Happy Birthday Swamiji!

91ST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTHDAY

Swami Kriyananda, J. Donald Walters, was born on May 19, 1926.

Swami spent more years of his life in search of God and in the development of his attunement to God and Guru. Reading The New Path is a wonderful way to get close to Swami. Or listen to the music of Ananda, to know him more deeply.

There are three occasions featuring Swami that stick out in my mind as I write this.

The first is when Swami returned from India to visit the Ananda colonies, ending up at the Village for a portion of the summer months, when it was too hot to be in the East.

During these months, Swami would host weekly barbeques at the Crystal Hermitage. We would be sitting in groups around the patio, balancing plates with veggie-dogs and chips on our laps. Toward the end of the evening, Swami would read to us.

How he loved reading PG Wodehouse. He would laugh and laugh, sometimes bringing tears to his eyes. It was a joy-filled time. A great blessing.

The second time, was during those same summer months at the Village, there would be a concert at the amphitheater. Swami loved music. Our Ananda Choir as large as possible, ready to sing.

Towards the later years, Swami would sit directly in the center of the stage, with the choir surrounding him. As they would sing out with joy, Swami sat there with his eyes closed…in pure bliss.

The third, and last, was after his passing. I think of this often during the springtime, as the heralding for the tulip weekends begin.

My daughter, then seven, was walking down the side entrance steps into the Hermitage. She stopped, looked out over the sea of tulips. She raised her arms out and encompassing the gardens whispered, “Momma, Swami is in all the tulips.”

Happy birthday Swamiji. Master’s blessings on you.

We Let It Go. Now, We Let It Be!

Spiritual Principles

Letting go is the spiritual principle of detachment, really. Allowing yourself to release the hold on things or ideas, of the way it should be, or past situations, hurts and more. Let them go.

And then there is the next best spiritual principle of surrender. Let it go, then let it be. (aahhh…A Beatles tune to this one, I think.)

There are so many times in life, for many of us more often than not, that we need to work hard with this one. Surrender, like detachment, requires spiritual effort. It is not a passive act, but one that uses strength and courage.

Where have we heard this one before? Oh, I know!! Be calmly active and actively calm. Wise words from Paramhansa Yogananda.

Calmly Active Action

Can you be calmly active and actively calm? Can you maintain this state doing the things you want or need to do? The law of karma is one of action. But is inaction correct? Is passivity right? As with everything, surely, it depends. Action is best when it comes from a calm center. This allows us to hear our intuitive guidance.

We do seva to forget the self– and to act from the calmer Self-. It is about allowing Grace to flow, and then service will flow too. When we are calmly active, we are able to access that intuitive place within us, that aids in a more real experience.

Master. Guide my thoughts. Will. Actions.

Actively Calm Center

Actively Calm is our meditation stance. We use our willingness and power to remain open and receptive, active. We sit with strength and determination. It is not a passive posture. It is the state of open, receptive calmness and with engaged willpower.

We are, after all, demanding the presence of the Divine!

Give Me a Light to Light My Way!

Just Having to Deal with It

We seem to be getting many opportunities to deal with all kinds of situations. Like the weather. The first couple of snow storms…yay! But after too many snow-days later…ugh! Then there’s that pressing feeling that makes you wonder if it’s ever going to get back to normal.

Many of the teachers from our Living Wisdom School live in our Ananda community. We also have a handful of students too. Several times, during the snowy weather, the teachers willingly offered to have group study time in our community center. The chance for a bit of normalcy and structure in week. Great souls!

It feels like these days of weather have shifted our idea of what a normal winter is here in the NW. Reminding us, that maybe we really aren’t in control of it all! Of any of it, really.

When an entire city is stuck indoors, one realizes that these situations are beyond our sphere of influence. Way beyond, as the snow and ice has shown us. Wishing won’t take it away. And sometimes neither does a shovel.

Is There Something that I Can Do?

A dear friend recently talked about having a “sit-down-type of talk” with God. “Let’s come up with some solutions to these issues,” she was saying. (Nice! I love this image actually.) And interestingly enough, the reply she got was not to solve or create or correct, but rather…Just…Let…It…Go!

I too have had similar realizations throughout my 50 years, though mostly as an adult. Not everything has a solution. Not everything is mine to fix or change or start or finish. Sometimes it is only about letting go. (Feel free to sing it out!)

