In The New Path, Swami Kriyananda recounts an amazing story about Señor J. M. Cuaron, one of Yoganandaji’s direct disciples and the SRF center leader in Mexico City:
“I was badly in need of a job,” Señor Cuaron told Swamiji, “but for a long time could find no work anywhere. Then one day an excellent offer came from a company in Matamoros. Taking that job would mean moving away from Mexico City; I therefore wrote Master to request his permission to put the SRF center in someone else’s charge. My letter was, to me, a mere formality; I was sure Master would congratulate me on my good luck. Imagine my surprise, then, when he replied by telegram: ‘No. Absolutely not. Under no circumstances whatever accept that job.’ I admit I was a bit upset. But even so, I obeyed him.
“One month later the news came out in the papers: The company that had offered me that job was exposed for fraud. Its officers, including the man who had taken the post I’d been offered, were sent to prison. He hadn’t been aware of the firm’s dishonesty, just as I would not have been. Because of the position he held, however, he was imprisoned with the rest. It was only by Master’s grace that I was spared that calamity!”
Few of us have received such tangible response to a request for guidance as a telegram from Master, yet his inner direction is there for us always. It’s our job to learn how to draw his response by attuning our consciousness with God. Then the decisions we make will be guided by higher wisdom, rather than by personal desires and whims.
Here are some basic techniques and principles for drawing inner guidance. First, start by calming your mind in meditation. Next, deeply concentrate at the point between the eyebrows, the seat of intuitive perception, and then pose your question.
Feel for a response in the heart center. Try to be impartial, and don’t intrude your desires on the outcome. With true inner guidance, you should feel a sense of impersonal calmness and centeredness, rather than excited anticipation.
It’s important not to tip the scales, so to speak, in favor of the outcome we want. Sometimes people pray something like, “Lord, show me what I should do, but let it be this option. Then I know I’ll be happy.” That kind of prayer only affirms the false notion that happiness is found in outer circumstances, rather than within ourself.
Be patient. The response may not come immediately, or even during meditation. You may clearly feel in your heart the response to your question later that day, or even after some days.
If, however, no guidance comes, then pose several alternatives. See if one of them receives special endorsement in your heart. Sometimes clarity comes only after you’ve begun acting on your perceived guidance.
Choose whichever course seems reasonable to you, but continue to listen for guidance in the heart. If the direction is correct, a sense of endorsement will confirm it; otherwise, be open to trying other choices until certainty comes.
Here’s one final piece of advice: It’s important to remember that guidance may evolve over time. And so we should continue to ask in meditation for the confirmation of our chosen course of action. In other words, follow the breadcrumbs that God is giving you. He will lead you forward, step by step, towards your highest good.
Why does God’s guidance sometimes seem so obscure? Perhaps it’s because He wants us to walk forward through life with the constant thought of His presence. If choosing the right road were always clear and easy, we might feel the need to “practice His presence” only occasionally.
Perhaps, too, it’s to teach us to be open and fluid in our thinking. Yogananda said that many people become “psychological antiques,” habitually thinking and acting in old patterns. God is “ever-new,” and by following His will, we can live in such a way as to experience this.
Finally, following true guidance when it conflicts with our reasoned expectations strengthens our faith, and gives us the opportunity to surrender our ego-driven will to God’s wisdom. In the case of Señor Cuaron, Master’s advice was the opposite of what he wanted to hear, but in the end, it proved most beneficial.
So, my friends, learn to draw true guidance, and then have the courage to follow it. As Master says in a beautiful prayer: “I will tune my free will with the infinite will of God, and my only desire shall be to do the will of Him who placed me here.”
May you be blessed with divine clarity in thought, word, and action.
In divine friendship,
Listen to Devi as she reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:06):