I read a wonderful statement recently by the British author C.S. Lewis: “Many people want to serve God, mostly in an advisory capacity.”
At least some of the time, most of us think God needs our advice on rearranging things more to our liking. When everything is going well, we think He’s doing a pretty good job of managing the cosmic drama, but when adversity comes, we begin to question His judgment.
Paramhansa Yogananda said that the reason God doesn’t appear to most people is that they would only argue with Him! It takes spiritual maturity to surrender our life to a Higher Power and to trust that everything is happening for the best.
In 1976 Ananda Village was devastated by a forest fire, which destroyed much of the community property and burned down most of the houses. Jyotish and I lost our home and everything we owned in the blaze, which struck just eleven days after our son had been born.
Shortly afterwards, Swami Kriyananda sent us a note saying that he was sorry for our losses and for the challenges it presented at that time particularly. He added, however, “Always remember: What God gives, we take.”
Swamiji offered no wishful thoughts that we might have been spared this test. He reflected to us only the courage and wisdom of a true disciple who knows that God always guides our life to the highest end.
Over time the experience of the fire proved to be a blessing for us, bringing to the fore new levels of inner strength and acceptance. In the aftermath of the blaze, however, those who felt that God was in need of some serious advice soon left.
How do we stop offering God our opinion and accept His will? Here are some thoughts:
1) Develop an attitude of openness. Don’t impose your desires or expectations on life, but listen sensitively to what is trying to happen and be receptive to the flow of events. Accept, appreciate, and attune to the wisdom behind all circumstances.
2) Focus on the Dreamer behind the dream. The essence of God’s consciousness is love and joy. Try to feel these eternal qualities present behind everything that happens, and know that the dream is but a passing show. Especially in the face of tests, try to feel His loving presence smiling at you.
3) Live in surrender to God and His appointed guide for us, the guru. In the vow of discipleship written by Swami Kriyananda , it says: “I have walked with the thought, ‘I want this from life; these answers; that guidance; this pathway, or that,’ but I have seen that, as often as I made claims on life, it eluded me. As often as I presumed on Thy will, it turned away from me.”
The spiritual path, which can seem so complicated at first, ultimately reveals itself as simply living in openness and trust in God. When we are able to do this, we cease being His stern advisor and start becoming His blissful child.
In divine friendship,