Over the years I’ve learned a lot about life by observing parents shopping with their children. Once in a supermarket I watched a little girl who was noisily demanding of her mother some goodie she wanted. After trying repeatedly to placate her child with noncommittal answers, the mother finally blurted out in exasperation, “The answer is maybe, and that’s final!” This kind of answer has proved very useful to me over time.
I witnessed another drama at a different grocery store: this time at Master’s Market at Ananda Village. Shortly before the dinner hour, a mother had brought her young son along as she shopped for some items for the evening meal. The boy, a quiet, thoughtful child, saw an array of chocolate bars and cookies on the counter and asked his mother if he could have one.
“Not before dinner, dear. It will spoil your appetite.”
Her simple reply brought a profound change in him, and his eyes began to look distant and sad. It was as though he was remembering many such occasions, perhaps from other lifetimes, in which his expectations for happiness from material things were thwarted. Looking earnestly at his mother, he said, “Mommy, I don’t want to be in this world anymore.”
Quickly doing a complete turnaround, his mother replied, “Here, why don’t you have two candy bars?” But the “aha” moment had already happened. The cords of his attachment to this world had begun to fray.
Those “aha” moments are the portals through which deeper insights come to us and change our lives. Watch for them, for example, when you’re trying to make a decision about which course of action to follow. Usually we approach such decisions rationally, weighing the pros and cons. Once in a while, we have an “aha” moment in which we can see the ultimate outcome of each choice. Then we know confidently which road to follow.
Watch for such moments also in understanding others. There is a tendency in human nature to categorize people and put them in boxes—whether it’s a person we’ve known for a long time, or someone we’ve just met. Sometimes, however, we’ll have an “aha” moment when we see a certain look in their eyes, or hear something they’ve said almost to themselves, and we can see who that person really is. Hold on to this deeper understanding and your friendships will continue to grow and blossom over time.
In meditation, it’s especially important to watch for these moments of awakening. From time to time, we may find ourselves plodding along in our spiritual efforts, but not having the breakthroughs that take us to a deeper level. Then, one day, as Yoganandaji put it, “From behind the clouds of drudgery of routine meditative habits, there burst upon my consciousness the aurora of bliss.”
When these moments come, and they will, don’t let the experience fly away like dry leaves in autumn. Emblazon it on your mind. Try to return to that state of consciousness in meditation as often as you can. The intensity of the “aha” moment may fade over time, but if you inwardly cling to it, you will never lose it entirely.
Finally, watch for those magical moments in seeking God’s presence in your daily life. A friend of mine was sitting in a secluded garden at Crystal Hermitage on a quiet, windless day, and was silently sending her love to God. Suddenly, without a hint of breeze, the wind chimes hanging in a nearby tree began playing one of Yoganandaji’s chants, “I am the bubble, make me the sea.” At first she thought she had just imagined it, but when after a few minutes it happened again, she knew that God was listening and responding.
If we continue to look for God’s presence around us, we may be surprised to realize—AHA—that He was always there. Master has written a beautiful prayer-demand: “O Father, may I behold Thee: above, beneath, behind, around—wherever I turn my gaze! Train the children of my senses never to stray from Thee, who dwellest at the heart of everything. Turn my eyes inward, to Thy changeless beauty. Attune my ears to silence, that I may hear Thy subtlest music. Breathe on me the heavenly scent of Thy sacred presence.”
When the veils of delusion part, we will realize that these “aha” moments are not random occurrences. They are God’s way of lovingly answering His children’s demands and guiding us forward through life.
With joy and blessings,
You might enjoy the new book trailer for our upcoming release of Touch of Peace: Living the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, the fourth book in our Touch of Light series.
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