Paramahansa Yogananda
Best 16 Spiritual Tips (4)

 

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10. Practice Self-Realization,
Practice what you Read

I could have meetings here with you every day, but that won't necessarily help you, unless you put into practice what you hear. (me)

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This is a message of my heart to you.

Listen,
make notes,
inwardly digest these words, and
put my thoughts into practice. (os)

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It is your duty to practice in your daily life all that you have learned. Scriptures are dead quotations. They live only when their lessons are lived in life by someone. A soul cannot be liberated unless he helps others to liberate themselves through true methods.

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Self-realization means to know truth through yourself, and not through others. By seeking God first, through Self-realization, all things — strength, power, prosperity, wisdom, health, and immortality — will be added unto you. (os)

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Self-realization is yoga or "oneness" with truth—the direct perception or experience of truth by the all-knowing intuitive faculty of the soul.

Lord Krishna... proclaims Self-realization, true wisdom, as the highest branch of all human knowledge—the king of all sciences, the very essence of dharma ("religion")—for it alone permanently uproots the cause of man's threefold suffering and reveals to him his true nature of Bliss. (bg)

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Reading does not make you wise, realization does.

It is on these teachings that you should concentrate, not on my personality or any other personality. And it is not a matter of merely reading these truths, but of practicing them. (jt)

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Truths are not truths to you unless you realize them within yourself. Without realization, they are just ideas. For spiritual perception, spiritual consciousness, lies not in vague theological ideas, but in the acquisition of Self-realization. (dr)

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But you come to these lectures not only to listen to the words, but also to feel the presence of God behind them. If you attune your consciousness with His consciousness, and remain in that current of bliss, you will feel at-onement with Him. Whatever understanding I have attained has been acquired by becoming attuned to God’s consciousness within. This you too can accomplish.  (me)

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Learn to feel God, and to enjoy Him.

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The more peace you feel during concentration and the longer you concentrate, the deeper you will go in God. If the time given to reading books about spiritual truth were spent in meditation, you would have far greater advancement both mentally and spiritually. Sleep less, and give more hours to meditation; the rest you will enjoy is a hundred times more refreshing than sleep. (me)

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You must know the difference between

imagination,
theoretical knowledge and
true realization.

Could you nourish yourself by only listening to a talk on food? To know food only theoretically is to always remain hungry. You must eat to satisfy hunger. So he who seeks new doctrines continuously but does not put them into practice in his life is in continual spiritual starvation.

healthy food

["Can looking or talking about above picture
satisfy your hunger?
"]

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When the scriptural philosopher dissects words and thoughts with the scalpel of his reason, he may grow so fond of theoretical knowledge and of mentally separating wisdom into various segments that he may "dry up" through lack of the experience of truth in divine ecstasy. If a person spent his lifetime in analyzing the properties of water and in examining water from different sources all over the world, he would not thereby quench his thirst. A thirsty man, without fussing over the atomic constituencies, selects some good water; drinking it, he becomes satisfied. An exoteric jnana yogi — a follower of the path of discriminative reason — may read and analyze all the scriptures and still not slake his soul thirst. (bg)

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Solve your problems through meditation. Exchange unprofitable speculation for actual God-communion.
Clear your mind of dogmatic theological debris; let in the fresh, healing waters of direct perception.
Attune yourself to the active inner Guidance; the Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life.
— Lahiri Mahasaya (Autobiography of a Yogi)

(More...)

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11. Wake up from a Dream Drama

flowerDo not take life’s experiences too seriously. Above all, do not let them hurt you, for in reality they are nothing but dream experiences. Play your part in life, but never forget it is only a role. If circumstances are bad and you have bear them, do not make them a part of yourself. What you lose in the world will not be a loss to your soul. Trust in God and destroy fear, which paralyses all efforts to succeed and attracts the very thing you fear. All Nature will commune with you when you are in tune with God. Realisation of this truth will make you master of your destiny. (os)

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The more I see of life, the more I realize it is a dream. I have found the greatest assurance in this philosophy I am giving to you now.

