Just a Play of Light and Shadows

“The Master would occasionally take some of us to the movies to get away from all the demands on his time,” a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda once told us. “Then, in the middle of the most exciting parts, he would tap us on the shoulder, point upward to the beam of light coming from the projection booth, and say, ‘It’s all just a play of light and shadows.’”

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The Spark of a Spiritual Revolution

Today is January 5, 2016—the anniversary of Paramhansa Yogananda’s birth. There are numbers that convey some of the historical significance of his life: 123 years since he was born; 100 years since he created the Energization Exercises for recharging the body with energy; 70 years since his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, was published; and, in 2020, 100 years since he boarded the ship that brought him to America and began his mission to the West.

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Finding Autobiography of a Yogi

It was in the fall of 1966 that I found Autobiography of a Yogi, although in truth I think it found me. It was a time of great transition in my life. I had graduated from college and moved to San Francisco a few months earlier, and was just starting out as an independent adult. I was looking for a direction, having felt that my major in college, psychology, was simply not capable of answering the questions I had long been asking. I was interested in awareness, in the scope of human consciousness, and in happiness. More schooling was not going to give me what I was seeking. And yet, where was I to turn? I had long abandoned religion, at least the formalized “Churchianity” I was given in my youth.

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The 1% Solution

Jyotish Novak Artwork: Prints, Canvas, Cards, and Magnets available www.JyotishandDevi.org/jyotish-paintings

This morning Devi and I spoke with someone who was feeling overwhelmed and a little guilty because he couldn’t keep up with all the “should do’s” on the spiritual path. I doubt if there is a devotee alive who hasn’t had these same thoughts. On the one hand, there are hundreds of techniques, habits, and attitudes that could be helpful. On the other hand, we have to face the reality of living in this world with multiple responsibilities and limited time.

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