Devi and I have been spending a month at the Ananda community near Assisi, Italy, where there is great reverence for St. Francis. Paramhansa Yogananda, too, honored him, calling him his “patron saint.”
A few years after Ananda’s arrival in Italy, word began to reach Swami Kriyananda, who was residing here at the time, that the Bishop of Assisi had been issuing warnings against us. Apparently, Church authorities had come to consider our presence there a threat.
Swami Kriyananda, being a very forthright person, decided to have a talk with him. In many ways they turned out to be kindred souls: both of them highly intelligent, well educated, and sincere in their spirituality. After spending some time discussing spiritual matters, Swamiji was about to take his leave. As he was at the door the Bishop said, “I enjoyed our time together and really like you. Too bad you aren’t a Christian.”
Swamiji, knowing that it would be useless to argue, replied with a twinkle in his eye, “You say I am not a Christian, and I say I am. Let’s let Jesus decide.”
This thought, “Let’s let God decide,” should be like a mantra, a compass that guides our life. It is a shorthand way of saying, “Not my will, nor your will, but God’s will.” For devotees of this path, we might translate it as, “What would Master do?” or, “What does my own higher Self advise for me?” How many arguments could be avoided if we let this attitude guide us.
Paramhansa Yogananda put it this way: “Learning to love our relatives is simply a training in stretching our consciousness. It is a preliminary practice in loving all others as we do our relations, whom we think of as our own. We have to learn to look on family and strangers alike, because all are children of God. He has given you certain family members with whom you are practicing stretching your consciousness. When the husband serves the wife, and she serves him, each with the desire to see the other happy, Christ Consciousness—God’s loving Cosmic Intelligence that permeates every atom of creation—has begun to express itself through their consciousness. Whenever you do something for someone else, without any selfish motive, you have stepped into the sphere of Christ Consciousness.”
When we align our heart and mind with those of the stretched consciousness of a master, we have a polestar to guide us. If we could simply remember to ask the question, “What do you advise?” most problems in life, and especially in relationships, could be avoided.
Devi and I have recently finished a ten-class course, How to Develop Harmonious Relationships. In it we explore all facets of relationships of every kind: personal and intimate ones as well as others such as friendships and those that are work-related.
Ultimately, all relationships are expressions of the Christ consciousness, but the more we are caught up in desires, attachments, and ego, the more conflicts arise. Human emotions, especially negative ones, are a labyrinth with no exit. The only real solution is to rise above the limiting walls of ego into the free skies of higher consciousness. How? By remembering to ask God or a master, “What do you advise here?”
Asking is one part of the picture. Listening for His response is the other part. God won’t intrude on our free will, so we must first be truly ready to accept His advice. Then we must allow our minds and emotions to become still. He loves us as His very own, and is waiting for us to turn to Him. When we do, He will answer us with a soft and loving whisper.
The next time you are about to argue a point, follow Swami Kriyananda’s model and say, perhaps with a twinkle in your eye, “Let’s let God decide.”
In His all-embracing love,
To view more information about Jyotish and Devi’s new course, How to Develop Harmonious Relationships, click here.
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