“Change no circumstance of my life: CHANGE ME.” —Sister Gyanamata

This could be one of the hardest things to do. Let go. When you are a person used to problem-solving or crisis management. Let go.

And it is not only about detachment but finding that inner place of attunement that opens those doors, or parts those veils, to a deeper truth or reality. It is all from the divine. It is only temporary.

All of This Is Temporary

We have a choice in this lifetime, how to react or respond to situations/people/crises/ideas. What if we choose peace and joy? Choosing to be centered and calm. Supportive. Loving.

Choosing to access the light of the divine that is shining through us at every moment. It’s always there. We only need to keep shifting our consciousness and opening more and more deeply to it.

Christmas Miracles

What Child Is this?

Sitting at my computer, I was looking for inspiration, Christmas music (classical and peaceful!) playing and the lighted tree standing before me. What occurred to me is that there are so many blessings during this time of Christmas, it is hard not to be inspired.

I began to think back to my pilgrimage in Israel, remembering walking in the Ancient City, Bethlehem, Nazareth. Of seeing all of these sites where Jesus was; sites that I have heard about yearly during my 49 years of life.

We visited the well in the village of Nazareth, where Mary went daily to fetch the water. The Archangel Gabriel appearing to her there at the well. He appears to her again at her home. Confirming for her that she is to be the mother of the Son of God! Wow, I am humbled by this child.

For unto us a child is born…this son is given.

To think that this young woman, a girl, was worthy of birthing this Babe. She stood strong when she knew that the village would rise against her, them knowing that she could not possibly be pregnant in any proper manner. She stood strong. She stood in perfect faith.

She heard from angels.

She believed. She traveled. She believed. She was the mother of the Son of God. She believed.

There are so many blessings in this time. I try to remember that when I hear Jingle Bells again and again. I try to remember it when I get cut off driving somewhere, or I have to purchase one more thing…it’s there. The Magic, the Grace and blessings of this time. I believe.

Peace. Joy. Light. Love. May the Light of the Christ-consciousness shine upon us.

Listening to Christmas Music and Feeling Deep Joy!

O Magnum Mysterium!

The music this time of year is some of the best. Of all time. It can be transforming! Really and truly. Oh great mystery. We sing of the mystery of the Lord born to a young woman.

Walking through the streets of Nazareth, seeing the well where Mary was approached by the Archangel Gabriel. Realizing that this young woman would ultimately shoulder this huge and wonderful responsibility. Lose her youth, her choice, to bring this child into the world. For all of us.

O little town of Bethlehem.

Seeing the grotto where the manger would have lain, with the baby Jesus and His family, to rest. The music sings of joy, light and deepening my awe.

How the shepherds came from miles, flocking to the babe. Called to Him by the light. following the star, star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright. O nata lux de lumine. O light born of light.

During Christmas time we sing of glory! We sing of angels on high and the wonder. We sing of Christ’s birth and beginning. Gloria in excelsis Deo! We sing of God. We sing to God.

What joy it is to hear in such beauty, the depth and breadth of our true natures. The love of God for His children. Of such love and light. Resmiranda. Wonderful circumstance. Gaudeamus. Let us rejoice.

Listen to the glory. Allow the notes, the melodies, the harmonies, to wash over you. Filling your heart with joy and light. Hear the deepening love. Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth.

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.

Your True Nature is to Fly Like an Eagle

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in Florida this year. Some for pleasure, but this last time not so much. My mom and stepdad have both had a major turn in their health. And both on the same day!

So I came down to visit. And ended up staying longer. Becoming nurse, medical liaison, chauffeur, cleaner, dog walker, gardener. Basically, whatever was needed, just trying to help them on this long and frustrating road to a hopeful recovery.

Every afternoon, while they napped, I would sit on a lounge on the lanai, with a Golden Lab on my lap. Taking a bit of time to relax and recollect myself before the next appointment, meal, dog-duty. Enjoying a spot of quiet.

Looking up into the sky, I noticed a large bird. I thought it was only a TV (Turkey Vulture). Then it dipped down and flew directly over head, giving me a good look. It was an eagle. A Bald Eagle at that, seeing those white telltale markings. Hearing its distinctive call.

I watched it fly around, the power of this bird. Its wings spread wide. The grace of its flight. And it stuck me, What would it be like to fly like that?

Then it occurred to me that we can fly like that! That our true nature…our soul nature…is to soar! Catching all of those perfect currents that carry us up and up.

