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Your Soul Worth

Feb 07, 2022

by Nayaswami Narayan

Years ago, Dharmadevi and I had a friend named Jan who was passing away from cancer. Before she entered hospice, we would go for walks together as she reflected on her life. She had a simple and sweet nature that expressed itself through her love of animals.

One day when we were walking, she shared openly with us, “I guess that’s why I love animals so much… they just want to be loved and accepted. That’s all I ever wanted.”

Jan’s words struck a deep chord within my heart, and I never forgot them. Can’t we all relate to the desire to be loved and accepted unconditionally?

When we look to the world, it’s seemingly impossible to find that kind of divine love. Jan’s words reminded me of Paramhansa Yogananda’s chant “Where Is There Love?” He said to sing this chant when feeling forsaken or disillusioned with earthly love. The lyrics are:

In this world, Mother, no one can love me,
In this world they do not know how to love me.
Where is there pure loving love?
Where is there truly loving Thee?
There my soul longs to be.

To find true love we need to overcome one of the great delusions: unworthiness. Swami Sri Yukteswar described this meanness of the heart as shame. This delusion may be more prevalent in the West with our Judeo-Christian culture of shame, blame, and guilt. For example, growing up I heard the expression, “It’s a sin,” a lot! Several Italian relatives frequently said, “It’s a sin,” as if to say “that’s a shame.”

Recently I stumbled into the pitfall of feeling unworthy. Testing positive for Covid a few weeks ago, I had to quarantine. After nearly two years of the pandemic and already feeling cut off from being in person with our spiritual community, it felt like a punch to the gut.

Rather than take the isolation as an opportunity for seclusion and being with God, I became discouraged. Discouragement led me to feeling disconnected. The disconnection morphed into a sense of unworthiness. I was tempted by delusive thoughts such as:

“You have nothing worthwhile to share.”
“No one cares.”
“What you’re doing is pointless.”

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience during the pandemic. Finally, I said, “Wow, wait a minute!” Fortunately, I realized this was what Yogananda described as a “melancholic whirlpool.” By shifting my consciousness through meditation and sharing with friends divine grace lifted the vapor of self-preoccupation.

Let’s banish the delusion of unworthiness together by thinking it through with clarity of heart, mind, and soul. First, don’t forget as Swami Kriyananda says in the Festival of Light, “You are a part of all that is.” God loves you just as much as he loves Jesus Christ. You are as dear and special to Him as the great Masters.

Be a proud child of God. Yogananda used to say he was proud of his swami robe but even more proud of what was in his heart. In other words, identify with being a child of God made from His love and made to love Him alone.

“When He appeared, the soul felt its worth.” This line from “O Holy Night” reminds us to seek the company of the saints and awakened sons of God. They reflect our own worth in being where our true authentic Self resides.

One of those saints was our dear friend and gurubhai, Nayaswami Anandi. She was an incredible example of loving acceptance. In her presence you felt “pure loving love.” Why? Because she accepted you and saw you for who you were in your soul potential (even though you weren’t yet fully realized).

Before she transitioned in a state of grace, we held a long meditation and healing prayers for her at the Ananda LA community. This poem about her came to my mind:

Anandi

You hold the space
for our authentic Self to race
towards our common beloved’s
faceless face

A face like yours
Kindly kind
Her smile sublime
Oh, Mother Divine
I behold in your accepting rays
Your unconditional gaze
Your perennial smile shines
As a golden memory mine
Singing: “Beloved, be thou mine!”

May we all be
as you are now and always,
Anandi.

One of the best ways to overcome the delusion of unworthiness is sharing with others. Anandi exemplified that spirit of selfless service through her inner and outer life. As Swami Kriyananda said, “Sharing is the doorway through which the soul escapes the prison of self-preoccupation. It is one of the clearest paths to God.”

May we all find our soul worth in the Self within and without!

Joy & Blessings,

Nayaswami Narayan