Three Things I Learned from Swamiji
Everything I know about Paramhansa Yogananda, is a result of knowing Swami Kriyananda. I realise my own reading and practice have helped me to know Master also, but Swamiji’s life, teaching and his discipleship have profoundly informed all aspects of my spiritual life. Out of the many, many important things I have learned from Swamiji, I was asked to write about three. Not a simple thing to do, but I chose those that came to mind first.
Live from your heart
This is a very safe place to be spiritually, especially if we can maintain it. When we practice living and communicating from the heart it becomes easier to be compassionate and sensitive to the reality of others. We tend to become much less judgemental, irritated or angry with others. We begin to realise we are all here to learn and none of us is perfect.
This understanding brings empathy and kindness to the heart. If the world could live this way, how different it would be. But, we must begin with ourselves and everything will grow from there. Swamiji counselled me directly, when relating to others, always speak from the heart. This advice has served me well, I still have much to learn, but having this reminder always present is a great blessing.
Practical action: Note how much we allow the mind to dictate our decisions and actions. Begin to pay attention to how the heart feels also, as the mind goes about its’ work.
Balance in everything
Be balanced in everything. Diet, exercise, activity, rest, social time, quiet time. There is a well known quote from Ecclesiastes, in the Old Testament, that is a beautiful reminder of the natural flow of life, the flow of the days, weeks, months and years, the flow of nature and the seasons. Here are parts of the quote, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, a time to die; …A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance., …A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Swamiji urged us to become aware of areas within us where we tend to be extreme, in thoughts, words, or actions. To move closer to a point of balance and equilibrium in all things. This brings a deep sense of peace and connection to all life.
Practical action: From your own point of view, consider the opposite point of view also. Try to see it as you see your own, see its’ validity and truth. Be objective and calm.
Be an example
Master said that if you are working to change yourself you are working to change the world. Swamiji would often observe, that there is much in life that we wish could be different, but wishing doesn’t change anything. In the end the only thing we can really do something about is ourself. Being an example of the changes we would like to see in others, in the world around us, is how we change the world. Our own world, and the greater world we live in.
If I want peace, it is not enough that I march for peace, although that’s not a bad thing to do. But, to demand something from others, from the world, that I do not practice myself is hypocritical. Peace comes from practicing peacefulness, from manifesting peace in my interactions with others, trying in all circumstances, to be a channel for peace.
Practical action: Think, what do I want more of in my life, in the world? Now think, how can I begin to manifest that in myself and in my life. Be an example of peace, or love, or joy or anything you feel you or the world, needs and/or wants.