By Narayan Romano.

“Out with the old, in with the new!” When the New Year comes I love the idea of a fresh start! Don’t we all? At the dawn of the new year, many of us take on resolutions to better ourselves in some way, but why do so many resolutions fall at the wayside?

I recall an old soap advertisement for a brand named Calgon, “Calgon, take me away!” As if those fresh suds had mystic superpowers to transport you to a better world! If they had just changed the tagline to, “Call God…take me away!” I think that would have worked better, for there is an element of truth in that ad. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

I like a clean environment and enjoy tidying up my home. I’ve often thought, “What is it that I’m really trying to clean?” Interestingly, in Patanjali’s ashtangha yoga, the twin yama to the niyama of cleanliness is non-violence. In other words, cleanliness is not about fresh suds! It’s really about our inner purity of heart.

Before taking your new-year’s resolutions, first seek purification of your heart. We may have the best of intentions and make the most robust resolutions, and yet find ourselves falling back into old regressive habit patterns.

Why? A problem cannot be solved on its own level of consciousness. Or as Swami Kriyananda said in one of his songs, “You can’t drive out the devil with a stick,” He then continues to give us the solution, “What we need is light!” Until we attune ourselves to the Divine we cannot ascend the spiral stairway of wakefulness.

Visualize your heart like a lotus flower with the petals turned upwards toward the brain. Your call of aspiration and devotion are the petals of the lotus. The mud from which they rise are the negative feelings in the heart which, when offered, transform into the beautiful flower. As Paramhansa Yogananda said in the poem Samadhi, “Anger, greed, good, bad, salvation, lust, I swallowed all into a vast ocean of blood of my own one Being!” Transmutation, not suppression is the way to overcome old tendencies.

Our ultimate goal is achieving the one Being in the farthest depths of our own Self. But how do we find the Self? Here are practical suggestions from Paramhansa Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda to help you awaken to your Superconscious Self:

  1. Say “YES!” to life. Consciously hold positive thoughts. Take an affirmation after your morning meditation such as this one from Swami Kriyananda: “I leave behind me both my failures and accomplishments. What I do today will create a new and better future filled with inner joy!”
  2. Meditate with peace, love, and joy. If you want to experience your Superconscious-Self, meditate with those divine attitudes in your heart.
  3. Tune into higher guidance at the seat of superconsciousness, at the spiritual eye. Try taking a break throughout the day and holding your right index finger to your spiritual eye to awaken your superconscious center.
  4. Realize that your Superconscious-Self is everyone and everything! Through simple acts of kindness and service, you will find your consciousness expanding to embrace your super-self everywhere!