Some thirty years ago, my good friend Nayaswami Roma and I decided to run a twenty-six-mile marathon. Neither of us was a particularly great athlete, but we wanted to raise money for the Ananda School, so we took on the challenge and began training for it.

For several months before the event, we ran two miles three times a week, and then early every Saturday morning we’d go for a long run of increasing distance: three miles, then five, seven, ten, twelve, up to twenty miles two weeks before the scheduled run. The following Sundays were often spent dealing with blisters, sore muscles, and exhaustion, but we kept at it.

Finally the day of the “Joyathon” event came. Would we be able to go the distance? To our amazement, we completed the twenty-six miles (don’t ask how many hours it took us), and were able to raise several thousand dollars for the school.

Recently Roma was visiting Ananda Village from Bangalore, India, where she and her husband Nayaswami Haridas lead the Ananda center. Reminiscing about our marathon, we marveled at the determination and will power it took.

We both realized that the physical and mental strength we developed through that effort still remains with us on some level, and can be tapped into whenever we need it. Once you cross a mental barrier of your own untapped potential, you always have access to that portal you opened, giving you strength and confidence in everything you do.

Inner Strength Remains. Photo by Swami Kriyananda of Mountains

Photo by Swami Kriyananda

The same is true of our spiritual efforts. Every attempt we make to go deep in meditation when we’re not feeling especially inspired, or to serve others when we’re tired ourselves, or to summon up the right attitude when we’re discouraged, builds a strength that stays with us and can be summoned at will.

Swami Kriyananda wrote a beautiful song called “The Hill That Was Tara,” in which he describes seeing the five-hundred-foot hill where once lived the high kings of Ireland. The concluding verse is:

And I knew in that moment, the deeds that men do

Never die: Each vict’ry is true!

Ev’ry effort we spend

Gives more strength in the end,
Till our gladness in life’s ever new!

Dear friend, remember that every step forward you take on the spiritual path lays a permanent steppingstone to soul freedom. Strength builds strength, will power builds will power, and every little victory leads to final victory.

With joy,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for such an inspiring blog. Beautiful lines by Swamiji :)


  2. Wonderful; so much to learn in this short life.

  3. Dear Nayaswami Devi Ji,

    Thank you for the Motivating Lines. Deeds either good or bad never die without producing its effects and leaving its impressions. In Bhagbat Gita( Chapter 6) Lord had said that a person with good deeds even after his death got the opportunity of taking birth with right environment to pursue his journey towards salvation.
    With small steps upward with consistent practice, once we reach a certain height in the spiritual path , it is difficult to fall to the bottom.

  4. Wonderful and inspiring. So great to remind us of what we are here to do!
    I think I will read this everyday for a month.

  5. Dear Nayaswami Devi, Thank you for the inspiration. I love being reminded that all our efforts matter even when we backslide, and Swamiji’s verse of “The Hill that was Tara” perfectly reflects your message. Blessings to you…

  6. Bingo! Thank you, Devi. It was just what I needed today!

  7. Thank you for the reminder. This brings up a memory for me of working three sometimes four jobs a day to earn money for the India Pilgrimage in the 90’s. I was getting pretty exhausted and beginning to think that I might not make it when Divine Mother intervened and presented me with a long term sub-teacher position. That job put me over. I made it to India and have the burn mark to remember it by! What a trip!
    Thanks again.

  8. Every victory give strength – does that apply to moving? After a year with Dambara and Manisha they have decided to sell their house and build on the land.

    Miriam ( Director of Ananda Laurelwood) asked if I would move onto the campus and give 16 hours per week service and pay rent. I still have an office in Beaverton with a lease till Oct.

    The room needs patching, mudding, new countertop and carpet before I move in. Jai Guru! A Life of intense activity and meditation! Paraphrasing Yogananda: So you want to be a Master, What do you think made me a Master? It was by doing!

    Thank you Devi!

  9. As I’m sure everyone thinks, it’s as if you wrote it for me. Thank you so much for the reminder, Devi! It’s quite apropos for where I’m at right now.

  10. Very beautiful and inspiring.
    Thank you dear Devi,

    A big hug of light,

  11. Dear Deviji,
    Beautifully put and a wonderful reminder that with us all, lies the strength we need! For we are all a part of God who is infinite Energy!
    Master so aptly put it, “The greater the Will – the greater the flow of Energy.”
    May we all grow in willingness to tap into that Divine Source of Energy within us to achieve Victory!
    Jai Guru – Jai Ananda!

  12. Dear Nayaswami Devi, What can I possibly say re this blog, each time I am finding it harder to put into words, but to put it mildly, it is a miracle inspirational answered prayer/s that applies to several things (if that makes sense) and more than you and dear Jyotish can possibly know, and how truly you both have been/are blessed in the role of these blogs. As said above, this really could have been and was written for me. To re-iterate the joyful fact that you and Jyotish are truly meant/blessed in the role of these blogs, and SO MANY THANKS, Joy to all. (Sorry for delay in commenting on this article but have had…… also many problems with plusnet etc. don’t know if this gets through as it keeps going off

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