Directional Development At Its Best

By Narayan Romano
October 11, 2016

The other day Dharmadevi and I met with a young woman who was majoring in psychology. I asked her what she found interesting about psychology. She responded, “It explains everything. It shows that everything has a reason.”

Her response got me thinking; what is my purpose and reason for being? I love the way Paramhansa Yogananda described the purpose of life: Self-realization! Ahh, I can get behind that with my whole heart, mind, and soul!

Not only did he define it, but he outlined a direct path to achieve this exalted state. “Self-realization”, he said, “is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God.”

The knowing he was talking about is different than book knowledge. As he said, “Intelligent people sometimes fool themselves.” And in the West we’ve fooled ourselves to believe only in the intellect.

Because of this unbalanced emphasis on the intellect, some people think that morals are relative and therefore obsolete – whereas Swami makes the point in his book Out of the Labyrinth that they have to be relative to something, otherwise they cannot be relative. In short, Swamiji is saying, what if everything was related to an absolute, pure, blissful Spirit? What if, like this young woman said, everything has a reason and a divine purpose? Life is the quest for joy!

When I was searching for purpose and meaning in life, I read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. His simple statement, “Follow your bliss,” is some of the best advice I I’ve ever heard.

However, we can’t do a spiritual bypass and follow our bliss without practicing self-honesty. We cannot progress until we accept our current condition. This is the heart of Sankhya wisdom which Krishna sums up when he says, “Get away from my ocean of suffering and misery.” If we only identify with this material world, and our outer senses, life is a nightmare! I think we’re all familiar with that. And, let’s be honest, most people start on the spiritual path to get away from this ocean of suffering and misery! I did.

However, we need more than the negative repulsion, we also need the positive polestar we’re moving towards. The end goal of the vedas, when we practice self-honesty on a deeper level, is finding the truth about who and what we really are – children of Bliss!

How can we fully realize our soul nature and transcend this world of suffering? Follow your bliss. Following your bliss is directional development at its best, and here are some ideas on how to do it:

  1. Affirm you are a child of God. Try this affirmation: “I and my Father are one. He in me and I in Him. Peace, Bliss, Omnipotence reign in me, in the God in me.”
  2. Accept things as they are, not as you would like them to be. Be honest with yourself and your struggles. Share them openly with Divine Mother. I find great comfort and solace from Yogananda’s chant, Light the Lamp of Thy Love: “Change my darkness to Thy Light, Lord, and my evil into good. Touch me but once and I will change. All my clay into Thy Gold.” Try singing this chant.
  3. How do we know if we’re moving in the wrong direction? Swami Kriyananda says in the Festival of Light, “Pain is the fruit of self love, whereas joy is the fruit of love for God.”