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

Have Faith In Yourself

Narayan and I just finished an inspiring and fulfilling weekend at our community in Palo Alto. At the temple, we offered a workshop we just launched in Los Angeles, called Chanting for Healing. This three-hour workshop involves mostly, you guessed it, chanting! Interspersed between the chants are guided visualizations, meditations, and affirmations to attune more deeply to the essence of Paramhansa Yogananda’s sacred chants. We utilize the healing qualities that he gave to each chant and break the workshop into … Read More

Bronx Tale Blessings

“Wasted talent, Son!” My earthly father was expressing his emphatic disapproval of my new life. After finding my spiritual path through Autobiography of a Yogi, Ananda, and Swami Kriyananda, I decided a few years later to leave my high paying job in New York City and move to Ananda Village in Northern California.  Overnight I went from being a smashing success in my father’s eyes to throwing my life away. We were having another heated exchange and my dad would … Read More

Dynamic Surrender

As I was beginning on the spiritual path, I had a vivid dream that I’ll never forget. In the dream, I was outside of my home in front of a small garden. I was admiring the beautiful flowers when I noticed a bug. I thought, “Is that a ladybug?” As I looked more closely, I was surprised to see that the bug was actually a tiny man! He was crawling across the leaves and flower petals. As I gazed at … Read More