Is this the eagle’s true nature? To fly. Ignoring any obstacle in its path, like another bird testing it or finding that next great current. The eagle just flies, higher and higher.

We too, like that eagle, are made to soar. The true soul nature is to fly high on the currents of vibration and Christ-consciousness. Not be tethered to this earthly-plane with its worldly issues or even worldly ideals. But to know true freedom. To live in ever-lasting pace and joy!

So, fly eagle. Fly.

It’s a bird, no plane…No! It’s Super Yogi

The Super YogiWhat makes a Super Hero, super? What is it about the uper Hero title that makes one stand taller, mover with more sure steps or confidence? There are definitely things and such that qualify a being to be super.

What makes a Super Hero, super? What is it about the Super Hero title that makes one stand taller, mover with more sure steps or confidence? There are definitely things and such that qualify a being to be super. And as a Super Yogi, you’ve got them all.

And as a Super Yogi, you’ve got them all.

Clothes & accessories: Like any cool superhero, a Super Yogi has the gear and clothes. What and how much, totally depends on the Super Yogi’s needs. Some are good with the minimalist approach, some require more tools for their success. There is the option to colour coordinate and then there are some that love to mix it up with colour and texture. And the preference for a supersuit in non-binding and stretchy fabric is usually a must. But the Super Yogi can gearup or down, without difficulty or issue.

Schedule of Discipline: Most Super Yogis use a carefully thought out, but often easily modified, regimen of exercises and training to maintain their top-shape and to stay in the moment with their skills and powers. A Super Yogi has many teachings at their fingertips to use for ongoing training. Many of these teachings take the Super Yogi into deeper states of stillness. The Super Yogi benefits greatly from an organized, conscious regimen of their practices.

Attitude of Calmness & Intuition: Have you ever noted the utter calmness that the Super Yogi carries into every situation? The Super Yogi adopts this attitude to allow for the flow of intuition. A special power that requires stillness and centering at all times. It is the Super Yogi’s constant desire to remain in this attitude so that any crisis of crashing worlds and such can be overcome with grace and calmness.

Solution Oriented: And Super Yogi may need a few seconds to discover and accept the right solution. And yet, all Super Yogi’s have this same amazing power. It’s through the Super Yogi’s tireless pursuit of their disciplines and practices that allow them to access their intuition quickly and more deeply, which guides them to the best solution in any circumstance! And often these amazing solutions are practical and highly creative.

Using Powers for Good: The Super Yogi is always on the side of dharma and victory through right action. The Super Yogi uses introspection and acceptance for their own growth. The Super Yogi is always looking for the next lesson-learned and the ability to move through life with courage, calmness and that super-quality of confidence. The Super Yogi is never afraid to step forward, but always with the knowing of having the support and encouragement of the Great Ones before.

What Started Off as Oy! Quickly Became Joy

The setup

I had a doctor’s appointment. I actually waited until the last possible second to leave, which if you know me you’ll know that I don’t do that. I like to be on time!

I looked for my keys. Not in my bag. Not on the hook. (Okay, not freaking out!) Ugh! I’ll have to deal with this later, grabbed the second set and out the door!

Ha! not so fast missy. Got in the car, ready to lightly jam the key into the ignition…what?! Ah, there’s the keys. (Hmmm maybe I really am loosing my memory..?..) And the car is completely dead (okay, maybe mostly dead!).

Universe: “I’m sorry, you will need to deal with this now. …Really…now!!”

You know the rest. Cancel this, call that, nice guy jumps my car. Don’t shut it down for 30-minutes or it really will be dead. Oh boy! Now I get to go for a random drive. And yeah, there’s joy in all of this too.

I see it as a very good sign that my topics are in a general realm of synchronicity as the Touch of Light blogs by Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi. And because I am not proud, I have shamelessly excerpted from their recent blog, “Touch of Light and Joy.

The article

So a typical lunchtime discussion at home goes something like this…

“What do you think is the goal of religion?”
“Umm…well…maybe it’s about…”

Isn’t the goal of any spiritual path about Self-realization?

Aren’t religions in place to support this important spiritual goal? I was raised in the Catholic Church, attended many many services. And yet, I would never claim expert understanding in this.

Two lines of thought occurred to me simultaneously (yes! spelling word inclusion). The two times of year that most people are attracted to their religious practices are at Christmas (He’s born!) and Easter (He’s risen!). Two very joy-filled times of the religious year!

Our discussion kept going. (Just some highlights.)

But there must be a reason for all of this: religion, spiritual seeking, Jesus and the other great avatars. What if it’s only about showing us our true soul’s potential.

A Guru is here to teach us, sometimes discipline those of us that are willing and ready for it. But in the end, isn’t it always about deepening our connecting with Perfect Joy? Satchidananda. Yogananda reminded us of this Truth. Eternal guidance. We are ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy (bliss).

The Plan

(Shameless excerpting—please note that I added a few text highlights—because Nayaswami Jyotish said it beautifully and he has asked us to try a special “joy-increasing” exercise.)

“Where does this ability to stay joyful no matter what life throws at us come from? It originates first from feeling your inner joy, and then developing the habit of bringing it back repeatedly during the day. Joy, you see, is our natural state-the most central of all the ways that God manifests Himself. So we don’t need to create it, but merely to increase our awareness of it by removing the obscuring veils of self-involvement.”

“First we should try to deepen our experience of joy. This is best done in meditation, when the thoughts have been stilled. I would suggest that near the end of each meditation, you spend at least five minutes feeling a sense of joy and saturating your mind with a blissful vibration.

“Secondly, we should try to feel touches of joy as often as possible throughout the day, until it becomes habitual. Don’t wait for circumstances to make you happy: Learn to feel a happiness that needs no cause. One of Paramhansa Yogananda’s most advanced disciples, Yogacharya Oliver Black, said he surrounded himself with a bubble of joy and never let anyone or anything pop his bubble.

“This year members of Ananda are joining together in an experiment to see if we can deepen our consciousness of joy, and we invite you to join us….”

Satchidananda

Read Nayaswami Jyotish’s blog to see/hear more about this plan to deepen our consciousness of joy. It seems like the perfect time of year to start this process. We are able to be in this state, eternally! Our guru said so.

Let’s try to permeate our lives with this consciousness of joy! So that even when your car won’t start and you have an appointment that you need to be at in 10 minutes…Joy! You take the proper and safe steps…Joy! You have a laugh at yourself and your situation…Joy!

And maybe share a laugh with the person(s) helping you out. Ah, practice, practice, practice…. The world needs joy. Opening and deepening our consciousness of joy! It starts with each one of us. Joy!

It’s Time to Stop the Mind Games

The mind is a tricky business.

You catch something out of the corner of your eye and, depending on your state-of-mind, you could have yourself believing all kinds of things about what you thought you saw.

A person can lose an arm or leg for any number of reasons. And yet they will still feel its presence. Whole, unharmed. A phenomenon called “phantom limb.” Powerful.

Yogananda repeatedly reminded us, sometimes in very strong words, of the need to flood our minds with Truth. So that everything we speak “must represent not only Truth, but some of your realized soul force.” Realized soul force! It is within you.

It stems from the Divine.

Belief in ourselves, in our ability, must be clear and strong. For disbelief could in fact magnetize failure. Is the negative thought being more powerful than the positive thought? The thoughts we “habitually entertain” will lead us one way or another!

We are asked–guided really–to turn to God in all things, no matter how grand or how small. Bringing the Divine into whatever we think, do or will means we are participating with God. Thus bringing us more closely in harmony with Divine Will. Divine Action. Aligning ourselves with Divine Law.

It is through this harmonious play with the Divine, that the opportunities we seek are created. Thoughts being universally rooted, not individually. Words being crystallized thoughts. And our actions being guided by the Divine.

I will reason.
I will will.
I will act.
But guide thou my reason, will and activity to the right thing I should do….

Make us Transparent, that Thy Light may shine through us.

Whispers from Eternity, Paramhansa Yogananda

The sunbeams of Thy love shine equally on all the members of Thy cosmic family, whether prophet, hero, villain, tiny moth, or me. It is our own fault if we make ourselves opaque by our own mental and emotional dullness. Teach us to wipe away the dirt of error from the windows of our understanding.

Our arms are weak for the task, owing to our long inner spiritual resistance. O Master Cleanser, lend power to our efforts, that we may wipe away every last spot that clings to our minds, obscuring our transparency and preventing free entry to Thy light. Oh, make us fully clean again, invisible in our egos because transmitting only visions of Thy beauty, which lies within us.