Sing Out With Joy! A Christmas Concert

Featuring the award-winning music of Swami Kriyananda

An orchestrated spiritual experience for you.

This is not just a concert—this is an experience designed for you to feel the tangible presence of joy, peace, and love. The unique Ananda Choir specializes in conveying high states of consciousness through music. Every singer is an experienced meditator, trained to convey their genuine meditative experiences through the highest musical expression. The concert will take place at the Ananda Temple, powerfully infused with nearly 30 years of meditation.

Start your holiday with good cheer and beautiful music. And be sure to stay for the special Christmas Cookie Satsang immediately following the concert.

Paramhansa Yogananda Shares a Christmas Message

A Christmas Message from Paramhansa Yogananda, December 1950

My Christmas wish for you this year is twofold: that the consciousness of Christ be manifest in you through deep meditation, and that your exemplary actions will persuade others to abandon their evil or worldly ways and become spiritual.

Both meditation and action are necessary or the spiritual path, for they contribute toward individual and mass evolution.

It is not God’s will to develop spiritually in a selfish way, i.e., without extending help to others who are suffering. So remember always to render service to mass evolution, while seeking the Father through regular practices of deep meditation.

The more one develops spiritually, the deeper becomes his or her love and compassion for humanity. Accompanying love and compassion is the desire to uplift humanity from the throes of ignorance and war and the consequent suffering they bring. However, you must remember to make God first in your heart always.

The Father will not be content with second place!

He must reign first and foremost in the most tender center of your being—your heart. Through His blessings and grace alone are you able to develop and help humanity emerge from its ignorance.

Meditate regularly and practice Kriya Yoga faithfully with all the concentration of your mind and the intensity of your heart. On Christmas Eve meditate for many hours in the presence of other devotees. Dedicate this extended meditation to the achievement of the love of God and the attainment of World Peace and Brotherhood among all nations.

Share your gifts (material, mental and spiritual) with the less fortunate on Christmas. This will make your holiday a real one. The gifts need not be expensive but practical ones: durable clothing (new or used) for those who need it, canned and dried foods for people who find them difficult to obtain in their countries, a friendly visit to the physically afflicted, a word of comfort to the depressed, and spiritual manna to those who are seeking the love of God. You can help distant as well as local people in these ways.

Be ambitious for God.

Keep seeking Him through meditation and keep working for Him. This will give you the spiritual emancipation you are seeking. Christ and the great ones showed through exemplary living that it can be done. So follow their footsteps quietly and humbly. God bless you always. May your every day become a Christmas of ever-new joy, love, peace, and wisdom in God and the Gurus.

With deepest blessings, Paramahansa Yogananda

And from the Ananda Portland Temple and Teaching Center, its staff and ministry: We wish you a blessed Christmas. May the blessings you receive during this sacred time of year, reach far and deep. And continue throughout the upcoming year. May the Light of the Christ-consciousness shine upon you and yours. In Joy and peace.

Is It Really Time to Prepare for the Holidays?

Amazingly enough, it is that time of year. Again. It seems that every year we hear about it a month earlier. I think this year it was around October 20th or so!

Too early. Happening upon it during one’s weekly household shopping excursions. Those that dared to display the holiday wares, and autumn had only just begun.

And one cannot deny, the end of the year is now insight. (Is it just me? Oh wow!)

The Christmas Holiday Season!

There seems a certain amount of dread that builds up, about this time of year. And every year, an additional item, or more, to add to the list “To Do”!

So okay…here are three words for you (and me!). Simplify. Relax (and feel). En-joy

The Christmas season is a blessed and wonderful time of year. Even adults are encouraged to experience child-like joy again. There are so many beautiful things—lights, nativities, music. People smiling and giving.

An abundance of opportunities to find and be in that state of joy.

Of course the world offers up so many ways to pull us out of our centers. Doesn’t it seems even stronger this time of year?

Simplify…Relax…En-joy

Take some time to find peace this season. Remember our practices created to help us maintain our true centers.

Too much shopping? Simplify. Or make/bake something if you can. Take a moment before you leave your mode-of-transportation, and pray for peace. Taking a moment to find your center and hold on to it, prior to whatever you need to do that day.

Smile and enjoy. Maybe every time you see a santa, send out a blessing to someone you know, or don’t know, of peace and harmony.

Simplify…Relax…En-joy

The Christmas season has deep meaning and even deeper blessings. It’s a time of magic and wonder, when the veils that keep us from God, are at their thinnest, and easily pierced.

Take the time to strengthen your inner gifts. And share those blessings with all whom you meet.

The Incredible Me!

Nothing blows me away more than the realization of who I am.

I don’t mean “me” as a set of self-definitions; I mean that now and forever, this being who occupies the corpus that I presently carry around, is someone that only I can be. There is no option here. I cannot trade my consciousness, my karma or my future with anyone else. For better or worse, I am who I am for the whole of whatever awaits me. When I think about that, especially when my deficiencies are on display, it’s rather disconcerting.

Are you ever struck by that awareness too? You are you, a consciousness for all of eternity, and there’s nothing you can do about that except carry on.

I suppose there is some consolation in seeing that we are like everyone else. But in likeness is where the resemblance ends. No one else can know what it is to be me, nor am I always sure of this myself.

Eastern sages tell us that all of this world is a dream. Yet, the dreamy point of view that you and I possess… well, it just isn’t the same. We interpret according to our own specific desires and predispositions, many of which have doubtless been hauled forward from past incarnations. Each of us may be inching toward a consciousness of unity, but our progress continues to suffer the millennial delays of our delusions. Here, again, though we tend to self-obstruct in similar ways, I have my own unique manners and methods, and so do you.

Within this universal dream, human nature is, for me, its most fascinating feature. I love how people get so wrapped up in their personal notions of what is what, and what each what implies! Rarely do we pause to consider, as Yogananda affirmed, that “Circumstances are always neutral.” It is only our reaction to them that gives them a particular charge. And this, of course, is what causes us to careen out of control, into labyrinths of unpaved, hard-scrabble karma.

Few lessons are as hard to grasp as this one

…that how we see the world and its goings-on says nothing about them and everything about us. Society has thrown its full weight behind the idea that circumstances are either pro or con, and it has trained us to judge whatever we perceive, to develop likes and dislikes, and to seek satisfaction in pursuit of material and egoic fulfillment. But in truth it is these reactive conclusions that condemn us to every suffering we accept.

As long as we adhere to society’s pro-or-con criteria, we are bound to wind up worshipping

our mistakes. Only at the quiet center of perception, in the stillness that is the altar of God, does suffering disappear. There alone, in the moment, is where worldly desires and attachments are given no time to establish roots, and where freedom awaits.

Okay, so you’re not there yet, and neither am I. This is the downside of coming to grips with being the one and only you that is you. By degrees, though, we are all in route to the same blissful summit. Our mission is simply to keep climbing, calmly active and actively calm, with the aim of owning our delusions and desires along the way.

Although we cannot inhabit each other’s mind, at least not precisely, and although we are ultimately in this dream alone, the lessons we have to learn are entirely the same. After all,

we are cut of the same cloth. Our destiny is One. In the end, which Yogananda described as endlessness, our ties to this contentious adventure will dissolve, and we will discover that we are more than we ever imagined. With courage and good cheer, let us carry on.