What should I do? This is the question we hear most frequently. It might take the form of “What should I do about a short temper?” or “What should I do about my mind wandering during meditation?” Simply asking “What should I do?” means that you’re ready to move beyond passivity and engage your willpower. Congratulate yourself whenever you ask this question, because you are halfway to the solution.

Here is some general advice:

1. Start with externals: It is easier to control physical things than thoughts, so start there. Feel sluggish? Then stand up straight and breathe deeply for one minute, or do one or two energization exercises. Feeling sad? Put on some uplifting music, read something inspirational, or find a way to help someone else. Do you have trouble meditating regularly? Go to a satsang or take a class in person or online. Is your mind restless during your meditations? Start by keeping your body absolutely still. You get the point: For every problem there will be an external practice that will get you started in the right direction.

2. Think positively: It is a little harder to control your thoughts, but it is doable. Positive thinking creates a flow of prana and has a domino effect that includes beneficial results for the brain and hormones. The key is to derail negative thought patterns before they have a chance to gather momentum. Many people find that a simple affirmation will neutralize the problem, especially if they repeat it as soon as the first thought arises. It also helps to bring your mind to the spiritual eye with a surge of upward energy. Perhaps the single most helpful practice is to develop the habit of being grateful. Thank God for everything, including when a challenge arises.

What I should do next, teachings of paramhansa yogananda, touch of light

Paramhansa Yogananda giving a devotee a blessing.

3. Enlist the help of God and Gurus. Paramhansa Yogananda said that our part is only 25% of what is needed. The guru does another 25% of the work on our behalf and God does the other 50%. That means that calling on them for help is four times as effective as trying to do it on your own. Try to connect deeply with God in meditation, and then keep that contact alive throughout the day.

In my last blog I asked people to describe the practices they find most spiritually helpful, and we received nearly eighty replies. Nothing can be a substitute for reading the responses themselves and seeing the richness of practical and inspiring advice, but here are five themes mentioned most often:

1) I practice gratitude.

2) I pray to God in meditation and ask His advice during the day.

3) I repeat an affirmation or mantra.

4) I attune to Master through visualizing him or gazing at his photo with deep attention.

5) I feel that God is acting through me in every activity.

I suggest that you read the responses and make a list of those things you find most personally helpful. Then, when you are wondering, “What should I do?” you will have a place to start.

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

View the responses in the comments section of the blog, “The Most Important Thing I Do” here.

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (4:29):


  1. Thank you for messaging and enlightening me with your wonderful post and advise. I want to devote my life in lotus feet of God for moksha.
    But it is not easy because I feel lazy because I feel that I am alone in this world who can help me and guide me. I am not married , so I feel free from attachment and responsibility of own family and devote my time for ultimate happiness.
    But I am still not free 100% because of parents care and their dept in my life.
    Prashansh Kumar

  2. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
    Thank you for the wonderful blog and guidance.
    Pranams to you & Devi ji on this sacred day of Gurupurnima.
    In Master’s Joy

  3. Dearest Nayaswami Jyotish & Devi Ji,
    Pranams to you on this sacred day of Guru Purnima.
    Thank you so much and immense gratitude for bringing Masters love and teachings into our lives.
    We are truly blessed.
    Aum Guru
    In Divine Friendship
    Satyavir Arya

  4. whoa — comment disappeared before I added my name/information. Please disregard the previous comment
    re: thought changing:
    Basically : The bats are gonna’ fly through your belfry; just don’t let them roost there !!
    Heard this c. 35 yrs ago from a minister — and indeed — it’s been quite a process !

  5. In dry periods: gather flowers and decorate the pictures on your personal altar.
    And practicing the presence… visualizing or “feeling” the guru’s presence, “holding-hands” with him…

  6. Beautiful! Your blogs are so inspiring. Just what I needed to see today.

  7. The wisdom and the light of the girl who is truly moving through you. . Thank you for sharing the word.
    Love and light,

  8. Thank you, Jyotish. I am especially moved at the reminder of Yogananda’s equation of effort on the spiritual path. It’s such a comfort, and a source of gratitude, to remember that we have such powerful allies in our corner! :)

  9. Many thanks for your blog. I am already practicing the gratitude

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