It’s no question that we’re living in very challenging times. Many friends have told us that with all the uncertainty and stress around them now, the days and weeks seem to run together in a blur. They’re either waiting for life to return to normal; hoping that things will improve; or fearing that they will only get worse. This cycle of waiting, hoping, and fearing can keep us from accepting life as it is, and from living in the present.

I once read a short story called “The Beast in the Jungle,” by Henry James. In it, the protagonist has a sense that something of great portent is going to happen to him. Although he’s not sure if it will be something wonderful or terrible, he waits for the “beast in the jungle” to present itself.

He puts everything in his life on hold waiting for this impending event, and misses opportunities offered to him in career and marriage. Gradually life passes him by as he waits, and finally in despair he realizes that rather than living his life, he has merely waited for something to happen that never did.

So, my friend, how can we break the cycle of waiting, hoping, and fearing that many people are experiencing due to the stress of our times? Swami Kriyananda wrote in his book of daily aphorisms, Living Wisely, Living Well: “True happiness is not the fruit of years of painful struggle and anxiety. It is a long succession, rather, of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment. As my Guru said, ‘The minutes are more important than the years.’”

We need to take back the reins of our life by constant, small decisions to live well in the present moment. Fortunately Paramhansa Yogananda gave us a powerful tool in the Energization Exercises to help in this effort. Even the simple prayer before practicing them can be a guide to living each day wisely: “O Infinite Spirit, recharge my body with Thy cosmic energy, my mind with Thy concentration, my soul with Thy ever-new joy. O eternal youth of body and mind, abide in me forever and forever.”

Energy, concentration, and joy: These are all weapons to defeat the beast of waiting, hoping, and fearing that lurks in the shadows of our consciousness. Here are a few suggestions based on Yoganandaji’s teachings to help strengthen these qualities:

Energy

1. Live a healthy lifestyle: Eat well, mainly fresh fruits and vegetables; exercise regularly, preferably outdoors; and sleep well, but not too much.

2. Do something every day that challenges you and makes use of your willpower.

3. Do the Energization Exercises daily.

Concentration

1. Bring focused attention to everything you do, no matter how unimportant it may seem.

2. Spend less time talking and more time being quietly aware.

3. Do the Hong-Sau technique of concentration daily.

Joy

1. Have a positive mental outlook: “Say ‘Yes!’ to life.”

2. Help others to find happiness in their lives.

3. Learn Kriya Yoga and practice it daily. This strengthens your soul’s connection with God—the true source of inner joy.

how to use teachings of yogananda to be fearless and take back your life poster

Click to download as a PDF poster.

Paramhansa Yogananda tells us that in a past life, he was the great warrior Arjuna in the epic battle recounted in the Mahabharata. He demonstrated then and now how to overcome the enemies that threaten to destroy our inner peace and happiness. So when you feel beaten down by your tests, follow the example of this mighty spiritual soldier, and remember his words: “Life is a struggle for joy all along the way. May I fight to win the battle on the very spot where I now am.”

Joining you in our fight for victory,

Nayaswami Devi

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29 Comments

  1. Very inspiring article at the time of pendamic situation. It’s act as a catellic reaction in order to balance ourselves not only physically but emotionally also.

  2. A Beautiful enlightening blog. Thanks for your inspirational and motivational guidance.

  3. Very occurately assesed my present time, I am actually going thru waiting uncertain phase. Your words are most valuable. I have started reading “God Talks with Arjuna” and practicing dhyaan.
    Thank you…

  4. Namaste,Thanku soo veryyy muchhh for everything u all are doing for us.

  5. Namaskar to our Spiritual Acharyas. The writeup is an eye opener to all of us. The value of enhancing our energy, joy and concentration was very well explained. Thank you and Namaskar to the holy feet of Nayaswamis Jyotishji and Deviji.

  6. A Great article and a wonderful reminder to all of us. I have been studying SRF lessons for nine months now. The teachings of Yogananda have come at a time when I desperately needed a spiritual practice. Who knows what the future will bring but as you pointed out we cannot put our lives on hold. The energizing exercises, the Hong sau, and Aum meditation have brought me so much peace and a point of focus. A good diet, meditation, exercise, and learning something new everyday helps us live life rather than exist. Thank God for Kriyananda’s example and to Nayaswami Devi for carrying on the message.

