Paramhansa Yogananda once said, “I used to think Satan was only a human invention, but now I know, and add my testimony to that of all those who have gone before me, that Satan is a reality. He is a universal, conscious force whose sole aim is to keep all beings bound to the wheel of delusion.”
To understand his statement better, consider it in the light of another that he made: “All thoughts vibrate eternally in the cosmos. . . . Thoughts are universally and not individually rooted.”
What Yoganandaji is saying is that there are universal thoughts, both positive and negative, that vibrate like radio waves throughout the universe. It’s up to us to discriminate carefully and choose which of them we want to influence our lives.
Remember that both the positive and negative forces have their own magnetism that consciously draws us either upward toward divine freedom, or downward toward delusion and suffering. Satan has a bag of subtle tricks that can be all too effective in ensnaring us until we catch on to his game.
Here are some of his strategies, and counter-tactics that we can employ to be free of the power of negativity:
1) Satan convinces us that he doesn’t exist. If we don’t realize that there is a conscious force pulling us downward, we will wander unawares through dangerous minefields of “karmic bombs,” negative habits from the past. We need to be vigilant and mindful of where we have gotten caught in the past, and exert will power to resist. People who have dealt with addiction of any kind know from experience that the thought “Just one little drink [or lie, or bit of gossip] won’t hurt me” is the first step down the slippery slope to continued bondage. Recognize your enemy and fight back with will power and discrimination.
2) Satan makes us feel diminished about ourselves. Recently someone said to a friend of mine, “I’m a terrible meditator.” Try not to hold any negative thought about yourself. This only weakens your will power and motivation to improve. Admittedly, we all have things that we need to change, but don’t identify with your mistakes or flaws. See yourself as a child of God who is working towards soul-freedom. Remember always your true potential: a radiant being united with God.
3) Satan makes us think that we can hide our mistakes from God. But if we erect an internal wall to keep God’s light from shining on our errors, we will only build a prison that traps us in a small, dark cell. Don’t be afraid to give everything to God. Tear down those walls around your heart, and let God’s forgiveness, compassion, and love shine into it. This is how healing on all levels begins.
Remember, finally, that God’s goodness and unfailing protection, like radio signals, are always flowing through you. Every soul in creation must fight the inner battle to which it has been called, but the ultimate victory in this world of duality always belongs to God.