“How can we prepare ourselves for a future that looks so uncertain?” This question was asked during a recent satsang we had with Ananda’s online Virtual Community, and it seemed an important one to discuss.
Swami Kriyananda gave a series of talks which he entitled, “Building Spiritual Power Against Troubled Times.” This is one of the answers to the question of preparing for the future. Our only real security comes by building spiritual power through deepening our devotion and faith in God, the basis for an inward knowing that His protection is always with us.
This power is not ours for the mere asking, however, but needs to be developed by deep, regular meditation and increased attunement with the guru. As our awareness of God’s presence in our life deepens, our trust in His protection and guidance increases as well.
Yoganandaji gave us a powerful affirmation to use in times of uncertainty: “I will go forth in perfect faith in the power of Omnipresent Good to bring me what I need at the time I need it.”
Over the years, the story of Ananda has been a living testimony to the truth of this statement. God and Guru have stepped in repeatedly to rescue us and provide what was needed in even the most dire of circumstances.
There is also a second way to prepare for an uncertain future: Simplify Your Life. The more we can free ourselves from the burden of too many possessions, the easier it is to release the thought that security comes from things. Then we can move forward easily into whatever the future may bring.
Look at your home and work environment and ask yourself, “What do I really need?” During a period of our life when Swamiji sent us away on many assignments, we moved thirteen times in fourteen years. To make this doable, we would regularly go through our possessions and ask about each one, “Do I use this? Do I love it?” If the answer to either of these questions was “yes,” we would keep it. If not, then out it would go.
It was actually a wonderful process, and although we have had a consistent home base for some years now, that approach to our possessions stays with us still. In fact, we usually have a small pile of things that no longer pass this test which we lovingly give to others. But remember that it’s not having possessions that’s the problem. It’s our attachment to those things that binds us to the fear of losing them.
When you stop defining your security according to outer possessions or circumstances, you find a surprising degree of inner freedom. Yoganandaji wrote: “Seek happiness more in your mind and less in the acquisition of things. Be so happy in your mind that nothing that comes can possibly make you unhappy. Then, you can get along without things you have been accustomed to. Be happy knowing you have acquired the power not to be negative. Know, too, that you will never again become so materially minded that you forget your inner happiness, even if you become a millionaire.”
There’s a delightful story of a wandering sadhu whose only possessions were a loincloth and a blanket. Once a curious passerby asked him how he could get by with so little.
Surprised, the saintly sadhu answered, “What do you mean? I have everything I need—a roof over my head, a comfortable bed and pillow, and ample clothes to keep me warm.”
Puzzled, the passerby asked, “Where do you have these things?”
The saint replied: “When it rains, I put the blanket over a tree branch, and that is my roof. When it’s time to sleep, I arrange the blanket into a nice bed, and when I’m cold, I wrap the blanket around me. I have all that I need.”
The inner freedom and joy of this sadhu can be a model for us all. Master said, “Happiness blooms naturally in the hearts of those who are inwardly free. It flows spontaneously, like a mountain spring after April showers, in minds that are contented with simple living and that willingly renounce the clutter of unnecessary, so-called ‘necessities’—the dream castles of a restless mind.”
So, my friend, to prepare for an uncertain future, remember these two things: 1) Deepen your connection with God, the source of everything; and 2) Simplify your life and realize that security and happiness lie within.
Towards a brighter future,
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 (8:59):