By Narayan Romano

I recall one time I had a question for Swami Kriyananda, but when I came into his presence I couldn’t remember the question. His positive magnetism uplifted me into a higher level of consciousness where there were no questions. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger said in Kindergarten Cop to the young boy, “There is no bathroom!” When you’re living in the superconsciousness, there are no questions. The conscious mind is problem oriented, whereas the superconscious mind is solution oriented.

Yet, during our daily lives we face a lot of negativity. Even the Bhagavad Gita is a spiritual allegory of a battle between the forces of light and darkness within our own self. Life is a battlefield. How do we win the fight?

First, be clear on where to wage battle. That is to say; start working on yourself. A friend of mine once said, “Fire in the oven is good…fire in the forest is bad.” He was referring to the virtues of self-control. As Paramhansa Yogananda counseled: “Reform yourself, not the world.” Swami Kriyananda said it beautifully in Living Wisely Living Well:

Watch your reactions to others. If you see in anyone some quality that attracts you, try to develop it in yourself. But if you see a quality that to you is displeasing, then, instead of criticizing it, work to expunge it from your personality. Remember, the world will only mirror back to you what you are in yourself.

Second, surround yourself with positive people. Yogananda said, “Environment is stronger than willpower.” When I first heard that, I thought, “oh, yeah, right…” Being young and stupid, I thought I was above this truth. Yet, no man is an island. We are all subject to a myriad of influences. So the question becomes what type of influences do we want to have in our lives? We cannot control our prenatal karma, but we can choose our postnatal karma. In other words, our environment.

How about keeping the company of the saints? I remember taking an online course and the speaker said that you’re the sum total of the five people you are with the most. Right when he said that I remember looking at a small laminated photo on my desk. It was the images of the kriya yoga Masters of Ananda who are five in total (Jesus Christ, Babaji-Krishna, Lahiri Mahashaya, Swami Sri Yukteswar, and Paramhansa Yogananda). “Wow,” I thought, “if I can keep their company, I”ll be in good shape!”

This is why spiritual community is so important. When we’re rubbing elbows with divine friends who don’t placate our ego but reflect our soul we can make steady progress towards God. And then we can hold our Friend of all friends in our heart all the time!