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.”

Finally one morning I woke up so downcast that even the spark of light was gone, and I thought, “We’re breaking new ground here—I can’t remember ever feeling this down before!”

Then I actually began to feel afraid, as though I was slipping down a dangerous slope without any ability to stop. At that point—I don’t really know how it happened: maybe God’s grace, Guru’s blessings, or good karma—a fierce determination arose within me to fight back. I knew if I didn’t take strong action right away to resist this downward pull that it would begin to gain the upper hand.

Ways to fight depression spiritual teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, when to fight back by Devi

Post this affirmation for joy in your home.

With determination (motivated more than a little by fear) I fought back with every weapon I had, using the teachings and techniques of Paramhansa Yogananda. I found an old Christmas card with the word JOY printed on it in embossed gold letters. Carefully I cut it out and taped it to a window in our room where I would see it throughout the day: a reminder of what I was fighting for. (Even now, many years later, I can still see those golden letters clearly in my mind’s eye.)

On a physical level, I did the Energization Exercises with more dynamic awareness and went for regular vigorous walks. I found more ways to serve others and stay busy so that my energy wouldn’t drop.

On a mental/emotional level, I acted as happy as I could around others (even if I wasn’t feeling it inside); I didn’t talk about negative subjects, but tried consciously to fill my mind with things that made me happy. I determined not to lower my guard even for a moment against the downward-pulling energy. And I returned to my room often to look at the golden letters of JOY.

On a spiritual level, I dug deeper in meditation, and was able to feel better during those times. I kept my mind constantly engaged inwardly singing Yogananda’s chants, or mentally repeating the mantra, “Om Guru.”

Then I found something Yoganandaji had written: “Life is a struggle for joy all along the way. May I fight to win the battle on the very spot where I now am.” His words resonated deep in my heart and invigorated my efforts to fight back. Finally the pickaxe of my determination dug into the slippery slope of unhappiness, and I was able to stop my fall.

How to overcome depression, spiritual tips for healing depression, Yogananda quote about depressionThen began the upward ascent. Each day I felt a bit lighter and freer from dark moods. Finally the day dawned when I burst onto new ground once again, but this time a different landscape awaited me. A sense of joy unlike anything I had experienced before began to fill me. It stayed with me for many months; then it slowly diminished, though not completely. The memory of that experience has remained, ever a reminder to me of what to strive for.

There are many lessons from this experience, on which I have drawn over the years:

  1. Recognize when it’s time to fight back, and swing into action.
  2. Exert unwavering determination—it wins out in the end.
  3. Trust that divine guides are always with us to protect and guide us through our trials.
  4. The resolution of every test brings greater joy.

When tests come to you, friend, remember to summon up courage and determination to win the battle on the very spot on which you stand.

In loving friendship,

Nayaswami Devi

P.S. The U.S. edition of our book, Touch of Joy: A Yogi’s Guide to Lasting Happiness, comes out February 20. If you preorder now, our publisher, Crystal Clarity, will send you six gifts: e-books by Yogananda, Swami, and Jyotish.

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29 Comments

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  1. Thank you kindly Devi and Joyish, This is a lovely post. It’s easy to be up when you are up. Life is a battleground and it can only be won in the affirmative, it’s up to us if it’s sooner rather than later. It’s the common affliction of man. Even Master and Swami went through incredible trials, and as Master said, (paraphrasing) standing up to these trails is what made me a saint. We are not our ego, we are our soul self. Unfortunately the ego is so loud it can easily claim dominance. Joy is a choice, a choice well worth achieving. Master and Swami have given us all the tools we need. We only need to put them into effect all day every day, with confidence, courage, termination and joy.
    Always devoted.

  2. Dear Jyotish & Devi,
    Thank you so much for your letter of encouragement. Yes with Gods and Gurus” help I overcome have many many things in my 86 years on
    this planet and the recent problem I can overcome with God and Gurus help plus my wonderful friends. I admit for a short time I was
    scared and confused and not able to make some decisions. I never lose faith no matter what happens. I know some of the things I worry and care about are inconsequential to some. As a child life was very scary and I turned to animals for love and still do. Two and half years
    ago a little black cat showed at my back door. One eye was poked in and worms were coming out of every orfice. He was sick and hungry and
    feral. I went to Pets Mart to see if I could get something to kill the worms that I could put in his food as he would not let me touch him.
    There were two ladies there that were just given funds by the City to trap and return feral cats. They came and we trapped him the SPCA
    neutered, dewormed him and killed the fleas, gave him all necessary shots. Today he comes in every night I put worm meds and flea meds in his food. He sleeps on my bed but leaves every morning and hides? He comes back every night. He counts on me to take care of him. If I move to another location he might find me but would be afraid to come. Is this selfish on my part maybe but during my drinking days I left a wonderful dog behind and he ended up in the pound and was euthanized. So other arrangement have been made for the couple who are moving here, It may not be ideal but is workable for all of us.

    1. Dear Yvonne,
      Thank you for your sweet letter. Serving another being in need is acting as a channel for God’s boundless love for all. May you be blessed always.

