A Touch of Light, Spiritualizing Daily Life

Obstacles or Opportunities?

A friend of ours recently asked, “How can I strengthen my sadhana despite the distractions of being a householder?” To answer, let’s turn to the wisdom of ancient India. The Vedas describe four stages of life: 1) the celibate student; 2) the householder; 3) the person who partially withdraws from outer involvement and hands over most of his responsibilities to … Read More

A Touch of Light

Accepting Help

We heard a story about a seeker who as a young man in Europe had read Autobiography of a Yogi. He was so impressed by the book that he resolved to move to America and join Yogananda’s work. Then the news reached him that Yogananda had just left the body, and he dropped his plans. Some time later the great … Read More

A Touch of Light, Swami Kriyananda

One in the Light

April 21, 2014 marks the one-year anniversary of Swami Kriyananda leaving his body. Someone asked us recently what this period has been like, both for Ananda and for us personally. The question gave me pause to reflect on what we’ve experienced in these twelve months since his passing. The legacy Swamiji left behind has both outer and inner aspects. The … Read More

A Touch of Light

10 Tips for Meditation

1) Meditate. “Beloved God, since no earthly engagement is possible without using the powers borrowed from Thee, I will renounce everything that interferes with my engagement to meditate on Thee in daily awakened silence.” [*] 2) Push yourself a little. If you do too much you risk burnout. But doing too little puts you at risk of tracing endless circles … Read More

A Touch of Light

Getting Caught

Watching the sunset on the Pacific Ocean is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Recently while in Pacific Grove, California, we enjoyed this experience — seeing the sun change its color from golden to pink to orange before slipping below the horizon. Gazing out at the ocean, I remembered another sunset I’d witnessed some years before — … Read More

A Touch of Light

The Sea

Devi and I are taking a short break in Pacific Grove, California, overlooking Monterey Bay with its rugged and dramatic coastline. In addition to the beauty of the ocean, there is an amazing variety of sea life: flocks of cormorants and seagulls, seals sunning themselves, and sea otters somehow endlessly entertaining doing nothing more than floating on their backs. Further … Read More

A Touch of Light, Health and Healing

Healing

Everyday a miracle is happening all around us. Because it’s so humble and simple, we hardly even notice it, yet without it we couldn’t survive: the miracle of healing. I don’t mean the dramatic examples of divine intervention like Jesus restoring sight to the blind man, or Lahiri Mahasaya bringing Sri Yukteswar’s friend back from the dead. I’m talking about … Read More

A Touch of Light, Success

Specific Gravity

Some years ago a delightful friend of ours, an architect and engineer, observed, “We engineers study the laws of gravity, but you people at Ananda study the laws of levity.” While humorous, this statement is also deeply true. As things expand they become lighter, and the purpose of life at Ananda is to expand. Swami Kriyananda introduced the concept of … Read More

A Touch of Light

Under One Sky

Dear Friend, One evening during our recent trip to Mexico, we were having dinner at the home of Alicia, Ananda’s center leader in Monterrey. As we were enjoying one another’s company over a wonderful meal, the memory of another evening came to mind. It was in the early 1980s in Rome with Swami Kriyananda. We were walking back to our … Read More

Health and Healing

Keys to Wellness

Good health results from a strong unobstructed flow of life-force to all areas of the body; illness, moods, apathy—in fact, all negative states—are symptoms of a conflict or blockage of the life-force. One of the great benefits of meditation is a gradual freedom from these conflicts.

A Touch of Light

The Power of Five Minutes

Have you ever finished meditating and then realized you’d been so unfocused that you could hardly remember what happened? Paramhansa Yogananda defined meditation as “deep concentration on God or one of His aspects.” In order to achieve this, we need to bring the consciousness to one-pointed attention at the spiritual eye. The first few minutes after closing our eyes is … Read More

Our Lady of Guadalupe Story
A Touch of Light

What the Heart Says

Her name was Abigail. She was ten years old with shining brown eyes and a shy smile. Her parents were members of the Ananda Mexico City Center, where we were staying, and they had brought her over to meet us before she went to school. Putting her arms around my waist, Abigail hugged me and sweetly rested her head on … Read More

A Touch of Light

Out of the Silence

There was only stillness. A stillness so profound that no words existed to describe it. And bliss, a bliss so fulfilling that nothing more was desired or needed. But the nature of the bliss was to expand, ever to expand. And so a small part of the still, infinite bliss began to vibrate. And this was the primordial duality: stillness … Read More

A Touch of Light, Happiness

Trusting First Impressions

It was quiet and cool in the interior of the dimly lit church – a dramatic contrast to the ceaseless activity on the college campus during this hot day in late spring of 1969. A friend had given me Autobiography of a Yogi to read, and it had awakened in me a keen desire to learn to meditate. My friend … Read More

Be Still and Know that I am God Bible Meaning Yoga and Yogananda interpretation
A Touch of Light, Spiritual Development

Be Still and Know

In Psalm 46:10 of the Bible, there is the oft-quoted statement, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Usually this is interpreted as “sit still” or “be quiet.” But there is a deeper and more profound explanation. The yogic meaning is to still the prana, or life force, and then you will know God. I have been reading a … Read More

A Touch of Light, Success

A Tale of Two Butterflies

Discouragement and moods are two obstacles that often assail us on the spiritual path. There was a time during my first few years at Ananda when certain things happened that left me feeling pretty discouraged and downhearted. Fortunately I had a dear friend, an older gentleman who’d been on the path a long time, to whom I could go for … Read More

A Touch of Light

Look to the Light

Devi and I led the first Ananda pilgrimage when we were living in Italy in 1984. After going to Assisi and other sacred places, we visited Florence for its great art and history. While there, we went with a wonderful guide to one of the world’s greatest museums, The Uffizi Gallery. She told us, “We don’t have enough time to … Read More

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
A Touch of Light, Paramhansa Yogananda

A Book and Its Cover

“A friend gave me a book to read, but something about the photo on the cover just put me off. I set the book aside and forgot all about it,” he said. A young man was telling us the story of how he found Autobiography of a Yogi. “Later that year,” he continued, “as I was getting ready to move … Read More

A Touch of Light, Spiritual Development

The Long Drawn-Out Twins

I’m writing this a few days after the New Year when people have already begun to break their resolutions. Let’s ask why. Will power alone, which Paramhansa Yogananda defined as “desire plus energy directed toward a goal,” is a weak ally. Like a muscle, will power suffers fatigue. An interesting study showed that the worst time to seek leniency in … Read More

New Years Message Paramhansa Yogananda
A Touch of Light

In 2014 – Watch the Main Act, Not the Side Show

Swami Kriyananda often said that Ananda is like a living laboratory. By observing others, you can see which attitudes lead to deeper happiness and attunement with God, and which lead in the opposite direction. One of the things that inspired me during our recent time in India was observing my friends from America who are serving there. We’ve known many … Read More