Life can sometimes be downright discouraging when things don’t go the way we want or expect. I’d like to share a simple practice with you that can change your reaction to life’s ups and downs. First, let’s begin with an incident from Swami Kriyananda’s life.
After Swamiji had been with Paramhansa Yogananda for about six months, a period came when his guru was away from the ashram for several weeks. Missing him keenly, Swamiji was eager for a chance to see the Master again.
The day after Yoganandaji’s return, word came that he needed someone to carry a five-gallon bottle of drinking water up to his kitchen. Happily appropriating the job to himself, Swamiji brought the large jug to the kitchen, from where he could hear his guru dictating a letter in his adjacent sitting room.
Hoping to attract his attention, Swamiji rattled the water bottle and made as much noise as was decently possible. The Master paid no attention. After some time Kriyanandaji plunged into a depression and thought, “He doesn’t care that I miss him. I’m just a nameless worker to him!”
Attempting to reason with himself, he thought, “He’s obviously busy. Why should he drop everything just for you?”
“Oh, yeah?” retorted his recalcitrant mind. Back and forth his thoughts flew as they vied turbulently with one another. He realized that reason wasn’t going to pull him out of his mental whirlpool. (“Indeed,” as he wrote later, “reason’s tendency is to support any feeling that happens to be uppermost in the mind.”) “If reasoning won’t do it,” he declared forcefully to himself, “let’s see if changing my level of consciousness will do the trick.”
He went into his meditation room, raised his eyes to the point between the eyebrows, and strongly held his mind there. Five minutes was all it took. By the end of that time his mood was so positive that he no longer needed to affirm anything, but saw things in an objective, expansive way.
In Kriyanandaji’s book, Awaken to Superconsciousness, he gives us a simple but powerful technique for changing our state of consciousness to deal with life’s challenges:
1) Look down, closing your eyes. Feel yourself relaxing and drifting downward as if sinking through water, through forests of waving seaweed. Affirm mentally, “Through slowly drifting waters, I sink into subconsciousness.”
2) Now, with a quick burst of will power, open your eyes and gaze straight ahead. Affirm, “With a burst of energy I rise to greet the world!”
3) Then look upward and affirm, “I awake in Thy light! I am joyful! I am free! I awake in Thy light!”
Swamiji wrote that this simple practice will give you the ability to control your state of consciousness at will. It can also help you to deepen your meditation. When you feel yourself sinking into the dreamy state of subconsciousness, or when your mind is racing with thoughts and plans, stop and do this exercise. Without much effort, you’ll find that your energy rises and your boisterous thoughts quietly fade into the background.
May your thoughts be positive and your meditations deep.