I read a true story recently about a woman who was tending her son in the hospital following a long, difficult surgery. Three days after the procedure, the boy was still in a great deal of pain, and the worried mother was unable to sleep. As she paced the empty hospital corridors alone at three in the morning, tears of worry and concern ran down her cheeks.
Suddenly she heard a kindly voice ask her, “What’s the matter?” The woman was taken by surprise, since she hadn’t seen or heard anyone approaching. Turning, she saw an old janitor mopping the floor. He exuded such kindness and calmness that she found herself telling him all her troubles.
“I can feel your faith,” he said, “and this story has ripples, like a stone thrown in the water. Know that this is all part of God’s plan.”
He gave her a gentle pat on the shoulder and continued his mopping along the corridor. Suddenly, she felt a wave of calmness and reassurance sweep over her. Returning to her son’s room, she was finally able to get some sleep. When dawn came, the boy’s pain was almost gone.
She wanted to thank the janitor for his kindness, but when she tried to contact him, the hospital records showed that no one on the staff matched his description. In her hour of need, God’s loving hand had intervened to bring her comfort.
When you’re faced with a challenging situation, instead of getting tense and tied up in knots, try to step back from the problem. Allow your energy to flow calmly upward to the spiritual eye. Let your awareness rest there, and trust that you are surrounded and protected by God’s light. In Autobiography of a Yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya says, “Attune yourself to the active inner Guidance; the Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life.”
Perhaps you’ve had a difficult encounter with another person. Instead of reacting emotionally and exchanging angry words, inwardly withdraw for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Become aware of the energy in your heart center, and let it flow upward toward the spiritual eye. Feel that you are relating from that point in you to that point in the other person. Once this process begins, you’ll discover the way to restore harmony.
When circumstances of any kind produce stress or anxiety, don’t be pulled into the downward spiral of worry and fear. Remember what the divine messenger told the woman in the hospital: “Know that this is all part of God’s plan.” Relax upward, and offer everything to God. Trust that whatever happens is part of that plan.
Consciously create moments of tranquility and upward relaxation throughout the day. Try to build a fortress of peace around you during the quiet times in your life. Then when the enemy attacks with its soldiers of fear and worry, you can overcome them. Over time you’ll find that the bulwarks of your inner calmness and strength can withstand any assault.
Finally, and most importantly, learn to relax upward in meditation. When you sit to meditate, consciously relax: first release the tensions in the body; then the preoccupations of the mind; then the emotional involvements of the heart; and finally, any remaining blocks to which the ego clings. Release these entrapped pools of energy into a flowing current that moves upward in the spine to the spiritual eye. “Don’t,” as Swamiji wrote, “try to force your concentration to that point. Think of it, rather, as your natural center of being.” Once you approach meditation, not with tension, but with an upward flow of self-offering, it will feel natural to rest in God’s peace within.
So, remember to relax upward. Perhaps in your own hour of need, or at any unexpected moment, you’ll find a blessed gift from the Divine Hand.
Your friend in God,
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