There is a tradition among certain Native American tribes that where a poisonous plant is found, the antidote often grows nearby. It’s as if the sickness and the cure are sister plants, expressing opposite sides of the same coin.

We can apply this principle in the search for truth, be it scientific or spiritual: the solution we are seeking is often inherent in the problem itself.

Our own immune system is a wonderful example of this, having the built-in power to combat untold numbers of diseases. The cure, however, doesn’t become activated until the pathogen—the harmful bacterium or virus—is present in our body. Again, like two sides of a coin, the cure is linked with the disease.

In our practice of meditation we can draw from this same principle. Paramhansa Yogananda describes meditation as concentration on God, or on one of His eight aspects: peace, love, joy, calmness, light, sound, power, and wisdom. However, if we’re in the grip of some negative emotion— anger, despair, or loneliness, for example—it seems nearly impossible even to begin to think about these divine qualities. But there is a solution.

Some years ago I had a very powerful experience along these lines. It was at a time when I was going through a period of feeling exhausted, discouraged, and, in general, overwhelmed by life. Finally reaching a low point, one evening I went out alone on a little porch, and began to weep, inwardly praying, “Divine Mother, this is all too much for me. I can’t handle this.”

The Solution Lies Within the Problem. Center Everywhere Circumference Nowhere Paramhansa Yogananda Autobiography of a Yogi

I am lonely no more.

Shortly afterwards I heard an inner voice saying, “Who do you think is doing all this? It isn’t you, it’s Me.” The deeper understanding that God is the doer, behind my problems and within my solutions, banished my sense of facing this moment of despair alone. My discouragement and tears fled in that moment, and were replaced by a vibrant sense of well-being and command over all the tasks before me. I realized that when I had offered the problem up to God, the solution quickly presented itself.

In a beautiful poem, “I Am Lonely No More,” Yoganandaji describes the divine presence awaiting within each of us:

I am not lonesome in the chamber of loneliness,
For Thou art always there.

I am lonely amidst an uproarious crowd

Where Thy silence slips away. . . .

Away from Myself I was lonely—

But since my little self met the big Self,
I am lonely no more.

Many of the difficulties that beset us are simply what expresses in the absence of some corresponding divine quality. Here is a checklist to work with. If in meditation you activate these divine qualities by offering your problems up to God, you will find that . . .

1) Loneliness is replaced by universal love.

2) Darkness is replaced by light and hope.

3) Despair is replaced by joy.

4) Restlessness is replaced by a sense of peace.

5) The barrage of external noises is replaced by the one sound of AUM.

6) Mental confusion is replaced by wisdom and understanding.

7) Weakness and limitation are replaced by power.

8) Inner turmoil is replaced by calmness.

These are the antidotes—the eight aspects of God. Like a divine immune system, they are waiting for us to activate them by releasing the distress in our own heart. Only then will we find within the answers we have been seeking.

With joy and blessings,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. A beautiful newsletter. I too was lonely when I felt separated from God/Source. Thank you. ?

  2. Thank you for this very concise list of of the ‘aspects’ to mediate upon during the course of the day. It is exactly the mental prescription we need to transform darkness into light. You’ve taken a very overwhelming, abstract and complex aspect of the human mind ( emotions and relationships ?) and replaced it with a delicious, easy to make recipe for mental health and well-being. If I were an artist, I would love to make eight beautiful paintings depicting these transformative ideas on changing thought patterns.

  3. Beautiful answer to all our challenges…Thank you…

  4. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for this lovely blog :)


  5. Thank you Devi!
    This was particularly helpful for me. I think I’ll use the article as a screensaver!! Love Julie

  6. Thank you so much. When we can see both sides here together, it’s easier to grasp the antidote. These are perfect prescriptions – calm yourself and take two does of joy at least 3 times a day!

  7. Thank you ever so much, Devi! I love Native American wisdom anyway, and this analogy and blending with our teachings is a brilliant “connecting of dots!” Very, very helpful and a wonderful tool to add to my already abundant tool chest. Blessings to you.

  8. Hi Devi.

    Namaste ….. Thank you for that beautiful message! So purposeful and I had not seen or heard of that poem before. Could you tell me where I can find that one? Many, Many Blessings you & Jyotish. Hope you are enjoying the heat wave!

    1. Hello, Robert.
      The poem is in Master’s “Songs of the Soul.” Glad that you enjoyed it.

      With joy.

  9. Thank you Devi and Joytish for these pod casts. T couldn’t sleep all nite because of Phd sadness and I downloaded these and listened all night so I could finally sleep some ❤️?

  10. Dear Nayaswami Devi, Thank you for this most wholesome wonderful article where everything is so in perspective and resonates so much. I absolutely love the way you express the depth of it all and beloved Master’s song, the eighth aspects of God and the last paragraph is SO true. Bless you so much for bringing out all that we feel but cannot always put it so fittingly. Namaste

  11. Dear Devi,

    In the 8 qualities of God, did Swami always refer to one of them as wisdom or do you know if he ever used the word truth for that quality? I tend to think of truth as an essence or principle and wisdom as an application of truth…which is often enlightened self interest such as don’t drink and ruin your liver! But I can also see wisdom and truth as meaning essentially the same thing. This reminds me, in the Oratorio Swami didn’t write Father of Wisdom as would be more common. Instead he wrote Mother of Wisdom…in that case I think of it as intuition and feeling often being greater than trying to mentally figure something out. (I’m open to comments from others also.)

  12. Beautiful. This will be so helpful personally and when presenting Master’s teachings on the aspects of God. Much love and blessings to you, Devi Ma!

  13. thanks for the information it contains very valuable teaching for my personal improve ment

  14. Thank you for a very useful text. What would be the antidote to deep anger? Please with all respect don’t just say anger is a negative emotion. Can anger in any way be a helpful emotion to discover something one needs to understand but cannot identify? What does the anger want?

    1. Dear Ann,

      Thanks for asking. The antidote for anger is really all of the qualities of God: love, wisdom, peace, calmness, joy, etc. Anger can serve a purpose, IF we can control it and don’t get caught in it. But usually once we’ve unleashed anger, it takes on a momentum of its own and leads us to say and do things that we retreat later on. A regular practice of meditation helps us to control our reactive process, so that we can speak strongly if necessary, but remain inwardly free. I hope this is helpful to you.

    2. There was a typo in my post to you…it should have read “that we regret later on.”

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