By Dharmadevi Romano
March 14, 2017

Leo Cox, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, related his story of being with the master in the movie, Awake: The Life of Yogananda. In a touching scene he shared honestly how difficult it was to be with someone who knew his every thought, “He analyzed you down to an ant.” Swami Kriyananda also shared that when he was at Mt. Washington it was like a hotel – people would come enthusiastic and leave as soon as they saw how difficult the path was.

“Follow your inner guidance,” the Great Ones say. They never impose themselves on anyone. They know also how fickle our hearts are and that until we are guided by wisdom, we are constantly swayed by likes and dislikes. They cannot offer us total guidance unless we are completely receptive. It isn’t easy to open ourselves like that as it means complete surrender of the ego.

Soon after Swamiji left Los Angeles in 2011, I found myself at a crossroads. I felt compelled to take a comfortable direction in life, but luckily I didn’t trust myself. I reached out to Swami and asked for his advice. He didn’t respond to my email. So I wrote again and pleaded for his help with all my heart. I’m grateful that I really wanted the truth and not for him to tell me what I wanted to hear.

He responded saying, “My inclination is to say, ‘Follow your own guidance.’ But you have pleaded with me to be sincere with you, and I feel I must be so to the best of my ability. I think you may reject much of what I say. Still, I will be sincere.”

As I read those words two things happened within me: First, I felt relief that I would actually know the truth. That was my soul-response. Then, I felt waves of fear as my ego realized it was going to be cut down to the size of an ant. Unfortunately, my ego-response led me to initially reject much of what Swamiji said. Fortunately, my soul-response caused me to reread his message many times and eventually learn to accept all that he said as the truth. After reading it again last night, I realized it is the kindest, most loving message I’ve ever received.

There is a part of us that won’t stop until we reach perfect soul-freedom. That part will compel us to situations which may at the time seem incredibly painful but are only meant to release us from the worst pain of all – spiritual ignorance. When we want nothing more than that total freedom, we cultivate total receptivity which allows God’s Grace to come in and change us.

“Lord, change not my circumstances; change me!” –Sister Gyanamata