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?”
I had to think for a moment, then answered in a way I hadn’t thought of before: “Three things primarily: attunement to the guru, cooperation, and creative problem solving.”
When we were creating Ananda, Swami Kriyananda often told us, “Be solution-oriented, not problem-oriented.” When he counseled someone, he would listen to them explain the situation only long enough to get a clear grasp of the problem. Then he would quickly move to talking about possible solutions. He didn’t want people to dwell on the endless details of a problem, which would just pull their minds down. He wanted them to rise toward the light. Being solution-oriented gets a positive flow of energy going, without which you won’t get anywhere.
So, how do we find solutions? The best way is to let the Divine solve the problem for you. If you can get yourself out of the way, and use your intuition, a solution will come quickly. This key element in Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings he articulated in one of his early, 1925, lectures, “Using Cosmic Consciousness in Daily Life.”
But if we could always do this right off the bat we probably wouldn’t require any advice. Often we need something more, a way to move forward step by step. Here is a three-pronged approach for finding solutions.
1. Clarify Your Feelings. Start by trying to clarify your feelings, because the mind will follow the feelings. If you can clearly perceive how you feel about the issue, you are ninety percent of the way to the answer. This can be tricky, because feelings are different from emotions. Emotions follow our likes and dislikes, while our feeling nature is tuned to a deeper current. To clarify your feelings, get calm, and then attempt to feel what is trying to happen, not what you want to happen.
2. Visualize the Outcome. Think clearly about the outcome you would like to see, not just for the situation you’re addressing but, more importantly, for your consciousness. If, for example, you are considering a new job, suspend for a moment consideration of the practical details, and think instead about who you would like to be and what you would like to be doing in five years. Then ask whether the job is a step in that direction. The outcome, once clear, will usually lead you to the answer you’re looking for.
3. The steps. Once you have the feeling and the outcome clarified, the steps to get there will become quickly apparent. This is where logic is valuable. When you know your destination, it is not too hard to generate a roadmap for how to get there.
The most important thing of all is to open your heart and mind to the Divine Will. If you do this you can never go too far wrong, at least on a soul level.
In the light,