  7. Dear Deviji,
    Thank you, this is wonderfully inspiring.
    Thank you for reminding me of Swamiji’s words from Living Wisely, Living Well, (“True happiness is not the fruit of years of painful struggle and anxiety. It is a long succession, rather, of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment.”) Joy! Om Guru.

  8. such a simple way… and yet so effective ..jai guru

  9. Deviji – Your deeper reflections inspire deeper reflections. Namaste and Mahalo

  10. I really enjoyed the two books by Yogananda. I also enjoyed the course and would have proceeded to learn Kryia yoga, until I learned that you had to sign a document stating that you would only see God through Yogananda. I am not trading one form of fundamentalism for another and was sad to see that was the case

    1. mm

      Dear Cain,

      I believe the course you are referring to is from Self-Realization Fellowship. Ananda is a separate organization, although we follow the same guru. If you would like to learn more about Kriya Yoga through Ananda, I would be happy to connect with you at kriyayoga@ananda.org.

      Devalila for
      Ananda Kriya Sanga
      https://www.ananda.org/kriya-yoga/

  11. Thank you for the kind, loving support and reminders. With the U.S. election, and odd news around it, I became more stressed and worried last night. I haven’t been very self-caring physically, and need to do so, along with my spiritual practice. Praise God and Guru.

  12. Dearest Devi,
    Thank you for these little morsel of spiritual nourishment. I remember reading this story in college and will certainly reread it now as it somehow resonates. These time have created a growing darkness in this world, but within that, I have felt a greater commitment, a second “awakening” to God, Guru and Divine Mother. The light that you and Jyotish share with us, especially during these darkening times, is not only welcome but so necessary. Thank you for sharing it with us so generously….🙏🏼

  13. Devi,

    Just read your inspiring message first thing this morning. WHAT a wonderful start to this new day. Thank you for providing such a simple yet powerful tool to deal with our current shared life challenges!

  14. Dear Devi,
    Your writing this couldn’t be more timely! I agree with your perception that many of us are waiting for “The Beast in the Jungle”. I think many of us have this sense of waiting for these waves of the pandemic, civil upheaval, economic faltering, natural disasters, famines and the unabashed displays of ignorance to settle. I have said to myself lately that I cannot keep holding my breath, as it were, waiting for the sea to calm. I have realized I had better put “being in the present”, witnessing and living the moments mindfully, and, yes, even joyfully, into action.
    Thank you for your mindful and lovely way of reminding and encouraging all of us! And thank you for providing some greatly helpful tips so as to not go numb; to retain our equanimity.

  15. Thank you dearest Devi Ji – so wonderfully inspiring and timely. ‘little decisions simply to be happy in the moment’ and the 3 tenets – love it !!!

  16. mm

    Thank you Devi, for this deeply inspired and practical message of how we can navigate the times in which we are living.

  17. Inspiring…so nicely stated. Thanks for the wonderful blog

  18. Very nice post Devi. I really enjoyed it. Perfect for the times we are in. Hope you and Jyotish are well! Blessings & joy to you both :)

    1. Dear Renee,
      How nice to hear from you. We hope that everything is well in your world.
      Sending loving friendship,
      devi

  19. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,
    Thank you for this inspiring blog!
    Great tools for to practice and especially during these times. Enjoyed reading the blog and the lines to be happy in the moment.

    Joy,
    Prem

  20. Outstanding, simplistic way of explaining what is essential not only today but in life in general.
    Breaking this down and sharing spiritual practises/techniques for practical life is an essential blend.

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge :)

  21. AUM Deviji!
    You nailed it!!!!
    Thank you for this powerfully simple reminder that the beast is in us and it is up to us to use energy, concentration and joy to become aware, acknowledge and accept the beast…so that we can move forward and live in the present moment, not the future or past, with totality and love.
    Yes, love, even for the Beast…for to deny the beast is to feed its hunger with our energy and attention.
    Thank you great soul. Thank You.

  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Aum, Peace, Amen.
    Blessings

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