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!

Stop. Look. And Listen Listen Listen

Oh the Days of Driver’s Ed.

I remember when I was in high school we took a semester of driver’s education. Wow, right?! When’s the last time you heard of a high school offering that. (I am 49 this year.)

We had to watch what seemed like a ton of these videos, and every one of them focused on the perils of driving. Making me wonder if it was even worth learning!

The Driving Metaphor

I began to realize that driving is a big deal. There are so many things to focus on at any given time. It’s amazing that we can actually drive these machines with little to no issues, usually.

During one of these many videos, there was a particular line that stood out. It’s the ol’ (original–I believe they changed this too) Stop sign mantra: Stop. Look. Listen.

I am sure, especially if you took driver’s ed. or even learned to drive from someone that did, you have heard it. And maybe you even recite it, as I do at bizarre moments for no apparent reason (to the detriment of my child and probably my husband too).

Stop. Look. Listen.

So yes, this popped up into my brain not too long ago and would not go away. Just like one of those random “ear-worms” we collect. Well there it is.

Stop. Look. Listen.

So what started forming in my mind was: Stop. Complaining, whining, negativity, jumping-the-gun, moving too fast, moving too slow, anger, hating, frustration, procrastinating, stalling, over-thinking, over-feeling.

And then I figured: Look. Where you are. What you are doing. Who you are with. How it is going. When is it going to happen.

With the final idea: Listen. To your intuition. To God. To Guruji. To Divine Mother. Oh, that bears repeating, to your intuition. To God. To Guruji. To Divine Mother.

When we are rolling down the road of life, there are so many things/situations/near-misses/aggravations/distractions that tend to leap into our way. We have this moment really, just a split second, to stop. And in stopping we can look at what is really happening, or trying to happen. And then listen to our inner guidance.

And in the moment we may need to repeat these three steps. Stop one more time, look again, listen more deeply.

I am realizing, at times more and more clearly, that things are not always what they seem. (Seems an obvious statement. But think about the last time you heard something, or saw something only to realize you did not “hear” or “see” the entire situation.) There are so many factors that can shift a situation one way or another.

And as Paramhansa Yogananda said, all situations are neutral. It is (and this is really true) our response or reaction that makes it a positive experience or a negative experience.

Stop. Look. Listen, listen, listen.

Peace, A Running Theme

There is so much happening right now out and about; there are positive things, situations, events going on all over the globe. And yet there seems to be as many negatives happening too.

There is a broad feeling, for me at least, that is not settling. And it’s making me realize that I am going to have to dig a bit deeper to do my part in trying to redirect the negative to the positive. I am going to use the prayer to Paramhansa Yogananda, to guide my thoughts, will and action. Better Him than the little me!

Peace is key, inside and outside. With peace inside ourselves, we can share a more harmonious environment. A more harmonious state of being or consciousness.

Let’s start our days this year with a prayer for peace. (Paramhansa Yogananda’s Prayer for Peace and Harmony follows, shared by Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi)

Visualize the person in question in the divine light, and then pray from your heart, “Lord, fill [him/her/a situation] with peace and harmony, peace and harmony.” Repeat this for about a minute. Then visualize yourself in divine light, and say, “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” for fifteen seconds. For maximum effect it’s recommended to say this prayer (both parts) five times daily.

We want to use this prayer now by saying, “Lord, fill this world with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” (for about ten repetitions), followed by, “Lord, fill me with peace and harmony, peace and harmony” (for three repetitions).

 

Peace is the treasure of a focused mind, the fruit of self-control, and the laurel earned by inner victories.
Peace comes from working with things as they are, not as we wish they were.
Peace, like a crystal stream, flows through hearts that are inspired by high ideals.
Peace is the rose-bud of kindness, spreading wide its petals in those who wish harm to no one, and mentally send their blessings to all.
Peace must be shared; never can it be hoarded.
Peace takes root in the soil of non-attachment; it flourishes when watered by daily libations of desirelessness.
Peace is, eternally, the wing-beat of inner freedom.
Peace and her sister, Humility, are sky and earth of the Garden of Paradise.
Peace is the dawn-cloud messenger of our Father’s love.
—Swami Kriyananda, poem written Christmas of 1991

Peace flows through my heart, and blows through me as a zephyr.
Peace fills me like a fragrance.
Peace runs through me like rays.
Peace stabs the heart of noise and worries.
Peace burns through my disquietude.
Peace, like a globe of fire, expands and fills my omnipresence.
Peace, like an ocean, rolls on in all space.
Peace, like red blood, vitalizes the veins of my thoughts.
Peace, like a boundless aureole, encircles my body of infinity.
Peace flames blow through the pores of my flesh, and through all space.
The perfume of peace flows over the gardens of blossoms.
The wine of peace runs perpetually through the winepress of all hearts.
Peace is the breath of stones, stars, and sages.
Peace is the ambrosial wine of Spirit flowing from the cask of silence,
Which I quaff with my countless mouths of atoms.
—Paramhansa Yogananda, Metaphysical Meditations

"Oh You Gotta Have Faith!"

That sounds just like a song (and it is, by George Michaels), but I really do think that it says it all. Faith.

How often do we struggle with things in this life, wondering if in fact it’s ever going to get better? Or is it going to get worse? Do we really know the answer? Or is there actually an answer to be had?

Faith.

I had a recent situation happen with my child. I was all “momma-bear,” ready to storm the playground (to give you a visual). I was wondering why this problem was happening? Where is this coming from? I didn’t have a thought to why am I feeling this way or taking it on. Just that I have to fix it. This has to change! And now!

I was actually getting myself rather worked up. Almost in a froth, as they say (another visual). What am I going to do!?

Faith.

There was a period of time that I would not have stepped back. I might have yelled or called. Or called and yelled. My mind would definitely have been way behind my matter. I would have been all (to borrow another expression) in their face! ….Oh. Oh no you didn’t! (I know, so east coast.)

Faith.

I am a disciple. I practice Kriya Yoga. I am a yogi. I am a child of God.

And so is that other being. So is my child. And everyone deserves a bit of time. A bit of space to allow the Divine Will its opportunity to aid in/change/affect the situation.

And so it did.

Faith.

Faith is something we want to know is there. Know it so deeply that there is no question that it is there. Feel it so deeply that there is no thought, if you have it or not.

It is right there. All we have to do it…HA! You guessed it…have faith. It’s not hard, I think. It is more of a letting go, letting go of action and reaction. Feeling that divine spark in our hearts and fanning that flame alive.

Faith.

Simple spiritual exercise time:
Take a deep yogic breath. Inhale through your nose, filling those lungs all the way to the bottom. Now exhale through your mouth, nice and easy letting the air come on its own without force.

Repeat while focusing at your spiritual eye.

Now say these words.

Faith.
I am a child of God
Faith.
I am light and love
Faith.
I know that I am worthy and all that is good
Faith.
I am
Faith.

(Remember, you are that!)