Realize that you live solely
by the grace of God.

If He were to withdraw His thought, the physical manifestation would cease to exist.

This world is a dream place,
and we are all dreaming here.
This life is not real;
you are laughing and crying in the greatest delusion, and
it is not worth shedding tears over
.
To give reality to our earth experiences is
to invite untold misery.
By identification of our consciousness
with this world we see it as a place of suffering.

What is going to free us from suffering? Will money do so? Nothing material can. Knowledge of God, and realization that we are forever one with Him, is the only way to freedom. Remember this always. God would be very cruel indeed if this world were real. But He knows that when we have gone through the furnace of suffering and death enough times, we shall awaken and overcome delusion: we shall realize this earth as His dream, and reincarnate no more. In the Bhagavad Gita God speaks through Krishna, giving this promise: "My noble devotees, attaining the highest success (in the tests of earthly life) by having discovered Me (Spirit), undergo no further rebirths in this abode of grief and transitoriness." [ VIII: 15.] (dr)

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Life becomes terrible if we see it as real, whereas it is nothing but a play of forces. God made us in His image, and expected us to realize that this life is an illusion. There really is no disease, death, or sorrow—only the dance of cosmic vibrations. It is just as foolish to cry about life's happenings as it is to cry about something sad that you see in a movie. When you realize that it is only a picture you see, there is no sorrow. You must not take this life too seriously. ...

beam of maya

You must realize that this life is
just a dream drama.

In a dream you see death and sickness and happiness and sorrow, and are touched by them. When you awaken from the dream, you know that all things were just a dream. It is only when you awaken from a nightmare that you can laugh at it, but you will have to learn that through meditation alone, not by reading books or theorizing. ...

Right meditation balanced with activity
should be the aim of all spiritual seekers
as the only savior from the cosmic dream.

If you know the plot beforehand when you see a motion picture or a performance on the stage, it will not be interesting. So it is good that you don't understand the movie drama God is playing in your life. You wouldn't be entertained if you knew what was going to happen before it took place. Don't concern yourself about the ending. Rather, pray always to God in this way: "Father, teach me to act out my role in this drama of life—whether I am weak or strong, sick or well, high or low, rich or poor—with an immortal attitude, that I may at the end know the moral of it all." (os)

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You have to awaken in order to perceive that God is everywhere and to realize that you have been dreaming. All of you are sitting here in this dream, and you are part of the dream. (me)

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We are in a dream state. The only way to wake up is to refuse to recognize anything as reality except God. Otherwise you will again and again sink to your knees in a mud of suffering that is of your own making,

until you realize that neither
good fortune nor evil fortune
is real,
that He alone is real.

Then all earthly delusions (disease and health, joy and sorrow, life and death) will pass away. (dr) (More...)

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Every night in sleep God takes away all of your troubles to show you that you are not a mortal being; you are Spirit. God wants you to remember that truth during the conscious state, so that you are not bothered any more by the anomalies of life. If we can very well exist at night in deep sleep without thinking about this world and its troubles, we can very well exist in God's world of activity without being caught up in this dream. Even though dream universes are floating in God's consciousness, He is ever awake and knows He is dreaming. He tells us, "Do not get panicky during this daydream; look to Me as the Reality behind the dream." When there is health and joy, smile in the dream. When there is a nightmare of sickness or sorrow, say,

"I am awake in God,
merely watching the play of my life.
"

Then you will know that God has created this universe as an entertainment for Himself. And you, being made in His image, have not only the perfect right but also the ability to enjoy this play with its varying dreams even as He does. (jt)

And yet when I am only a dream to you,
I will come to remind you that you too are naught
But a dream of my Heavenly Beloved;
And when you know you are a dream, as I know now,
We will be ever awake in Him.
"When I am Only a Dream"

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References:
(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines