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!

Awesome Tips for Walking the Path to Self-realization

Tips on Living the Yogic Life

Here we are given the recipe for the spiritual path, in the tradition of Paramhansa Yogananda, taught to Swami Kriyananda, and passed to us in Ananda.

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi spoke on all of these during their recent visit to Portland, Oregon. They repeated different items, sometimes talking about them in slightly different ways. To further and deepen our understanding.

These are the practices of a yogi walking the path to Self-realization.

God-Guru greeting and reconnection: Every morning after sleep, which Yogananda called counterfeit samadhi, energetically we are more withdrawn. This is a good time to greet the Divine, acknowledging the Divine presence in our lives, as a ongoing practice to start our day. And then at the end our day, reconnecting with the Divine, maybe by reading a special passage in a book like The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, or Whispers from Eternity. Setting the tone for our consciousness before we sleep again.

Energization: We are given these exercises by Yogananda, to aid us in the active practice of using and controlling our energy at will! These are a gift to us, basically. Yogananda stated once, that if there was only one technique to learn, the Energization Exercises would be it. As they will lead the yogi to all else on the path of Self-realization. Energization Exercise series.

Meditation: Even a little practice of this inward religion will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings. We repeat this weekly in the Festival of Light service. It is a reminder that to find God, to connect to the Divine, we need to access the silence and stillness within ourselves. It is the soul’s longing to go deeply into stillness. And it is something that requires daily practice, to open those channels we hold within.

Gratitude: Being thankful for all things that we are given every day. It is so easy to be grateful for the good in life. So easy to say thank you when it goes with our expectations. We need to learn to say thank you, even when it does not. Swami Kriyananda used to make a practice of sincerely thanking the Divine in every circumstance, in what he was given.

Positivity: Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi spoke so beautifully on the power of positivity in one’s life. How they are consciously shedding the desire to look at, react to, comment on, involve themselves in, the darkness or negative. Finding that it does nothing for their state of being. There’s so much negativity and restlessness in the world already. Why add to it, when it doesn’t make it better? Or help your inner peace! Inspiration: Find It and Keep It!

Centering: There are plenty of opportunities to learn, and use, the practices that help center us. Counted breathing or pranayam. Detaching ourselves from the situation, to quell the reactive process. Using positivity to deflect negative energy coming at us, or in us. It’s in these techniques, that we can access our true inner potential. Remembering that we are children of light with access to the Divine in every moment. Helping to stop us from the “wheel of reaction.” Yogananda Book Study Group.

Listening: God’s call is within us. Nayaswami Devi talked about God’s song, playing eternally within us. It is there. But it is quiet. It takes our practices to still the mind, calm the heart and open our “ears” to hear it. It’s there though. It is the eternal song that plays.

More links: The talks for Nayaswamis Jyotish & Devi Portland visit 2016

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Or Try to

(To borrow a phrase.)

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, the spiritual directors of Ananda Worldwide, were just in Portland for their annual pilgrimage to the Northwest, continuing on to Seattle next.

While they were here, one of the many topics they discussed was that of humor or positivity. And reflecting that humor and levity are a good thing. When used appropriately and with a positive upward flowing energy, this state will encourage a deeper connection with the Divine, ultimately.

Ignoring the Dark Side

Anandians are often accused of ignoring the dark side of things. Only seeing the light, or positive in things.

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi talked one evening about the importance, for them, now especially, in not focusing on negative or downward-energy-pulling-things/situations, of which there are many. This negativity comes in many guises, from news to movies, reading to listening. Sometimes it seems more a sense-assault.

How often do we start to listen to something and realize that the state of peace that we were feeling has just disappeared? Or that we are feeling so much more edgy after watching that particular show or movie, then we were before it.

Listening More Deeply

Listening to our intuition is vital and will only get deeper and more clear the more we listen to and work with it. It is this state of being, that deep state of listening to our intuition, our inner guidance, that we can pierce the layers of maya, or delusion, that surround us and connect with the Divine.

Having gone through a bit of personal mucky-muck (as my mom likes to say), these past few weeks, has been an interesting experience for me. And yes, blessed Divine Mother has been handing me lots of opportunities to practice achieving calmness, peace and harmony.

First a broken foot. Then an accident. Yup! A lot of opportunity to practice many of our yogic techniques. Deep breathing being one of the main ones. Along with every centering technique I could think of.

Just Breathe

When standing in these types of situations, or places, in our lives, it can be very hard to remember to breathe. To look for that positive light in the situation. To reign in the temper that’s about to blow!

But try, we should. Accessing the force is vital to our continued well-being. Practice the teachings, we must. (Thank you Yoda and Yogananda!)

Try to plug your energy-extension cord into the positive charges of life, and you may find that when dealing with the intense times, positivity may come a bit more easily, or more quickly in your period of coping.

And even though you’ll be looking for those causes or reasons that explain why something may have happened, it will be from a more peace-filled place. Or possibly, you will access that deeper sense of surrender and acceptance, thus letting go. And moving on.