swami kriyananda close up photo
A Touch of Light

Happy Birthday, Swamiji!

As I write this blog, it’s a few days before the anniversary of Swami Kriyananda’s birth—May 19, 1926. To honor his life, I felt to write him a personal letter of appreciation (that I’m sharing with you as well). Dear Swamiji, It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since you left your body, because your presence in our … Read More

yogananda looks up into the forest with wonder and gratitude for divine mother
A Touch of Light

What Matters in the End

A poignant quote from Buddha came to us recently: “In the end only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Often we live locked up in self-focused goals and desires. Yet, as we depart from this incarnation, goals must be relinquished and desires discarded. … Read More

simple living high thinking yogananda teachings and autumn reflections painting by jyotish
A Touch of Light

It’s Time to Simplify

“How can we prepare ourselves for a future that looks so uncertain?” This question was asked during a recent satsang we had with Ananda’s online Virtual Community, and it seemed an important one to discuss. Swami Kriyananda gave a series of talks which he entitled, “Building Spiritual Power Against Troubled Times.” This is one of the answers to the question … Read More

Jyotish and Swamiji at a Fourth of July celebration in 2008.
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Lessons Learned Along the Way

Today marks my fifty-sixth anniversary of meeting Swami Kriyananda in 1967. I knocked on his apartment door in San Francisco soon after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, and he welcomed me not only into his home, but also into his life. While the lessons I’ve learned along the way are too many to list, I’d like to share some of … Read More

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Stranger in a Strange Land

A few weeks ago Jyotish and I led the Astral Ascension Ceremony for a dear friend, Judy Fox, who passed away recently. Judy was part of a small team, as were we, that Swami Kriyananda sent to Italy in the early 1980s to help start Ananda’s work there. We landed in Northern Italy near Lake Como at a lovely summer … Read More

how to overcome anxiety with meditation and faith yogananda teachings picture of jyotish meditating
A Touch of Light

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the diseases of our age, affecting almost two-thirds of the population, with nearly a third finding it debilitating. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “The main causes of nervousness are 1) long-continued overactivity, 2) excessive stimulation of the senses from physical overindulgence, and 3) mental overstimulation from chronic fear, anger, sorrow, hatred, jealousy, discontent, or similar harmful emotions. “Any … Read More

jyotish and devi spiritual counseling advice yogananda teachings
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How Can I Best Help Them?

Recently a friend wrote asking: “How can I help family members who are going through a difficult time, or have a sour relationship with one another, without being affected by the situation personally? How does one know when to intervene and support, and when to be an observer and send support from a distance?” We have all faced this dilemma … Read More

how to tame restless mind in meditation yogananda teachings explained by meditators jyotish and devi
A Touch of Light

Taming the Mind

A restless mind is a common and ancient problem for meditators. If you also have this problem, know, my friend, that you are not alone. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna says to Krishna, “Owing to my restlessness I’ve achieved no lasting results in the attempts You’ve taught me to steady the mind. Verily the mind is restless, tumultuous, madly stubborn! … Read More

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Finding God in the Big City

Twenty million people! That’s the population of the Greater Los Angeles area, we were told recently when we visited friends and Ananda centers there. For one of our satsangs, in Torrance, the center leader asked us to talk about how to find spirituality in big-city life. I thought you, too, might be interested in the thoughts we shared that evening … Read More

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Lesson from the Snow

We have been experiencing historic snowfalls in Northern California. Hard as it is to imagine, some areas near Lake Tahoe have gotten nearly fifty feet of snow so far, with more on the way! Much less has fallen at Ananda Village, but still we’ve gotten more than any time in recent memory. With hills, freezing temperatures, and snowy roads, many … Read More

Sri Yukteswar and his disciple, Paramhansa Yogananda author of Autobiography of a Yogi
A Touch of Light

The Power of Memory

“Many have been My births, O Arjuna, and many also yours. I remember all of Mine, though you remember yours not.” These words from Sri Krishna to his disciple in the Bhagavad Gita show a divine memory of the soul’s eternal nature. Memory, in its highest expression, is much more than remembering what is on a grocery list. It is … Read More

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Four Ways to Outwit Karma

Karma is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Basically, it states that every thought, feeling, and action has a consequence. In the Bible, it says, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Once set in motion, there is normally no way to avoid the karma of past actions. But we can do much to change how severe the … Read More

A Touch of Light

Take That Step!

Driving on a stormy night to an uncertain destination is a daunting experience for all of us. It’s also a perfect analogy for the challenges on our spiritual journey. First, we get in our car and are glad for the moment to be out of the storm. (This is our first step on the path to God, in which we … Read More

yogananda teachings on living in the light
A Touch of Light

Living in the Light

It is good to celebrate noteworthy events, and this is one of those milestones. You are reading blog number five hundred! Writing five hundred in a row hasn’t always been easy or convenient, but sharing a Touch of Light has been one of the greatest blessings of our lives. This week also marks another long-standing tradition. We are just finishing … Read More

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A Curious Tail

As I walked along a forest path at Ananda’s Meditation Retreat one morning, I observed an unusual drama unfold before me. Crouched a few yards ahead was Lottie, a fluffy little gray cat who kept the Retreat’s kitchen free from mice. Her gaze was concentrated on something in front of her, and by her intense crouching pose, I could tell … Read More

how to bring the peace of meditation into your daily yosemite painting with yogananda by jyotish
A Touch of Light

During the Day

We are often asked, “How can I keep the peace and joy I feel in meditation during the demands and distractions of daily activity?” This is, in fact, one of life’s ever-present tests. Another way of phrasing this question is, “How can I keep my energy flowing in a positive direction, in tune with my higher aspirations, so that the … Read More

meditation solutions for tension
A Touch of Light

In Joy I Live

Anyone who has tried to have a regular practice of meditation knows that it’s no easy thing. Creating time in the midst of daily demands, leaving behind worries and preoccupations, summoning up enthusiasm every day: All of these and more are challenges we all face. What I’d like to do is to walk you through a three-step process that may … Read More

jyotish and his son in early years of ananda village
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An Approach for Every Challenge

Many readers will know that Ananda Village was mostly destroyed by a huge forest fire in 1976. Devi and I were new parents with an eleven-day-old infant when the flames devoured our home, our clothes, and virtually all our possessions. In meditation this morning I was remembering that day and contemplating some of the cherished lessons I learned. It was … Read More

what is our true value answered by paramhansa yogananda, stop comparing yourself to others and instead compare to your own growth
A Touch of Light

Our True Value

In the first few years after Swami Kriyananda started Ananda, a number of swamis from India visited us. Most of them were not well known and were traveling alone without any entourage, but they brought with them the authentic spirituality of India. Perhaps it was Yoganandaji’s way of helping to imbue our lives, and Ananda’s work for the future, with … Read More

A Touch of Light

Let Intuition Be Your Guide

I’ve come across some amazing and amusing examples of advanced souls being guided by intuition. These stories are from a book of letters from Paramhansa Yogananda to his second-most-advanced disciple, Yogacharya Oliver Black, My Dear Oliver. Here is the story of how Yogacharya met his guru: Master said he was in Washington, D.C., and he was on his way back … Read More