We recently attended a program by an Indian doctor on the power of the mind. Some years ago he was dying of cancer, was given only a few days to live. Then he had an experience of God telling him he would be healed through the power of his mind. In his case, God had to come three times to reassure him, since his thoughts kept slipping back into doubt and hopelessness. He was completely cured and has dedicated himself to helping others do the same.
It was one of the most remarkable evenings of my life. I sat mesmerized, along with nearly two thousand five hundred others in the auditorium, listening to ragas played by some of India’s finest musicians. Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia have spent a lifetime mastering Indian classical music and have been awarded the highest honors of a grateful nation.
We are on the move again. We will have slept in four different hotels in the last week. Moreover, the maximum weight for flying in India is 15 kilograms (33 pounds). That’s the limit of our portable possessions these days.
Generally, insights are proceeded by a certain train of thought. But once in a while they just plop into the mind like a raindrop falling from a clear sky. Yesterday, while meditating with the Ananda Assisi community, a perception popped into my mind without any preamble: “We need to move from ‘Nowhere’ to ‘Now Here.’” Plop!
Let me set the scene: an amphitheater packed with several hundred people while, in the background, the bare wood of an emerging temple rises miraculously. People from many nations immersing themselves in the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda. Add stirring music, drama, friendship, joy, and light. Here, for a brief transformative week, the astral plane has touched the earth. It is Spiritual Renewal Week at Ananda Village.
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.
In 1979 Ananda began a period of expansion, and Devi and I helped start a large ashram in San Francisco. An early challenge was to find ways to support ourselves, especially in a way that allowed us to serve together. One solution we found was a business with a vegetarian restaurant on the first floor and a small bookstore on the second. Vairagi was the manager, and after closing up each night she had to take a bus across town through some of the poorest parts of the city. She hated it. The late-night ride was frightening and upsetting for a single woman, especially when there were intoxicated passengers. She came to Swami Kriyananda and shared her plight.
Intuitive insights come to each of us. They are, after all, the soul’s way of perceiving. Sometimes they come as a clear knowing; at other times, as a hunch; and often as just a whisper of feeling. True intuition is God’s way of guiding us, but most of us ignore our intuitions most of the time. This last weekend we saw a remarkable validation of what happens when, in spite of all obstacles, you act on your intuition.
When I was young, one of the most important members of our family was Nipper. He was a medium-sized dog with amazingly intelligent eyes, a golden coat, and a combination of the best traits of numerous breeds. He was a faithful playmate, protector, and coconspirator during my daily adventures. Many people remember a beloved four-legged friend who shared their youth, although none (I am sad to have to break this to you) can have been quite so glorious as Nipper.