Life is a journey of ups and downs. The immutable laws of maya (delusion) dictate that we will navigate through alternating cycles: day and night, birth and death, good and bad. Should we be surprised, then, if our spiritual life also has its peaks and troughs?

There are times when we feel energized, dedicated, and in tune. Then we can be beacons of light for those around us. Yet there are the other times when we’re faced with the challenge of running out of steam. During these times, when our willpower dwindles, feelings of guilt or discouragement can creep in. It is then, especially, that we need a boost from an outside source. Devi and I have an electric vehicle, and when the battery level gets low, no amount of berating it for being lazy seems to help. We have to plug it in to a charging station.

We’ve just finished Spiritual Renewal Week at Ananda Village. Swami Kriyananda started this annual tradition at the very beginning of Ananda in 1969 as a way for people to get a big yearly boost of spiritual energy. For many years he single-handedly did everything: sadhanas, classes, kirtans, and music. Gradually, growing numbers of people—teachers, singers, sadhana leaders, and cooks—began to contribute, drawing devotees who come from all corners of the globe.

I remember an amusing incident from an early Spiritual Renewal Week many years ago. Swamiji was traveling in India, so he asked me to give the classes. I chose the theme of Patanjali’syamas and niyamas,” the “don’ts and do’s” for spiritual aspirants. During one of the talks, on the yama of non-stealing, I must have said something that struck a nerve. In the days that followed, quite a few people returned silverware that they had taken from our group dining room. It’s never happened before or since.

There are many ways that we can uplift our spirits when we feel down. The most important is attuning to God and Guru. Try to feel that He is your closest friend, waiting to help you. During the concluding night of Spiritual Renewal Week, Murali Venkatrao, a remarkable storyteller, told a supremely inspiring and entertaining story about Krishna and his best friend. Here is the link to access this delightful story. It will help reset your relationship with the Divine.

When you’re tired, it is time to relax, not to push. Once, no doubt feeling a little discouraged, Swami Kriyananda asked Master, “Am I not trying hard enough?” Master replied, “You are trying too hard. It’s creating tension.” So when your spiritual battery is low, find something to do that is simple, relaxing, and enjoyable. Sing, chant, play uplifting music, or watch an inspiring talk.

When our spiritual battery is running on reserve, we can always use a little boost from our friends.

We should remember that “there is a time for every season under heaven.” Down periods will inevitably pass. As Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Life will bring you many ups and downs. If you let your feelings rise and fall with the waves of consciousness, you will never attain that inner calmness which is the foundation of spiritual progress. Be careful, therefore, not to react emotionally. Rise above likes and dislikes.

“A good rule to live by, and one that will take you sailing through many tests in life, is, under all circumstances, to remain even-minded and cheerful.”

When our spiritual battery is running on reserve, we can always use a little boost from our friends. And, remember, whether you are on the crest of a wave or deep in a trough, you can always look up at the stars.

In divine friendship,

Nayaswami Jyotish

P.S. If you want a boost, watch the videos of this year’s Spiritual Renewal Week.

Listen to Jyotish as he 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 (8:39):


  1. Thank you for the the sensible write-up. It is down to earth spiritually and otherwise.

  2. Dear Nayaaswami,
    What a wonderful article this is. It is truly spiritually uplifting. I did not realise how strong I have become spritually until I was put to a test when my husband passed away recently. I have found that whenever my battery is running on reserve, I get some inspirational message from you to uplift me and make me strong.
    Your efforts are not going invain. May Almighty bless you to carry on doing what you do.
    With Love, light and regards,

    1. Dearest Charu,
      I, too, lost my husband, now 18 months ago, and it has been so very hard. This article today, I felt, was written for me, but I see how others are also feeling their spiritual battery running low. I was chiding myself for skipping meditation, being too exhausted or full of grief to concentrate. I always managed to pray, however, and one night I felt a very comforting energy around me and I heard the words, “Laura, no one is grading you. Relax.” That helped take away the guilt I was feeling for not meditating as I used to. Reading Master’s great spiritual books also helps, even if it is only one or two pages a night. I have seen my dear husband several times since he died, and oh my, he looks SO young and happy, and is out of pain! That has helped my grieving heart immensely. May Divine Mother wrap her arms around you for me and give you a big hug!

  3. I just read Josette’s comment who said it beautifully;

    “This year I watched SRW online and it in no way diminished the power and impact of the week. All the speakers had relevant and inspiring messages, as we were invited to Uplift Ourselves to Uplift the World!”

    I may add that I particularly liked very much the concert on Tuesday and all the music, IE. It touched my heart deeply the singing on Friday morning.. Yo might burn our forests then please burn my desires… But I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention the others singers, a including the participants on Wednesday, great job. What to say about the German philosopher and his two partners, then Maria’s husband – the long gray hair beautiful guy whose name I can’t recall – so funny, what to say about the Indian young Nayaswami surgeon and the umbrella which he was given .. not least the Dame on esrly Friday talking about Spiritualise your Life, so queue. Of course I should have began with yours and Devi’ s presentation on Monday and the diamond phases but also your recognition N. Jyotish that golf is s serious issue!

    Thanks, embrace , love to you both.

  4. Thank you for these inspiring words Jyotish 🙏

  5. What a pertinent and timely reminder. Thank you, Jyotish. SRW was the highlight of my year – my battery is now fully charged. Thanks to God and my Guru, I know what to do when the charge weakens. Thank you and Devi for your wise counsel and leadership every day of the year.

  6. Thank you Jyotish,
    Inspiring and timely…appreciate the reminder that God and Guru are always there waiting to help us, like Krishna w his friend in the delightful story shared during SRW. Also appreciate the reminder to rest and recharge gently when spiritually our batteries are low. Great analogy w your electric vehicle! With blessings and gratitude, Jayashree

  7. mm

    Timely! Especially (?) for mental workers “of a certain age” who can only go full-bore for perhaps three or four hours and are tempted to feel guilty and like spiritual failures for not working as Swamiji did.

    When Swami spoke to a group of relatively new members here in Palo Alto, he told them, “Don’t try to live the way I do. It wouldn’t be appropriate for you even to try.” One of the pleasures of being a jivanmukta – you don’t give a damn about anything except serving Master, and the body is just a tiny instrument for a vast “person” who operates behind the scenes.


  9. May we all look up into the stars, indeed, especially the inner star of divine wisdom ⭐️

    Thank you for the touch of inspiration, Jyotish 🙏

  10. Thanks Jyotish. This is what I needed right now. And also the videos of Spiritual Renewal Week.

  11. Great article, Jyotish, and a very nice ending. So uplifting also to read the comments from around the world! It is a blessing to be part of such a great spiritual family!

  12. Enjoyed reading the article , however could not access the stroy narrated by Sir Murali could someone help

  13. What a wonderfully inspiring joyful week it was this year with SRW. thank you to all the speakers, the talks – each one a gem, and to everyone who made it possible for us online to dive deep and live the moments with you all there at Ananda Village. Thank you for this beautiful blog Jyotish Ji and thank you for being ‘the stars to look up to’ – you both our dearest ones. and the many awesome acharyas we have at Ananda. Jai Guru Jai Swamiji.

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