  3. Thank you Devi and Jyotish for the blog. It’s a joy to read it and share it 🙏 All our wishes and love with you 🌻

  4. I am going through some difficulties in my job. I was feeling very down. until I read your teaching. I am going to have a greater joy thanking you

  5. Dear Divine Friend, in deepest gratitude I give thanks for our Community, Master’s Ray and Divine Mother’s Grace and for your loving Divine Friendship, in always sharing your heart and upliftment. The timeliness of this Touch of Light and the upliftment that I am feeling in my heart, upon reading and feeling this healing message, is profound. I had a deep seclusion this past weekend and felt as close or closer to God and Guru as I believe I ever have. As you mentioned, the Joy and upliftment seemed to fade a bit, after getting back to the ‘routine of daily life’, and I felt disappointed. I realize from your sharing that my disappointment is very much my responsibility and the heartfelt advice expressed in this ‘Touch’ is a much needed and appreciated gift. In Divine Friendship and Joy, Namaste

  6. Thank you for this reminder, Devi. This happened to me recently as winter sometimes gets the better of me. But I stood steadfast asking Divine Mother to wake me up. I dedicated myself more fully to my morning sadhana, took time during the day to ask for strength and courage and before I knew it, I was free once more. I just kept reminding myself that whatever you give your attention to will get stronger. Choose joy!

  7. This post spoke to me so deeply. I have ordered the book, but am very disappointed that I have no information on the six e-books that were to be sent. Please let me know how I would receive these.
    Thank you

    1. Dear Susan,

      Please forward your order confirmation to TouchofJoyBook@gmail.com. You will automatically receive your eBooks. Please wait for at least 5 minutes for the books to be delivered electronically. If you have any problem receiving the ebooks, please contact me at laura@crystalclarity.com, I will make sure you will receive the 6 ebooks. Thank you very much. Laura (Vani) for Crystal Clarity Publishers.

  8. A worthwhile,important lesson & message.Oh,Lord,I didnt ask to be born,You must release me..so trapped in the terrible net of maya,your child needs & calls out for your touch..for divine intervention.

  9. Thank you, Nayaswami, for sharing some of your personal struggles and lessons!… Love it when others reveal their real stories!
    E

  10. Inspiring Personal Journey, Nayaswami! … Love it, when others share their challenges and lessons!!!
    Ed

  11. Devi, Thank you for sharing in such a deep, vulnerable and real way. And most important thank you for reminding me!
    In His Love, Sushanti

  12. Thank you so much for your honesty! I went through a time like that a number of years ago and had to take pretty much the same path to get out of it. It comes down to using the will to guide the emotions and not the other way around. Master’s guidance is so practical and it works! I woke up every day and made a point to smile at myself in the mirror! I still do it most days! Thanks again!

  13. I love this story. Thank you for sharing it. I keep thinking here is a story “in defense of Joy.” choose it. Many people think joy is corny. I think it is power. Again, thank you for a short sweet diagram for victory that everyone can get.

  14. Your 4 steps to JOY is really helpful. It hit home with me. The first step: RECOGNIZING it’s time to fight back……the best for me. I wait
    too long and then sink deeper into black moods. And then it takes LONGER to get back to joy. THANKS AGAIN for your wonderful
    insights!

  15. Where does the Will reside in the body? or is it in the area of the mind, outside the body? The Will to act, and do all the things you say you do and did to move forward, is the Will I am asking about?

  16. I’ve been receiving these newsletters for years and unfortunately often ignoring them due to the busyness of life but this morning I felt I needed to read this one. I am not in a place of despair or sadness but rather I had the keenest sense of Joy I have encountered in a long time. My feeling for people around me suddenly became clear, they are all part of me, part of my joy, part of the light. Judgment free I realized that for all of their successes and suffering they are essentially part of it all. Every person I have disdained including politicians I have been taught to hate, criminals who have cause so much torment and alike are also part of this joy. I know that it’s a moment of clarity and I will sink back into the maya of every day living but perhaps more and more I will come back up for this joyful air. Thanks

  17. Dear Nayaswami Devi, I must correct my error in my phrase although I am sure you understand what I meant. “If it had not been for my Swamiji’s most loving guidances, I would not have been able to lift myself up”

  18. Dear Nayaswami Devi, Most grateful thanks for this wonderful article which seems as though Master Yogananda meant me to read as it resonates more than ever as with both Master Yogananda’s phrase and yours also – I have ONLY JUST seen this article, you have been very brave and may God Bless you and Jyotish. For myself, I give the credit to my beloved (is elsewhere) Swamiji’s loving guidances, I would feel and get much lower). I wish you and Jyotish all the best with respect, Namaste

  19. Pranam Ji

    I am undergoing, most of it, and it is timely Help and Blessings throug this
    sharing,from you Acharyas.

    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

  20. Thanks Brother. Such a lovely reminder. I`ve been through a tough week so reading your story that resonates with truth really hit me in the heart. God Bless you and yours.

  21. Dear Nayaswami Devi,

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. Very Inspiring and a guide for us.

    In Master’s Joy
    Prem

  22. Deviji,
    Om Guru!

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. Lived reading every word of it. We are human beings, and yes there are days, when it feels like we are simply slipping away, but we need to pull ourselves away. How? Its usually very difficult to find a way.

    After reading your post, I know how. 🙂

    I will try my best to live upto my Guru’s teachings.

    Thank you

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