Recently I asked a senior monk at Self Realization how to handle the continual news of gun violence in our schools. Lately the bad news has changed from gun violence to immigration problems at the United States borders. Here is his counsel . . .
Thinking about the world’s problems does not help either the world or you. One cannot drive away darkness by concentrating on darkness. Darkness is destroyed by bringing in the light. So it is far better to concentrate on meditation and practicing the presence of God. This world will always have turmoil and trouble. What are you worried about? Go to the shelter of God where the Masters have gone, and whence they are watching and helping the world. You shall have safety forever, not only for yourself, but for all those loved ones who have been entrusted to your care by our Lord and Father. When we don’t go the spiritual route, and try and fix things in the world with money or politics or programs, it’s like trying to straighten a pig’s tail. You get it all straight, but then when you let go, it curls right back up.
God did not plan to make this earth a place of permanent happiness. The lessons we are to learn from the suffering in this world is to live in harmony with God’s laws and to strive to seek Him. There will always be trouble and suffering in the world as long as people turn away from God and His ways. Only spiritual consciousness — realization of God’s presence in oneself and in every other living being — can save the world. I see no chance for peace without it. Begin with yourself. There is no time to waste. It is your duty to do your part to bring God’s kingdom on earth. That is, we cannot wait till others or governments change the conditions in the world. Society consists of individual people. If we want the world to change, we have to begin by changing ourselves. So continue to make a steady deep spiritual effort. If more and more people do that, the outer conditions will change for the better, not before. God helps those who help themselves. We need to meditate more deeply and practice the presence of God more continuously.
This Self is never born nor does it ever perish; nor having come into existence will again cease to be. It is birthless, eternal changeless, ever-same (unaffected by the usual processes associated with time). It is not slain when the body is killed . . .
Just as an individual forsaking dilapidated raiment dons new clothes, so the body-encased soul, relinquishing bodily habitations, enters others that are new.
No weapon can pierce the soul; no fire can burn it; no water can moisten it; nor any wind wither it. The soul is uncleavable; it cannot be burnt or wetted or dried. The soul is immutable, all permeating, ever calm, and immovable—eternally the same.
Bhagavad Gita II:20, 22 -24
My friend from Self Realization Fellowship recently came back from India. Last weekend I attended a slideshow of her trip. She brought everyone a gift and gave me this booklet, Developing Dynamic Will published by the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. This passage is from the booklet . . .
Nothing is impossible when will becomes dynamic: Choose a good, wholesome, constructive goal and then determine you are going to achieve it. No matter how many times you fail, keep on trying. No matter what happens, if you have unalterably resolved, The earth may be shattered, but I will keep on doing the best I can,” you are using dynamic will, and you will succeed. That dynamic will is what makes one man rich and another man strong and another man a saint. – Paramahansa Yogananda
Currently, I am reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. There is tremendous wisdom in this book. This passage struck me so much I had to read it over and over. It is powerful and simple. “the three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous.”
Make new determinations as to what you are going to do and what you are going to be in this next year. Set a program for yourself; carry it through, and you will find how much happier you will be. Failure to keep to your schedule of improvement means you have paralyzed your will. You have no greater friend and no greater enemy than yourself. If you befriend yourself, you will find accomplishment. There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Nothing detrimental that happens can affect you unless you sanction it. -Paramahansa Yogananda
Despite man’s vaunted advances in science and the healing arts, he cannot get away from the fact that in every department of life he is ultimately dependent on a Power higher than himself. In some respects, modern man enjoys a more secure existence than his ancestors; but still his days are fraught with terrible uncertainties. One never knows when accident or disease, financial failure or natural disaster will strike. Sooner or later, a time arrives in every person’s life when a connection with that Higher Power suddenly becomes of utmost urgency, bringing him to his knees, through painful desperation or worshipful devotion-the choice is his-in recognition that not a beat of the heart nor an inspiration of breath transpires without the supportive will of the Lord. That consciousness of total dependence on God is the power behind the dynamics of faith. Such reliance is not a submissive cowardice that paralyzes one’s own constructive will, but an act of consecrated deference to God through love for Him and veneration of His supremacy. – Second Coming of Christ – Discourse 34 page 621 by Paramahansa Yogananda