You Have No Idea How Beautiful You Are

Recently I received an email laced with unfair criticism, and my first reaction was to get defensive. I could feel my mind speeding up, getting ready to argue. Then I had a flash of insight and remembrance: You can’t fight darkness with more darkness. I decided instead to neutralize negativity with gratitude. I thought about this person and recalled several things about him for which I was grateful. Within minutes my happiness level began to climb. I realized then that gratitude brings happiness.

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God Goes On Vacation

Hanalei Bay Kauii Hawaii painting by Jyotish Novak www.jyotishnovakart.com

Aloha! We’re currently relaxing on Kauai, one of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, on a two-week vacation that was gifted to us by many friends from Ananda. One hears “Aloha” everywhere here, because it’s a word with multiple meanings: “hello,” “good-bye,” “love,” “compassion,” and “welcome.”

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Dry Spells

It is a little ironic for me to be writing about this subject just now. Here at Ananda Village, in Northern California, we’re in the midst of yet another major storm, experiencing the greatest rainfall in over twenty years. The rivers are roaring, the reservoirs are full, the mountain snowpack is huge, and more is on the way. Maybe, just maybe, getting soaked whenever I step outside is what got me thinking about dry spells. But let’s move on from the weather and talk about those spiritual dry spells and how to deal with them.

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The Love of the Guru

Love of the Guru Paramhansa Yogananda

The love and friendship of the guru are something that is hard for us to understand, much less accept. We, who are limited in time and space, naturally relate to the guru in the same way. How often I’ve thought and heard others say, “If only I had been with Master.*” This thought, sweet though it is, actually ends up distancing us from him.

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Searching for Gold

Samadhi poem by Paramhansa Yogananda, samadhi poem image

Historians tell us that medieval alchemists were continually in search of the elusive “philosophers’ stone,” that mythical substance which could turn base metals into gold. As far as we know, they never succeeded in their quest, but there is a different kind of philosophers’ stone which we have already discovered.

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How to Be a Divine Sculptor

How to Be a Divine Sculptor - Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda

In a few days it will be a new year, 2017, and it’s time to think about changes you might like to make. An artist once was asked how he could sculpt such a perfect image of an elephant. He replied, “It’s easy. I just chip away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.” We need to chip away everything that doesn't look like the saint we want to become.

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The Second Coming of Christ

Second Coming of Christ - A Touch of Light by Nayaswami Devi. Teachings of Yogananda

In this Christmas season, it’s important to reflect on the deeper message of Christ’s life and birth. Paramhansa Yogananda told his disciples that it was Jesus himself who appeared to Babaji in the Himalayas, and asked him to send these teachings to the West in order to reveal the deeper meaning of Christianity. Through people’s practice of meditation, they could experience Jesus as a living reality—a being with whom they can commune, rather than merely read about in the Bible.

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