It was an Open House at a Unitarian Church in San Francisco where people could sign up for a variety of new classes. That evening I was sitting at a small table ready to register people for a four-week “How to Meditate” course that Jyotish and I would be teaching.

Two well-dressed middle-aged women approached my table and enthusiastically asked, “What are you teaching?”

“We’ll be offering a course in the basic practices of meditation. Would you like to sign up?”

A little disappointed, one replied, “Oh, meditation. We already did that.” They flitted away to the next table to see what new fare they could find.

We live in an age of extreme restlessness, where the possibilities for new activities and experiences are never-ending, but the ability to go deep in any one of them is largely ignored. People move from job to job, city to city, relationship to relationship hoping to find happiness in the “new.”

Too late they realize that outward change does not bring what they seek, but merely repeats a variation of what they thought was left behind. The French have an apt proverb that describes this: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” meaning “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Without transformation of consciousness, external change alone won’t make much difference in our life, nor bring us lasting happiness. “Change” may amount to no more than rearranging the pieces on the same old game board; “transformation” means changing how we perceive the game itself.

This process of transformation, however, requires inner discipline to focus the mind on whatever we’re doing, and perseverance until we begin to change from the inside.

We might call this process the “Art of Becoming.”

To practice it, we need to have commitment, patience, and steadfastness. As well, we need to view our life as a connected whole in which every step leads to the next, not as separate episodes with no underlying purpose or direction.

The world today is rife with restlessness. People are deceived if they think that a quick change in government will make a real difference. But there is hope, because world consciousness itself is in the process of transformation. It, too, is struggling to become more enlightened, and we can help in this process.

The Art of Becoming by Nayaswami Devi - Be the Change Meditate Pledge of Ananda - Paramhansa Yogananda

Pledge your daily meditations for world peace at MeditationPledge.com.

This year Ananda has started a campaign called, “Be The Change,” paraphrasing a statement by Mahatma Gandhi: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” We’re inviting people everywhere to join us in pledging a certain amount of time daily to meditating for world peace. You can find out more about it by going to meditationpledge.com.

Our potential to transform ourselves and positively to affect the world around us is much greater than we realize. When we abandon our fascination with constant outer change and focus instead on inner transformation, we begin to perceive our true Self.

This awareness of who we really are can’t be found in time’s fleeting moments, but rests always in the changeless, Eternal Now. In the heart of stillness lies the key to lasting meaning and joy.

Towards the one Self in all,

Nayaswami Devi

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  1. Dear Nayaswami Devi, Thank you again and again for yet another wonderful blog. I always read all your articles repeatedly and always seem to read something more each time and which also emphasises even more the depth of our own internal understanding (or sometimes lack of ) Self Realisation in ‘what/when real change is in ourselves ‘ when we are faced with ever more challenges, be they new or repetitive. Your way of expressing and directing everything in perspective with such wisdom is so awesomely inspiring, encouraging. I just love the quotes you give from all beloved Masters. I never tired watching the film of Mahatma Gandhi’s life every time it was shown, my heart burst with love for him for all that he was and did, no matter what he faced. What an incredible legacy he too left us.. Thank you for sharing and guiding us together with ‘Above’. I also thank you so much for the lovely picture of beloved Master Parahamsa Yogananda, I feel him so close when I look at it. God Bless you always

  2. This is an eloquently succinct description of the chasm that exists between mere “change”, which is by its very nature an external
    seeking, and Transformation, which requires a “Dark Night of The Soul”, a genuine surrendering or Kenosis (self-emptying).

    Our planet and our nation have been experiencing such a “Dark Night” for some time now, climaxed by the November Election. but it is truly Darkest Before The Dawn.

    But in the midst of this Dark Night, Species Consciousness is unquestionably awakening, quietly, but inexorably.

    Thank you Ananda Sangha, for being such a clear Beacon of the Awakening that will silently and gently lead our planet and our species to the Dawn.

    I will certainly go to meditationpledge.com and join many Mighty Companions in the endeavor.

  3. Devi, Again you’re hitting me right at home, right in my heart. I am praying that I will use this change(however temporary or not it may be)to transform my inner self to be more aligned with my higher Self. Thank you for being a beautiful channel for His wisdom and love!

  4. Very well said,thank you..as well can be added that deep prayer is much needed also. A very good addition to meditation pledge would be a deep prayer after or before the meditation..or a deep prayer pledge for world peace and positive transformation..divine help for all.Thanks again.

  5. That article felt as if it could have been written by Swami himself. So beautiful and powerful – and very timely, thank you, Devi.

  6. Wonderful, how yours words touched me deep inside,
    The spiritual meaning of your writing is superlative …
    Thank you very much
    Blessings to you
    Aastha

  7. Thank you For all you do. It is so beautiful, and so good. Thank you For the healing sent to my mother Natalita that I requested. She Is now much better and regained conciousnes. Thank you with all my Heart.

  8. Dear Nayaswami Dev Ji,

    Thank you for this beautiful blog 🙂
    This is a wonderful Initiative – pledge to meditate. 🙂

    Aum,

    Prem

  9. Pranam Ji

    Thanks for sharing, the Inputs of Thought and Experience of You Great Souls, uplifting the Rest of us to come in Line with the Authenticity of the Truth which is Ever New Joy Aum.

    With Gratitude
    R Sundararajan

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