Dear Great Souls,
It was a joy to be part of the Spiritual Renewal Week at Ananda Village last week, and in the spirit of renewed inspiration, I thought I would share a few things. I know for myself, I always struggle with returning home after being in the blissful environment up in the community and the events that were held there this past week. But looking forward, I decided there were some things I could do to not feel that way, and I thought I would share, because we could all use a little renewed motivation. Motivation, I’ve learned, is something that must come from within, and I find that setting goals really helps with this.
There are days when I hear all these inspirational things, and I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I’m just not sure how to apply them to my daily life. There are 5 points that I want to touch on that this past week were really clearly enforced and stuck out to me. The first is meditation. This practice is one of the most joyful and freeing things, and I’m sure we’ve all heard how important it is to self-realization and God-realization. The most important thing that I took away from the classes at SRW is that you must have a practice. Just start where you can, with 5 minutes a day, and try to meditate 5 minutes more every day. Sadhana is offered every morning in the community chapel! This is also one of the more difficult things because of our busy schedules, believe me I know. Another thing that makes meditation so difficult is self-doubt.
Self-doubt as yogis makes us feel like we’re not doing well, or good enough. I get that feeling a lot, and just this week have I realized a couple different things. As Devi said in her talk, this is only the force that we must overcome to reach God. Say to yourself whenever you doubt yourself, “Satan, get thee behind me.” Speak to the force of Maya, and see it as separate from yourself. You are always doing well.
The next couple things we can re-inforce are chanting and yoga. Yoga classes are offered about four times a week, and can really get the energy of the body aligned and flowing. I personally love chanting and find it makes my meditations deeper and more concentrated. Kirtans are amazing if you get the chance to go, please do. If not, listen to chants online as you’re doing housework, or in the car. If you have free time, sing Swami’s music or listen to it. If you don’t have any free time, make some.
The most important things I wanted to say are about service and satsang. Service is the way to self-realization, Yogananda told us, and what better place to practice this than community? The reason we all live in a community together are for these two reasons, and Yogananda said that environment is stronger than willpower. If you can find any way to serve, it is greatly appreciated, and I’m sure all of us have felt the joy that we get from helping others. There are so many ways this can be done, from around the community working or helping and cooking in Master’s Kitchen, to volunteering at the church, to being part of the choir, and so many more.
Satsang is the exchange of energy between people. Events are constantly being offered around the community and church, and there are meals together three times a week. I wanted this to be my last point, because for me, it is my strong point. I love people, and I love talking to people, and it brings me great joy. This is the way I feel I can be most helpful in Master’s work at this point in my life. But all of us have made a choice to be part of a greater movement, and it truly does help to be around like-minded individuals. Come to events, you can talk and laugh and have a great time. When you talk to people, see them as being of great light and to their highest potential. See their beauty and send them your love, and it will come back to you, just by the pure laws of Karma. It really is rewarding to be around other spiritual souls.
The last thing I want to say is pray and don’t give up, no matter how difficult or stressful things become. Remember that everything is God’s plan, and that we are here to learn many lessons. Stay open and pray to Yogananda or God or whatever form you feel most connected to, and pray to change. Pray for guidance in whatever you need to do or become. This can be the first thing you do, but also your last resort. I’ve been trying to do this more and I think it helps me to be open to who I need to be in figuring out myself. In working, sleeping, eating, drinking, meditating, make your silent war cry be ‘God, God, God.’
If we try our very best and love, we’ll get there. Trust in everything that happens to you. Of course, none of us are perfect, and I’m not there. I was just inspired to write this and see if it was helpful to anyone, and as a reminder to myself most of all, because I have a lot to learn. In divine friendship, and in perfect light,