Last evening Devi and I had a satsang with a group of younger members living at Ananda Village and were asked a very interesting question. “If you could have a conversation with yourself at age thirty, what advice would you offer him?” What a fascinating question! Here are a few things I might tell my younger self:
Protect, nourish, and deepen your intention to find God. The yearning for union with God is your most valuable possession. If you keep this strong, everything else will somehow fall into place. The flame of longing for the Divine has to be fed with the fuel of discipline, devotion, and good habits. But unless that longing is kept vibrant, nothing outward can make it burst into flame.
Attunement is more important than technique. Align your individual will with God and Guru’s. This alone will keep you on track. Make and keep good spiritual friends who are also attuned. Looking back, I’m sure that I couldn’t have made much progress trying to go it alone.
Relationships are nurtured by friendship and kindness. Give love freely and actively just as the sun gives light to plants. Advice is best given only if people ask, and then given softly and kindly. Judgment always backfires, hurting you even more than those you judge.
It is all about consciousness. Don’t get confused into thinking that the tests in your life are about the tests themselves. Challenges will come, must come, but only in order to give you a chance to work on your consciousness. When they come, don’t forget why you’ve drawn them. It is never about the project, but always about what you can become by facing them.
We just finished talking with our dear friends Shurjo and Narayani, who are leading Ananda’s work in Mumbai. They are in the midst of a huge project, creating a space where people can come and experience the uplifting vibrations of Ananda and Swami Kriyananda. Its outer form will be a café, but its purpose is to be an environment where the patrons can experience a little bit of the astral energy of Ananda. Narayani said that she is praying daily for protection: not from any tests the project may bring, but simply to keep from forgetting why they are doing it and for whom. It is all a manifestation of love and service to God and Gurus.
Don’t be too impatient. Self-discovery is a long process. You’ll have to find a balance between effort and acceptance. A marathon is a strenuous race that takes the right level of effort in order to get to the end. Neither sprinting nor stopping will get you there. So it is with a spiritual marathon.
How can you find the right balance? It’s actually pretty simple. If you feel like you’re trying hard, you are. The rest is about relaxation and endurance.
Have faith, God and Guru love you. This is the final piece of advice I would give my younger self. If you calm yourself, especially in meditation, you can feel in your heart the sweetest feeling of all—the reciprocal love between you and God.
So, my young self, these are some lessons I’ve learned by traveling the road that lies ahead of you. Now, as Steve Jobs would say as he was about to walk offstage at the end of a presentation, “Oh, one more thing.” Then came the big reveal.
So, “one more thing.” Be happy along the way. You have to travel the road ahead one way or another. The road is dark and stormy when you’re grim but sunny and warm when you’re happy. Be happy.
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