A common problem we hear people express is a sense of burden: “I’m all alone with this responsibility. I don’t know what to do.”

In Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings, he asks you to simply remind yourself more often to include God in what you do. Live as you live, but live with God. You’re not alone. Convince yourself that you’ll never walk alone. Sukhdeva tells us, “All time is wasted that is not spent seeking God. Working and walking with God.”

The path Yoganandaji gave us is not one of just techniques & sadhana, but of feeling joy the rest of the day. We need that meditation to nurture joy. But then, bring that feeling into activity. With this joy playing like background music to your actions, it doesn’t matter what happens to you outwardly. You aren’t affected. 

One disciple of Yoganandaji had a beautiful morning meditation, after which her guru said to her, “I want you to go to a big departmental store and buy me a pair of gloves.” This involved taking several buses and navigating jostling crowds of people. He didn’t need those gloves. He was testing her. Could she hold on to joy in worldly surroundings?

What happened once, just after Yoganandaji enjoyed a blissful samadhi? Sri Yukteswar handed him a broom, inviting him to sweep the balcony! He later wrote, “My master was teaching me the secret of balanced living. The soul must stretch over the cosmos, while the body performs its daily duties.”

Swami Kriyananda would tell us, “Yogananda didn’t come to show us what a great man he was, but to show us how great we can be.” To help us become a clear window for divine light: when we get our own ego out of the way, when we think of others before ourselves. 

A friend of mine was suffering from a kidney stone attack, the worst pain he had ever felt. Not knowing this, a devotee asked him to pray for her. As soon as he started praying for her, his own pain went away. When we pray, or meditate, for others, then our own pain goes away. When we include others in our joy, then we feel that joy more. 

Yoganandaji would pray to God, “Give me Yourself so that I may give You to all” 

Thinking of others, however, doesn’t mean catering to their whims & desires. 

Swami Kriyananda said, “If you live to please others, you’ll always be disappointed. Live to please God, and you’re never disappointed.” Rather, see the highest in others, and serve that higher Self in them. Swamiji would always see and speak to our highest potential, even when we didn’t see that potential in ourselves.

Yoganandaji said, “If you want to be in tune with me, serve my work.” Many students have found their spiritual life come alive once they started doing such simple seva as joining a healing prayer circle, or becoming supporting members. Through seva, we purify ourselves–we become that clear window, so divine grace can shine through us.  

As Yoganandaji reminds us, “With God, everything is fun. Without Him, everything is anything else but fun.”

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