We have been reading a very interesting book: Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. It’s a thoughtful, well-written examination of aging and dying, subjects often ignored in modern society. Someday, perhaps, I will write a blog about that, but not today. This blog is about a small part of the process—about how helpful it is to prepare for difficulties before a crisis comes. For preparation makes a huge difference. How, then, can we prepare spiritually for life’s storms?

We all have tests in life that are difficult, sometimes catastrophic. Over the years we have had the chance to see many people handle these trials, some with strength and grace, and others with hurt or bitterness. Here are some factors that make all the difference.

Acquire spiritual tools and learn how to use them. Just as every carpenter has a hammer and a saw, there are a few basic tools on the spiritual path that you should be using long before you need them in a crisis.

  • A daily practice of meditation, the deeper the better
  • A habit of filling the mind with positive thoughts and reactions
  • A practice of listening to uplifting music, and mentally chanting throughout the day
  • A sense of humor and the ability to laugh at life and at oneself
  • A pattern of serving others. During a crisis you need to be a channel for positive energy. Otherwise the ego can turn inward toward self-pity and blame.

Develop a network of friends. People who feel connected to others have a safety net. In difficult times, especially, try to spend time with friends who are wise enough to help you see a bigger picture. Avoid, at such times particularly, those who pull your energy down or reinforce negative moods. If you feel a need to “vent,” do so with someone centered and compassionate enough not to take your words too seriously.

Strengthen your own faith in God and Gurus. If you accept the simple truth that everything is an expression of God’s love, you can go through any storm. Don’t deny that challenges are happening, or even that they are difficult, but also don’t accept them only on a surface level. An understanding that difficulties come to teach, not to punish, will mean the difference between soul freedom and egoic bondage. Meditate on the question, “What is this test trying to teach me?”

How to prepare for life's challenges. #yogananda #quote

Photo by Benjamin Jurkovich

Learn to talk to God about little things. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “To those who think me near, I will be near.” If, during the summer days, you have opened your heart and mind to God, then He will be waiting for you when winter arrives. As Yogananda says in his poem, “God! God! God!” “When boisterous storms of trials shriek, and when worries howl at me, I will drown their noises, loudly chanting: God! God! God!”

We cannot avoid life’s storms, nor should we want to if we would grow strong. But we can prepare for them, and be ready to receive the light that always follows the darkness.

In joy,
Nayaswami Jyotish

16 Comments

  1. It is very inspiring….
    Thank you so much….
    granita

  2. Dear Swamiji
    Namaskar.Good morning.
    Very good useful advise sir. Thank you very much. It is quite inspiring.
    with warm regards
    veerender

  3. What great event happened today when I was waiting for Guidance, your Sermon reached om time as Yestetday was full of unpredictable Cyclones around me even though I never expect that human -behaviour will shattered my inner strength.
    After reading your self explainatry guidance I feel very relax and calm. hearty thanks to you and Devi ji.
    Cheers
    Brij Kul Deepak

  4. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for the article :)
    It was very simple and with God’s & Guru’s grace we would want to follow the Spiritual tools.
    Aum,
    Prem

  5. Many thank for the wise, loving and helpful thoughts. It came just on time, like a glass of water when one is so thirsty. It is like a good friend who gives you whatever you need at the right time…

  6. Thank you Jyotish for these timely words. Many blessings, Jerry.

  7. Thank you Jyotish for a clear reminder that for God and Guru to be with me, guiding and taking charge of my life, I must do my part and invite them in to my heart, always being clear of who is the Doer in every circumstance. Namaste

  8. Thank you J and D for all you do. My wife of 16 years passed last March after having lived 20 months, the result of a ruptured brain aneurysm. It was a very difficult experience to go through. Towards the end when things seemed darkest I heard a couple of times, when I was calm and quite, this same question heard in my right inner ear: “Do you trust Me?” God Alone. Blessings to all.

  9. Thank you very much for the inspiring write up. Keep writing!
    Namaste
    Abraham

  10. Dear Jyotish,
    Bless you and Thank you!
    You’re insight and advice are inspiring.
    I will be sharing this blog because the advice and wisdom
    can be utilized by anyone, whether or not they realize they are
    on The Path; cause we all are, to some degree.
    ~~~Peace, Josette

  11. Dear Jis
    Thank you for sharing very Inspiring, and very practical advice to carry on with.
    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

  12. Thank you Jis
    Thank you for sharing , very useful and Inspiring .
    With Gratitude
    R sundararajan

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