There is a story of a woman with two pots. Each morning she fetched water from a well and carried it to her small hut. One of the pots was new and whole, but the other was old, worn, and cracked. A day came when the old pot began to weep, feeling like a failure in even the simple task of carrying water. The new pot, on the other hand, was proud and scornful. The woman knelt and whispered to them, “Come with me. I wish to show you something.”
A few years ago Swami Kriyananda asked us if we could spend more time in India to help with Ananda’s work there. We replied, “Yes, Swamiji. During the past year we’ve been training others in many of our responsibilities. Now we can be gone, and everything will continue to run smoothly.”
God, of course, knows that impersonal love is difficult — after all He created this drama in the first place. He knows that loving the saints, His awakened sons and daughters, is the first step in devotion. At first the spiritual masters accept, even encourage, personal love.
We heard an inspiring story about a revered Tibetan lama whom the Chinese Communists had held in prison for many years. Eventually the lama was released and later met with the Dalai Lama, who asked him, “It must have been difficult to be a prisoner for all those years. Were you ever afraid?”
A number of well-known Indian yogis visited Ananda during the 1970s. One of these great souls was Swami Chidananda, the head of Sivananda’s ashram after the master passed.
The elderly nun quietly entered the refectory of the convent. Clasping her hands together and looking heavenward, she exclaimed, “Ah, the economy of God! If there are three people in a room, they are all teaching each other a lesson.” A friend who was at the convent just then on retreat shared this story with me.
My first Kriya Initiation was on December 22, 1967. It was a Friday evening, and Swami Kriyananda felt that those of us who would be attending the all-day Christmas meditation the next day could benefit from having this sacred technique. The ceremony took place in Swamiji’s small San Francisco apartment and was attended by about a dozen people.
I first met Swami Kriyananda shortly after I came to Ananda Village in California, in 1969. As I watched him from a distance, I found myself in awe of him—of his spiritual wisdom, his inspiration as a teacher, and the fact that he was a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. I also labored under the thought that everyone around him … Read More
Earlier this week we were having lunch with a group of friends, and the conversation took an interesting turn. The seven of us passed around the question, “When did you begin to know what you were supposed to do in this life? Why were you born?” For me, I knew early on that I was supposed to be a teacher. … Read More
Though universal in his consciousness, Paramhansa Yogananda especially worshipped the feminine aspect of God, or Divine Mother, as he called Her. Newcomers to Yogananda’s teachings often ask us, “Who is this Divine Mother?” To answer this question, I’d like to share with you some experiences from my own journey that have clarified my understanding. The first incident occurred when I … Read More
“I need to tell someone here my story.” The woman had come to Ananda’s guest retreat late one night and had spoken to the only person she could find, a cook in the kitchen prepping food for the next day. She shared this amazing experience: “I visited here a few months ago just out of curiosity. I don’t follow any … Read More
A few days ago we received a letter from a young man who’s currently going through a painful separation. We were so touched by it that we wanted to share it with you in his own words: On Thursday I went to check out a little apartment in the hills of Newcastle [California]. I drove my bike out a long … Read More
Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, or eightfold path, is the cornerstone of the science of yoga, and gives us a roadmap for the journey back home to God. I’ve found it clarifying to view the eight stages in reverse order—samadhi, dhyana, dharana, pratyahara, pranayama, asana, niyama, and yama—so as to see how each one rests logically upon the stage preceding it. Samadhi … Read More
On the spiritual path, we don’t tread water. We’re either moving forward or backward. Very few on the spiritual path say outright, “I will not fight.” We don’t say, “I give up.” What we say in effect is, “I let up,” meaning, “I’m not going to try as hard.”
“I will be true to you as I pray always to be true to God. I will love you without condition, as I would be loved by you and as we are ever loved by God. I will never compete with you; I will cooperate for our own, and for all others’ highest good. I will forgive you always, and … Read More
How to do the Full Yogic Breath: Begin by standing upright, arms at the sides. Close your eyes and feel centered in the spine. Breathe slowly and deeply from the diaphragm. Now slowly bend forward, keeping the knees relaxed. Exhale slowly and completely as you bend forward, allowing your body to come down only as far as is comfortable and your … Read More
People can meditate for many months, or even years, with little result, simply because they have ignored the basics, thinking that such elementary practices are only for the merest beginner. Restlessness, especially mental restlessness, is the main impediment to deeper meditation. Our hardest job in meditation is to rid the mind of the static created by thoughts and desires. There … Read More
I am the Christ Consciousness which has been with you always. Before you were born, I was there. Before even the world was, I was. I am the spirit of God that dwells in the heart of every atom. I am ever aware of you though you see me not. To every part of your being I give my unconditional … Read More
A step-by-step guide to learning the art and science of meditation. The book is a practical guide to learning how to relax your body, interiorize your awareness, concentrate your mind, develop and clarify intuition, expand your spirit, and experience peace, joy, and calmness. Order the How to Meditate book.
Nearly every devotee struggles with trying to keep the mind more focused on God. It’s a very challenging struggle, a bit like trying to catch the wind. The pull of the world, and of past experiences and karma, draws us away from a single-minded focus on God. How do we resist that pull? In his poem “God! God! God!,” which … Read More