Two students had just arrived from India to attend high school at Ananda Village, and we were welcoming them and their teachers to our home over tea. We had known both of these wonderful, creative girls from our time in India. One of them asked, “What were the essential qualities that went into creating Ananda?”
I had to think for a moment, then answered in a way I hadn’t thought of before: “Three things primarily: attunement to the guru, cooperation, and creative problem solving.”
When we were creating Ananda, Swami Kriyananda often told us, “Be solution-oriented, not problem-oriented.” When he counseled someone, he would listen to them explain the situation only long enough to get a clear grasp of the problem. Then he would quickly move to talking about possible solutions. He didn’t want people to dwell on the endless details of a problem, which would just pull their minds down. He wanted them to rise toward the light. Being solution-oriented gets a positive flow of energy going, without which you won’t get anywhere.
So, how do we find solutions? The best way is to let the Divine solve the problem for you. If you can get yourself out of the way, and use your intuition, a solution will come quickly. This key element in Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings he articulated in one of his early, 1925, lectures, “Using Cosmic Consciousness in Daily Life.”
But if we could always do this right off the bat we probably wouldn’t require any advice. Often we need something more, a way to move forward step by step. Here is a three-pronged approach for finding solutions.
1. Clarify your feelings. Start by trying to clarify your feelings, because the mind will follow the feelings. If you can clearly perceive how you feel about the issue, you are ninety percent of the way to the answer. This can be tricky, because feelings are different from emotions. Emotions follow our likes and dislikes, while our feeling nature is tuned to a deeper current. To clarify your feelings, get calm, and then attempt to feel what is trying to happen, not what you want to happen.
2. Visualize the outcome. Think clearly about the outcome you would like to see, not just for the situation you’re addressing but, more importantly, for your consciousness. If, for example, you are considering a new job, suspend for a moment consideration of the practical details, and think instead about who you would like to be and what you would like to be doing in five years. Then ask whether the job is a step in that direction. The outcome, once clear, will usually lead you to the answer you’re looking for.
3. The steps. Once you have the feeling and the outcome clarified, the steps to get there will become quickly apparent. This is where logic is valuable. When you know your destination, it is not too hard to generate a roadmap for how to get there.
The most important thing of all is to open your heart and mind to the Divine Will. If you do this you can never go too far wrong, at least on a soul level.
In the light,
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Very inspiring. Thanks. Regards. Jai Guru !
What a beautiful question! I am grateful she asked it.
Very valuable advice! When working on Ananda projects, I’ve often found that self-honesty can help solve problems that I have absolutely no chance of solving with the rational mind. “Divine Mother, I haven’t a clue! This project is Yours, please help me find the right answer.”
Thank you, Jyotish. This was a needed topic for me today. I’ve been consciously trying to calm and deepen my feeling nature, and I found this very helpful. :)
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you for this wonderful blog. Very useful guidelines and much required for this time we live in…
Thank you for sharing the principles on which Ananda was created and how it functions ?
I have in the past been an innocent by-stander and read your articles with interest and agreed or disagreed without comment. The above article is very logical and I agree with the sequence of thought and implementation. However, most individuals do not not have the luxury of one problem at a time. There are normally a number if issues that plague the individuals mind . Can your advice be implemented under such conditions? My humble view Sir, is that it would be an extremely difficult task especially if the individual is young and inexperienced.
Please forgive me for my negative view as I realise you intention is only to provide an avenue for someone with a problem. I just felt that life as faced by young people should be pointed out.
My heart goes out to young people trying to get started in life nowadays. In so many ways they have it tougher than those of us in my generation did when we were their age.
The point you’ve raised, however, applies not only to them. All of us, at most any point in our lives, face a great many questions and challenges. To try to tackle all, or even many of them at the same time would be a recipe for cognitive overload, and very likely emotional breakdown! Instead, we need to choose one, or at most just a few of them to focus on. No simple rule can tell us which out of all the possibilities to choose: This is part of what we might call the art of living. Seeking counsel from those who are wise, or have more life experience than we do, can often be helpful. And we should pray to God—or to our guru, if we are fortunate enough to have one—to guide us both outwardly and from within, through our intuition, to an understanding of our next step. One consideration that’s often helpful is to choose a battle that we can win. The strength we gain from that victory can help us to take on greater challenges in future.
In my experience the approach I described works well, but only, as you implied, when applied with focus to one problem at a time.
Very useful guiding message .