Earlier, Keshava was talking about the pilgrims coming and of course being concerned about their health when they arrived, because of the Delhi smog, and when they came back the smog was much worse than the day after Diwali, and then you ask yourself has anything changed for them during the pilgrimage? Even though, at the end of the pilgrimage, it was much worse – but none of them were thinking about the pollution anymore.
They were all thinking of God, and they were all thinking of how amazing India is and that these places of pilgrimage, of deep vibration are here, and that they were so lucky and grateful and had such good karma to be able to come here and to be able to meditate in all these deep amazing places. So, we can look at – what is transformation then?
It is, what was there, inside of them. From inside they were being transformed, the outside not only stayed the same, but got worse. But from inside, they were transforming into more, and more open receptive souls that were seeking that oneness and vibration.
And is it not true for all of us, when so many people come and learn to meditate, they come because maybe they are not in control of their emotions. They want to get over their anger, they are not happy in life, for so many different reasons people come to learn to meditate.
But it is amazing that at the end of maybe six weeks or eight weeks of meditating, almost every single student’s lives have been transformed. Because just in six weeks or eight weeks they have started to change. Because they are so miserable – and yet at the end of these eight weeks, though nothing outside of them has changed, they are saying ‘my life is different now’, all my focus all my energy is starting to search, those searchlights that have been going out. Their whole lives are suddenly focused inward.
And when we start seeking inwards, and all of that energy that is been pouring out into fulfilling countless desires, and trying to control the world around us, so that it fits with our version of what reality should be – suddenly all that energy that has been going out is now going inside. Instead of changing the world outside of me, I am going to change myself and that is what makes all the difference.
So, at the end of these classes they are saying – I feel so much peace, I never felt so much peace. I never was able to get along with my sister-in-law we are getting along famously now. Nothing outside has changed, work suddenly is okay. I mean I am getting along with my boss, I am getting creative solutions to my problems and that was something so simple – God calling us within.
I had a very similar life – I was always seeking outside myself, and I realized that seeking outside just was not giving me what I needed to do. So, I started reading lots of spiritual books and knowing that the spiritual path was what I wanted. But still, almost 15 years I spent reading books, thinking – that sounds good, but never really doing anything inside. That means I was still seeking. I was searching outwardly in books – all my energy and money was going into books, and I still knew in my heart I needed to meditate and, it was not until I got to Ananda that I actually sat down and started meditating.
As soon I came into an environment of meditators, of people that were deeply seeking God, truly they were on a spiritual path, suddenly it was easy for me to be on a spiritual path. Suddenly I wanted to learn to meditate, and I did start to meditate, and as I did, I was being slowly transformed.
My friends and family around me were questioning this, saying we want the old Diana back, I was Diana then. What changed was that my energy was changing, my magnetism was changing. I was around other people who were spiritually magnetic, all my energy that used to be going out into the world or down into just self-concern was now suddenly starting to get focused and brought up.
The whole direction of my energy had changed so all my magnetism had changed and suddenly the people that I used to go out with, and do all these things with, they started to drop away and I started to do more seva at the temple in Palo Alto. I started to serve more.
All that energy that used to go into fulfilling my own needs and my own desires was now starting to change to “How can I use that energy?” Sharing with others – my time, my resources that I used to just give through self-fulfillment – now started to go into serving others and giving to others. My thinking of myself was being expanded into something so much bigger and my identity started to expand, as I started to think of myself as a part of this congregation or a part of so many other souls in this group that I wanted to help and I wanted to serve.
I started to transcend my ego little bit by little bit. And I was not self-concerned and that is what gave me joy – all that joy I had been seeking in so many different ways – suddenly I was finding it by connecting with my soul and God. I was finding it by expanding myself through service.
It was by just having my magnetism changed and then by thinking of the bible quotes that I had always heard “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” I never even thought it was possible, but as I started to purify all my desires and all of my attachments, suddenly I was having experiences of the divine, as Yogananda has defined it, that deep inner peace, a deep sense of calmness.
I have always been quite an energetic and restless person, and after all these years I was finding peace is inside. That calmness that is inside, that light I see when gazing up, that divine love I am finally feeling in my heart. So that is what the Masters ask of us – purify your heart. Find those things that you are holding on to, these desires that you cannot let go of, these things that you think – if it is only like this, then I will be happy. You have to surrender those things.
Swami Kriyananda said, Create in your mind, in your consciousness, a bonfire at night offer everything all that you have, all that you are, up to be purified in the evening before you go to sleep, and sleep with the sense of freedom. Even the next morning if those are still there, then in your meditation offer them up, turn your whole life into a purification process for your heart and then you shall see God.
Swamiji also said “blessed are the poor in spirit” means you have no ego. It means if you want to get over this sense of me, mine, my and just any sense of separation from God, this feeling of – I want to be one with God, I don’t want to renounce the world, but I want to see God in everything, and I want to experience him in every person, in every moment.
Swamiji created this festival of light and in the festival of light we pray, and we say, “Lord with all my heart, with all my strength, with all my soul, with all my mind, I choose thy love, I choose only thee” and that is what I really feel. I have transformed so much – in those early days when all I thought was about myself, and now I have given almost all my time and my energy and my resources to sharing whatever I have learned with others. But yes, we can always give more, can always offer ourselves more and more.
I feel with all my heart, mind, soul and strength – I choose that love, I choose only thee. I want my every thought, my every desire to only be in oneness with God, in love with him, and to feel his love. So I am certainly still on the path of self-transformation, and I am so grateful that I have so many wonderful friends to walk that path with me.