Let’s face it, this is an excruciatingly painful time period for the world. We can spout spiritual sayings, but they fall flat in the face of the depression we are now facing. Along with the pandemic, the economic fallout and consequent loss of jobs, confidence, and hope threaten our livelihood just as much if not more than the virus itself. 

Is it any coincidence we are facing these tests during Holy Week leading up to Easter? What better time to resurrect our own latent Christ consciousness of hope, faith, and divine love. 

I remember one time when I almost yielded to despair. After one of my dear friends took his life, I felt bereft of hope. It’s natural to grieve for the loss of a loved one, but as Swami Kriyananda says in a song, “Why multiply grief with despair?” I almost calculated this dangerous equation! 

During that time period I was tempted by Satan in a strange way. It wasn’t any demon with horns, but rather a subtle self absorbing force that wanted me to cling to my ego through despair. Thankfully, through the grace of God, Guru, and divine friendship I was able to float on hope’s way out of that darkness.

When Swami Kriyananda was persecuted by his own gurubhais and kicked out of Self-Realization Fellowship, Ananda Moi May wrote to him and said, “Take this as your guru’s grace.” He said “grace” was the one word he could not accept at that time. But he saw over time that, indeed, it was true because had he not been removed from SRF he could never have done the work his guru asked of him.

Each one of us has to follow the universal royal road of the cross. And by the cross I don’t mean Christianity. Or for that matter any religion. The cross represents, rather, the necessary purification of our hearts so they can become a sacred heart: a true cross section of the divine heart in human form.

As Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” 

This kind of surrender to Spirit frightens the dickens out of our ego. Especially at a time like this during the pandemic which brings up our most primal and strongest instinct of self-preservation. What we need to remember is we are truly preserved in the Self!

But the power of delusion and despair are strong. When Jesus fell for a third time under the weight of his cross, he could have yielded and given up. Instead his simple, strong, sacred heart endured. By patterning our lives after his example, we too can endure. 

When we say, we are tired and beaten up by life, Christ responds, “I was tired too. All I ask is lift your heart in strength once more, I promise, soon your boat will come ashore.” Or as the prayer associated with the ninth station of the cross (“Jesus Falls a Third Time”) reads: 

“O Jesus, let me never yield to despair. Let me come to You in hardship and spiritual distress.”

We are in hardship and spiritual distress now. Let us not yield but have a true “Come to Jesus” moment and call on God by lifting our hearts in strength once more. Surely the dawn of divine grace will descend, making our hearts sacred and lead us to eternal life in Him!

Easter Eternal Blessings,

Nayaswami Narayan

Lift Your Heart In Strength by Swami Kriyananda