The Purpose of Life's Tests
Excerpts from Finding The Joy Within You by Daya Mata
Tests are Part of the Drama of Life
The things we do all day long are nothing but acts in this great drama of God's. They are not important, except to the degree that we can learn through them, so as to go on unfolding spiritually. That is all life is. Tests are part of the drama of life. Never, never be dismayed. How easy it is to be in love with God when everything is gloriously going our way. The test is whether we can hold steadfastly to the joy of divine consciousness when everything about us tries to shake us loose. That is why Guruji said,
"Learn to stand unshaken midst the crash of breaking worlds."
When things become difficult, that is the time to rush to God's feet, to cry to Him within, to demand as His child that He help you; and to invoke Him to enter the temple of your consciousness. It is often when the devotee is enduring the greatest trials that he most strongly and sweetly feels the loving, understanding, comforting presence of God. And these are the times when the devotee makes great spiritual strides, when he allows these difficulties to drive him to God. Never forget that;
never be afraid of any trial.
Face it with
That is the way to cope with hard times.
So if you are crucified by trials, if through ignorance you are misunderstood, if you are faced with some Superhuman task, if you are overwhelmed by temptation, remember that these do not come to destroy you. They come only to shake you out of delusion. That is why the devotee should always pray for right attitude, that he might at all times keep his attention on God as the goal of his life. In this way, life's tests neither make us bitter, nor plunge us into despair, nor give us desire to retaliate. The heart and mind turn constantly to the One:
"My Beloved, my Beloved, my Beloved.
You are the only One who understands me.
Reveal Thyself to me."
Having understood ourselves as the soul, we are then able to master and guide the body and control its senses and moods, emotions, and mental restlessness. From that state, one understands and feels empathy for all. As we reawaken and strive to express the divinity that is locked within us, we will behold the divinity in others.
Practice humility and surrender;
these are absolutely essential. The struggle to surrender the ego-self is the purpose behind religious vows.
Simplicity, or poverty, teaches surrender of desire for material possessions; chastity, surrender of bodily attachments; obedience and loyalty, surrender of egotistic self-will.
The householder devotee as well as the renunciant can follow these vows in principle by performing all actions with detachment. Eventually, the practice of these principles frees the soul: we are released from the mental and material attachments that have enslaved us to the body and kept us from God.
Gurudeva's [Paramahansa Yogananda's] teachings take us to the very essence of Truth — God. We do not have to wade through a lot of dogma and theory. He has given to us the sum and substance of the Eternal Religion: the way to direct communion with God. (p.56)