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

Friendship

As a kid growing up, I started getting into some trouble. One time when I was only 14, I was arrested for underage drinking. My mother decided it was time for an intervention. Her parental approach was not the normal: “What were you thinking?!… You could have killed yourself!… You’re young and stupid!” These were all true, yet she acted with tact and consideration. I remember sitting down with her at the kitchen table and she simply said to me, … Read More

Karma – Our Own Responsibility

One of the first and most disturbing stories in the Mahabharata is about Shantanu and Ganga. Ganga is a gorgeous goddess that Shantanu, the king, falls in love with instantaneously. She agrees to marry him on one condition – that he never question her about anything. He agrees.  They are incredibly happy together, except for one major problem. Every year, Ganga gives birth to a beautiful baby boy, and immediately after birthing the baby, she proceeds to drown it in … Read More

Claiming Your Spine As Your Own

Last week, I decided to take a trip up to Mount San Antonio, otherwise known by locals as Mount Baldy. Standing at 10,140 feet, this dramatic peak is a mountaineer’s dream of alpine wilderness, icy mountain waterfalls, and breathtaking panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountain Range.  There are several route options to summit, but my chosen route was called the Devil’s Backbone. This name gives you a clue into the difficulty of the trail. After climbing over 3,000 feet … Read More

Stardust Song

Have you seen “Stardust”? I’m not speaking metaphorically about an inner vision you may have had. I’m talking about the old movie with Robert Deniro and Michelle Pfeiffer . You might remember it. It’s part fantasy/adventure and part love story. Sometimes Dharmadevi and I have difficulties finding a movie we both like. I gravitate towards action and adventure. She likes animated movies and love stories. Fortunately, this movie blended both! It satisfied our comingled natures and we were saved from … Read More

“People Won’t Like You”

Only three years after moving to Ananda, Swami Kriyananda asked me and Narayan to step into a leadership role. Before Ananda, I worked very happily on my own and actually had little in-person contact. All of my correspondence as a teacher of holistic healing was, by choice, through email. I wouldn’t have classified myself as socially awkward but antisocial would be a fair description! What did I know about leadership? Absolutely nothing. Swamiji gave me very little advice but one … Read More

“You, You, You… Just You”

My favorite chant right now is one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s called “In the Valley of Sorrow.” The lyrics and melody are hauntingly beautiful: Rather than wallowing in self-pity which masks our divinity, this chant offers us a superconscious solution for sorrow. Instead of ruminating on our problems and asking “Why me?” we get lost in the reverie of “You, You, You, just You.”  This chant reminds us that we can use sorrow as fodder for our Self-realization. Necessity, it has … Read More