Its true origin is unclear. Some say it was from ancient Egypt, others from Greek mythology. But whatever its source, the phoenix—the immortal bird which rises anew from its own ashes—is a powerful symbol for us today.

Both literally and figuratively, the world does seem to be crumbling into ashes: literally, as the cities of Ukraine are being destroyed by warfare; and figuratively, with the continuing pain and loss caused by the pandemic. People everywhere, sensing a grim future, are gripped with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

wisdom of yogananda teachings for how to overcome obstaclesYet, as with the rising phoenix, there is also the possibility that this is a time of rebirth and hope for a better world. The teachings of India say that all of creation is a constant cycle of death and rebirth. Whether it be the soul’s cycle of reincarnation, or the yuga cycles of rising and falling civilizations, behind it all is a movement of renewal and growth towards higher consciousness.

Each of us can help the phoenix rise from the ashes and emerge into a future filled with peace, prosperity, and well-being for all. Paramhansa Yogananda gave us four Tools of Wisdom to help build this future.

Wisdom Tool #1: “The season of failure is the best time for planting the seeds of success.” Though prospects may seem bleak at present, look beneath what’s happening on the surface. The barren soil is being cleared of the dying plants of old ways of thinking so that seeds of new consciousness can take root. What are these seeds? The understanding that life is constantly reborn; that success springs from failure; and that God’s plan for all of us is rooted in love and meant to bring our highest happiness.

Wisdom Tool #2: Every test we face is a test of our will power, and if we choose to use it, we always have the strength to be victorious. Once we understand that every challenge comes for the sole purpose of awakening our soul power, the path to victory becomes relatively straightforward and simple. Yoganandaji offered this beautiful prayer: “I will welcome all tests because I know that within me is the intelligence to understand and the power to overcome.” Don’t focus on the details of each test, but see the flow of energy that will surmount it. The ability to succeed is inherent within us, if we use our God-given intelligence and will power.

Wisdom Tool #3: “There are no obstacles, there are only opportunities.” Someone once said, “When God closes one door, He opens another, but it’s hell in the hallway.” Doors are closing behind us as old ways of living are dying, and we may feel uncertain as we stand in the hallway of the present without a clear way forward. But if we can trust that facing the obstacles confronting us is the next step in our unfoldment, then new doors of opportunities begin to open for our inner growth.

Wisdom Tool #4: “Change yourself, and you have done your part in changing the world.” Are we helpless beings in the grips of mindless aggression and devastating disease? Not at all! Using Master’s wisdom tools and spiritual techniques, we can do our part to change ourself. As each of us faces the world with determination, courage, and hope, we can help the phoenix take birth anew, rising with strength and glory from the ashes of the old. One person, or a small group of like-minded people, seeking higher consciousness can do more good for the world than millions lost in the grip of delusion.

Swami Kriyananda wrote an inspiring song, “A New Tomorrow,” which ends with these words:

Even so, all of us together
   Can create a better land!
Leave the past: A new tomorrow
   Waits for all who understand.

Joined with you in rising Spirit,

Nayaswami Devi

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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 (8:19):

15 Comments

  1. Thank You Devi Maa..uplifting message.. but I can’t help thinking that Russia taken 1000s of children makes me concerned. They would use them as hostages.. social media says.
    We only can fervently pray for these kids and everyone to be blessed with some way and protect these children and treat them with love and care while they are with strangers in a foreign country. God only knows what kind of thoughts going through these small childrens minds.
    Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavanthu!

    Much love 💕🦢✨💕🪔🌹🙏

    Grace

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful ispiration!We re warriors of light..

    From Italy, with love
    Sujesh

  3. Thank Devi from Phoenix (AZ).
    Great inspiration. Life is ever uncertain unless anchored in divine love harmony and beauty. May we all drop anchor. Namaste

  4. You can see from my chosen name that I have put a lot of thought into the ideas you expressed so beautifully here. Thank you for reminding us of the power of planting seeds, exercising willpower and meeting tests during this season of challenges. Such inspiration is sorely needed and greatly appreciated now.

  5. Divine Gratitude for the example you remind us that we ARE, in Truth. We are Blessed to have this Path and the Divine Friendship of a True/SAT Guru and each other. Namaste

  6. Thank you, Devi, for this powerful and great tools!
    I will rise from the ashes!🙏💙💙💙
    Gioianna

  7. Thank you…may God grant to all of us healing,more understanding and
    much more devotion,strength and patience.

  8. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring blog. Very useful points to practice. Much needed for this time we live in.
    Beautiful connection from Master’s guidelines to Swamiji’s lyrics at the end.

    Joy,
    Prem

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