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.
One of the intriguing accounts surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ is the story of the three wise men, or magi, who traveled from the East to bring him gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Paramhansa Yogananda tells us that these three wise men were, in fact, Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Sri Yukteswar in earlier incarnations, and that later in his life Jesus traveled to India to return their visit.
It is nearing Christmas, and next week Ananda centers will host the annual eight-hour Christmas meditation. This long meditation is a spiritual anchor for many of us, and so I thought it would be helpful to give some tips on how to deepen our meditations, especially longer ones.
Usually we write our blogs with you in mind, dear friend, but this time I’m going to do something different. After nearly three months in India, we’ll be returning to America in a few days. Although it will be a welcome change to stop traveling and have some familiar things around, my heart is filled with profound appreciation for all that we’ve received here. So, if you’d like, you’re welcome to read my love letter to India.
We recently read a story about Pete Seeger, the well-known singer and social activist. Many of his songs became themes for social justice, environmental awareness, and non-violence. Here is the wonderful story:
Recently in Mumbai, India, we were asked the question: “What are some of the lessons you’ve learned on your spiritual journey, especially those involving Swami Kriyananda?” I’d like to share some of my responses with you, because they touch on issues that each of us faces as a devotee.
Making good decisions is one of life’s most important skills, and yet we have gotten virtually no training. Sometimes even life-defining choices such as marriage, job, or taking up a spiritual quest are given little energy. Here is an illuminating example.