I am fortunate to have had a wise and loving mother, who taught me a lot about how to live. There were times as a child, however, when I found the wisdom she shared hard to swallow.
Have you ever seen a snapshot of a child and wondered what happened to him later in life? Well, then, here is the rest of the story for one young boy. And although it may not be factual, it is true. In fact, it is the rest of the story for all of us.
This has been a very intense week for Devi and me. We’re in the middle of our annual Inner Renewal Week, and are launching the pilot course that we hope will be a whole new way of sharing Yogananda’s teachings. The daily classes, all new, have needed a lot of thought and preparation. It has been exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I’m sure you must have had similar experiences in your own life.
“As above, so below.” These words from an ancient school of wisdom can be taken on different levels, and will help us understand the subtle laws of creation. On the highest level, it means that the universe is a reflection of the overarching Spirit that created it. On a lower level, it means that the consciousness of people who have authority or power in this world has an influence (for better or for worse) on others.
For the last year we’ve been working on a very important project, The Indira Institute. The purpose of the Institute is to bring the universal teachings of Ananda’s line of masters to a much larger audience. Until now, Ananda has concentrated largely on training and supporting devotees, those who want to find God. Noble though this is, there are many people who want to improve their lives and know this involves changing their consciousness, but don’t currently define themselves as spiritual. This is the audience we want to reach.
Last week a dear friend of ours from India visited Ananda Village for the first time. What a wonderful experience it was showing her around and explaining to her the many aspects of this remarkable community.
Two students had just arrived from India to attend high school at Ananda Village, and we were welcoming them and their teachers to our home over tea. We had known both of these wonderful, creative girls from our time in India. One of them asked, “What were the essential qualities that went into creating Ananda?”
It’s not always easy to feel joy in life, especially when we’re bombarded with discouraging news and wrenching images of human suffering. Yet holding on to happiness in spite of everything is a challenge which confronts everyone. As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote: “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.”
“Good karma is that which moves you closer to God, and bad karma is that which moves you farther away from Him.” Swami Kriyananda once gave this reply to a young man’s question. His answer not only clears up much of the confusion around the subject of karma, but also gives us a guideline for living: Always strive to do that which moves you closer to God. At another time Swamiji said, “The whole spiritual path is meant to dissolve the ego.” So, good karma is that which dissolves the ego, and bad karma is that which reinforces it.