Whenever we get a chance to visit Hawaii, we’re awed by the power of life force, or prana, that permeates everything here. It’s amazing to see the variety of plants that grow to a height of maybe four or five inches on the mainland, but that here in Hawaii reach six to ten feet with flowers and leaves radiant with life and color.
I experienced an amazing day when I was young, and it still echoes through the corridors of my memory. I was around six years old, living in a small town in northern Iowa. Our home sat across the street from a large park in a hilly part of town, and my youth was spent playing and exploring among its trees, ponds, and grass. Those images, imprinted on my young mind, still form the “magic cloth” of the tapestry in some of my dreams.
Yale University recently offered a course that’s proved to be the most popular one ever given there. The topic was “Happiness.” One-quarter of the student body—1200 undergraduates—enrolled, requiring the largest auditorium on campus for the classes.
A friend recently sent us an article by the head of Mercedes Benz, talking about some of the disruptive changes that are coming due to the combination of AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics. For instance, we are on the cusp of self-driving vehicles, which is exciting news for most people, but an existential threat to automakers and truck drivers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. One of the fastest-developing, and potentially most disruptive, changes is a type of artificial intelligence, called neural networks, that mimics the way the brain learns.
There was a time in my life when it seemed as if circumstances were all conspiring to make me miserable. I would wake up every morning feeling pretty down, but in my mind there was still a spark of light that led me to think, “You’ve felt worse before. You can carry on today.”
I am currently writing a book with the working title Ananda Seva, about the power of selfless service and how it can help dissolve the ego. Paramhansa Yogananda taught a path to liberation that combines both meditation and service. There is a wealth of resources to train and support aspirants in meditation: teachers, books, courses, meditation centers, websites, and apps. But even though most people spend much more time in outward activity than they do in meditation, very little is available that focuses on service as a spiritual practice. Even a little training in right attitudes and practices can turn our activity into a true spiritual path.
My silence, like an expanding sphere, spreads everywhere.
Cooperation, being able to work as part of a team, is an essential skill in life. While this is true in business, sports, or any other undertaking, it is also important spiritually, where aligning our individual will with God’s will is a vital step on the spiral stairway that leads to Self-realization.