All of us have habits or tendencies that bring us suffering. Though repeatedly we may try to change these patterns, they follow us around like a cloud of gnats. This is the result of the law of karma: Every action we take is a cause that has an effect, an effect that sometimes follows us even from lifetime to lifetime. These effects can be good or bad, freeing or binding, depending on the action involved.

When confronted with the effects of our past bad actions, how should we respond? It is natural, and good, to do what we can to minimize those effects. If we have poor health, we can take steps to improve it such as seeing a doctor, taking medication, improving our diet, or exercising appropriately.

In themselves, however, steps like these will not eliminate the underlying cause. To do that, as anyone aspiring to soul freedom must, we need to use the power of our mind to resist old patterns. At the same time, we should seek to replace bad habits with good ones. It’s like putting up a protective cloth over our mental garden so that the seeds of bad karma cannot germinate. Past karma then has much less power to harm us. Moreover, those karmic seeds, starved of nourishment from repetition of past bad actions, wither and die.

Most effective of all is to meditate. Each time we meditate deeply, beneficial changes take place in the patterns of our brain. Here is a meditation technique that Paramhansa Yoganandaji gives us to destroy the seeds of past karma.

make me one and overcome my bad habits exercise of yogananda painting of spiritual eye by swami kriyananda on cover of the new path

Painting by Swami Kriyananda.

First, meditate upon the thought “I and my Father are one,” trying as you do so to feel great peace and joy in your heart. When joy comes, mentally affirm: “Father, Thou art with me. I command Thy power within me to cauterize my brain cells of wrong habits and past seed tendencies.” Finally, affirm and pray: “I command my brain cells to change, to destroy the grooves of bad habits that have made a puppet out of me. Lord, burn them up in Thy divine light.” Do this technique repeatedly with great concentration, and over time you will feel ever freer.

Swami Kriyananda gave us an image that is very helpful in destroying the effects of our past actions. He said rooting out old karma is like trying to pull a nail out of a board. Using the prongs of a hammer, we keep pulling, but cannot know how much of the nail remains in the board. We do not know when, but one day, after continued effort, the nail pops out. The karma is over, and we are free.

A friend of ours recently told us an illustrative story. He was directing a team of people on a new project. Unfortunately, one person on the team was resistant to our friend’s guidance; he was openly critical and challenging, even hostile. Our friend reacted negatively, and though he didn’t show it, was resentful. Some old karma had come into play.

Praying deeply to God to be able to lead the team impartially and effectively, our friend was preparing to meet with the team. Just as he was getting in the car, he felt the karma lift: “like a nail coming out of a board,” he said. He felt inwardly free, and the project moved forward harmoniously.

Paramhansa Yogananda wrote, “Don’t blame God or anyone else if you are suffering from disease, financial problems, or emotional upsets. You created the cause of the problem in the past and must make a greater determination to uproot it now.” So let’s face the self-created challenges that come to us in life, until, with indomitable will, we realize that nothing can keep us bound in our journey towards soul freedom.

Your friend in God,

Nayaswami Devi

Listen to Devi as she first reads the blog, then expands on its meaning and messages for readers with behind-the-blog commentary. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:35):


  1. Thank you so much!
    It was really inspiring and practical 🙏😊🙏

  2. Very good article, makes lot of sense
    Much gratitude for the same
    Jai Guru

  3. Grazie di cuore per queste preziose riflessioni!

  4. yes, it is all true but for me such a thing came very unexpected to me … after 10 years and it took three years to come over.

    It is over now lucky for me because it gives a lot of unrest.

  5. Grazie di cuore ,per questa perla di saggezza e di consapevolezza ,grazie ,grazie grazie

  6. Thank you is exactly what i needed bow. Right when i thought i was over an old pattetn that i thought i already overcome, came up to surface as a challange. Ill offer it to divine morher to heal and realize i created this challange and am fully responsable for it. Loce and joy to you

  7. Love these words here and perfect timing for me to hear. I am grateful to be on this mailing list.

  8. Dear Nayaswami Devi,

    Your message could not have come at a better time. Past mistakes raising my children have been coming to light again, recently, The karma of these actions have have kept my mind occupied with guilt and resentfulI. As a result, my meditations have been plagued with restlessness. I had my first deep meditation and prayer last night praying to divine mother to simply shine her divine light upon me and open my heart. I awoke this morning with the this wonderful read and sensed ththe heavy weight of the guilt and resent lift from the mind and heart. Thank you for the prayer by Yogananda you included, I will use it in my daily prayers. God bless, Henry in Thousand Oaks CA.

  9. I enjoyed reading the article. I believe it’s important to us to note that prayer can solve our problem if we are sincere in our prayer.

  10. In a career of project management I found those most vocal, resistant,were beneficial canaries in the coal mine to heed their concerns while not engaging in disruption to a project team in moving forward, guiding the train successfully into the station on time, in harmony.

  11. Thank you , as always, for your article. It is difficult and challenging to work through prior habits . There are times when it seems impossible to move forward. Yet, I’m always reminded that continuing to meditate and awareness are the keys. Setbacks and progress become the same. This path is always a blessing.

  12. Thank you Devi. I needed exactly this, exactly now.

  13. Thank you from my heart, dear Devi, for today’s article. The great wisdom and insights are just what I’ve been needing to hear. Will share it too!
    Love and gratitude,

  14. thank you, dear devi, for reminding me to put the cover over bad habits so that they cannot continue to germinate. but especially for the practice of calling God and Master to guide us out of our old patterns.
    In joy and love, Mary jo

  15. Dear Friend in God. I have found that you provide just the right advice when most deeply needed. This ‘puppet’ will continue to ‘cut the strings’ and the Sandow/Guru will continue to help me pull out the nail. I vow to improve my meditation until, at Last, I am free in His JOY, LOVE and LIGHT. Namaste

  16. Dear Ones; so well expressed. I will be focusing on these words more deeply than ever.
    You have made these words more meaningful than ever. Whenever the situations feel in alignment with the people I am around I will pass it on.

    I look forward to more deeply, encouraging lessons to digest.
    Richest Blessings in the Light

  17. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for sharing this blog. This is in time to help me :-)

    The prayer is powerful and will continue to use it 🙏


  18. Bellissimo. Thank you so much for this great lesson. 🙏🏼

  19. Thank you . Wise words .I will
    Pray daily . Joy blessings to you always 🙏🏽🙏🏽❤️

  20. So True & timely. Ever grateful for the guidance. Jai Guru🙏

  21. Jai Guru Devi ji, such an important topic explained so simply with a solution to work on our Karmas, this was going on in my mind but did not know what. Now its clear and I would start from today itself, thank you

  22. Thank you for this powerful blog dearest Devi Ji. Can totally relate to the story you shared. What Grace and Blessings we receive from God and Guru, thanks to this path and all the guidance we get from you all. Thank you for sharing the prayer and visualization to help root out karmic nails and keep striving towards soul freedom with determination, joy, and deep faith. Thank you Ji once again.

  23. Thank you for sharing this powerful message ,Prayer anf visualization technique ji

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *