“All I ask of you…”

As Father Fred finished his eulogy for Dharmadevi’s mom, he began to walk back to his seat in the Catholic church. Then he hesitated for a moment as if an angel whispered in his ear. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he said as he found a piece of paper within the pulpit. “This was requested by Jackie.” Without any preamble, he began to sing a song: “All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.” At that … Read More

Death Is Immaterial

I was dumbfounded. Four years ago Dharmadevi invited her mother to join us on a pilgrimage to India. Why was I taken aback? Jackie, Dharmadevi’s mom, was in the middle of battling cancer. At the time she seemed to me like the last person that could handle a trip to India. Divine Mother, of course, laughs at our logic. Dharmadevi had an intuitive feeling that it would be a blessing for her mom and us to have her join our … Read More

Bless It!

“The two greatest travesties of Ananda are that Narayan can’t speak Italian and Dharmadevi doesn’t have a Southern accent.” Swami Kriyananda joked with us as we enjoyed dinner at an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles.  Narayan is third-generation Italian but his parents weren’t encouraged to speak the language, so he didn’t grow up with it. Swamiji knew that, although I grew up in Georgia, I had purposely avoided the (usually-considered) charming Southern accent. “Southern hospitality” felt insincere to me – … Read More

The “Prayer of Abandonment”

“I remained twelve years without denying or believing anything, despairing of the truth and not even believing in God. There was no convincing proof.” “At 17 I was totally selfish, full of vanity and irreverence, engulfed by a desire for what is evil. I was running wild.” “I was in the dark. I no longer saw either God or men: There was only me.” These were the words of Charles de Foucauld born in France in 1858. At the age … Read More

Yogananda’s Nine-Day Detox Diet

It’s a New Year! What better time to renew and recharge our body batteries, perhaps shed a few pounds, and slough off that post-holiday sluggish feeling. In the “Wisdom” series, Volume 6, How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality, Paramhansa Yogananda packs so much of his practical healing techniques of Yogoda, covering diet, exercises, and vibrational healing. Diet is a large part of this little but important volume in the Wisdom series. Yogananda describes the cleanse as  “ …a method for rejuvenating … Read More

God Is Always More

Being with my mom as she begins her process of transitioning from this world to the next, I find myself reflecting on the many lessons she has taught me.  I was about 18 years old and reawakening to the idea of there being a higher power in the universe but was not yet comfortable with the term “God.” However, Jesus’ message – “the kingdom of God is within you” – resonated deeply in my mind.  As I was contemplating this … Read More

Soul Song

Last year, one of my new year’s resolutions was to speak to Dharmadevi with a sweet tone of voice. In India the voice is thought to be the perfect musical instrument because it has the capacity to convey consciousness most clearly. Some saints even heal through the tone of their voice. Everyone has a favorite song or singer. Why? I suspect it’s something in the tone of their voice that we find irresistible. For example, I love listening to Swami … Read More

A Christmas Message from Paramhansa Yogananda

December 1950 My Christmas wish for you this year is twofold: that the consciousness of Christ be manifest in you through deep meditation, and that your exemplary actions will persuade others to abandon their evil or worldly ways and become spiritual. Both meditation and action are necessary or the spiritual path, for they contribute toward individual and mass evolution. It is not God’s will to develop spiritually in a selfish way, i.e., without extending help to oth- ers who are suffering. … Read More

The Nutcracker of Intuition

A couple of weeks ago at the beginning of the Holy Season, Dharmadevi and I received a piece of hatemail. It was unexpected to say the least. We were preparing for Christmas and, lo, we were condemned by a “Christian.” How ironic! As I read the letter, I was reminded of when Paramhansa Yogananda received a scathingly critical letter from one of his own disciples. Rather than getting upset, the next time the Master saw him he said, “That was … Read More

Turn Criticism on Yourself

During the silence and inwardness of seclusion, with nothing outward to distract me, I realized something astounding. I spend a lot of time critiquing others. I don’t mean I was necessarily thinking negatively of people – this was more subtle – but just as dangerous spiritually. My behavior, I realized, was not only a waste of time and brainpower, it was putting those people into a box that was not of their highest reality as a soul but rather of … Read More