By Dharmadevi Romano

Los Angeles is a breeding ground for oversensitivity. In a big city, you are constantly barraged by loud noises, foul smells, and disturbing sights. The nervous system gets overloaded and we find ourselves taking out our oversensitivity on others. We may find temporary relief in believing that others are the cause of our deepening oversensitivity but we can’t possibly get out of the mire of delusion until we realize that we have to change ourselves.

The affirmation for this week’s Sunday Service was Humor. Swami Kriyananda, in describing humor, says not to take ourselves too seriously. “Merriest am I, when by laughing, I include myself.” Humor can really help to overcome oversensitivity. Remember, we transcend the ego through self-forgetfulness.

If someone insults you, even purposefully, don’t rely on that person to make you feel better inside. Choose to be happy no matter what! Your inner peace is your own responsibility to protect. The world will seem to conspire to take it away from you. Has it happened to you, that you finished a beautiful, deep meditation and the minute you stand up, you’re suddenly bombarded by something really disturbing? Maybe someone is yelling at you, or you walk outside to police sirens and helicopters swarming overhead. Or there’s been a crisis at work. Craziness! God doesn’t make this world pleasant. In fact, He makes it a nightmare because He wants us to remember our true home in Eternal Bliss.

One of Ananda Moyi Ma’s disciples asked her how to overcome suffering and her response was very simple, “What suffers?” She was saying that it is only the ego that suffers; the soul is always in bliss. When you suffer a blow to your ego – celebrate!

“We should not be touchy or have self-pity, which increases our oversensitivity. You may be nursing a grievance about something and nobody knows what it is. It is best for you to look within yourself to remove the cause of that sensitiveness.

“Many people think they should pity themselves and that self-pity will bring a little relief, but self-pity is an addiction like opium. Every time an opium addict takes the drug, he becomes more and more steeped in the habit. Be as firm as steel against self-pity.

“If the fire of sensitiveness eats into your heart and you allow it to stay there, it eats into the fibers of your peace. You must be able to control it yourself, knowing that over-sensitivity is an agent of Satan trying to destroy your peace. Every time sensitiveness visits your heart, it disconnects you from the divine song of peace that might play within you if you were not oversensitive. Whenever sensitiveness comes, try to conquer your emotion, and do not blame others. Take responsibility for it yourself. That is the way to get rid of it.”

– How to Awaken Your True Potential by Paramhansa Yogananda