The Secret of Life (3)
Find Peace and Happiness within Yourself
Possession of material riches without inner peace is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake.
Why spend all the treasure of your wisdom trying to make this uncertain, perishable body comfortable? Do not search for happiness only in beautiful clothes, clean houses, delicious dinners, soft cushions, and other luxuries. These will imprison your happiness behind bars of externality, or outwardness. If you put conditions around your joy—as the lover does when he says, "If I cannot see her face I cannot be happy"—you will never find unalloyed Bliss, because none of the conditions of sense-produced pleasures is permanent.
Time relentlessly works its havoc on physical beauty: everything in the material world is subject to change.
Therefore if you could see all the beautiful faces in the world; if you were to hear all the music and acquire everything that you desire to, you would still not have found real happiness.
Don't expect to attain peace and happiness from life experiences. You have to find peace and happiness within yourself. This should be your new attitude toward life:
no matter what your experiences are, you are going to enjoy them, in the same way you enjoy viewing the pleasant or painful experiences of another person in a motion picture. Your outer experiences should be only fun to you. You are God's child immortal, come on earth to entertain others and to be entertained.
Wake up! While living on the perishable soil of the body, try to reap the imperishable harvest of immortality and endless ever-new bliss. You will never find lasting comfort from the vulnerable physical body. The honey of celestial joy cannot be squeezed from the rock of sense pleasures. But when you daily press the honeycomb of meditative peace with eager, powerful hands of will and concentration, there will flow ceaselessly into the vessel of your life the eternal sweetness of the Divine Presence.
If you have made up your mind to find joy within yourself, sooner or later you shall find it. Seek it now, daily, by steady, deeper and deeper meditation within. Make a true effort to go within and you shall find there your longed-for happiness.
It is wonderful to be in tune with the Heavenly Father and to trust in Him implicitly, being content wherever He places you and whatever He makes of you, accepting all with humility and devotion. You will find in the Lord the answer to all your desires. All the happiness and fulfillment that you have dreamed of through incarnations, God will give to you. He has set in my path everything I have wanted, but I find my greatest joy comes from communion with Him.
I am here to tell you the joy to be found in God, the joy that each of you is free to discover, the joy that permeates me every moment of my life. For He walks with me, He talks with me, He thinks with me, He plays with me, He guides me. "Lord," I tell Him, "I have no troubles; Thou art ever with me. I am happy to be Thy servant, a humble instrument to help Thy children. Whatever people or happenings Thou dost bring to me are Thy responsibility, I shall not interfere with Thy plan for me by harboring desires of my own." (os)
Do Everything with the Attitude of Love
He who serves Me with undeviating devotion transcends the gunas and is qualified to become Brahman.
—The Bhagavad Gita XIV:26
Arjuna had asked (stanza 21): "How does a man rise beyond the gunas?"
Lord Krishna now answers that question. "By Bhakti Yoga," he says.
"By unswerving devotion to God, by love for Him so complete that one's mind has no room for thought of self."
A reply of sweetness and profound simplicity, offering man divine hope and encouragement. [Chapter XIV]
Live in the world,
but be not of the world.
Be in the world and do your part, but do not be caught up and bound by its delusions, or you will be enslaved.
Yogis who attain the perception of the Infinite find that this realization leads to final emancipation. Once the devotee becomes fixed in the changeless Spirit, he is subject no longer to the permutations of births and deaths, or of good and evil karma. Thus does the Lord exhort the devotee [The Gita XII:7]:
Get away from My ocean of suffering and misery!
Give thyself single-heartedly to Me and
I will lift thee out of the sea of delusion.
Do everything with the attitude
of love —
love for God
and for God in all.
Learn to Love God
Learn to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself.
You do not need any other commandments
if you follow those two.
What is the meaning of loving God with all your heart, and with all your mind, soul, and strength?
— Heart means what you feel;
— mind means concentration;
— soul means divine communion in meditation, and
— strength means to place all your energy on God.
Therefore, love God with all your feeling and with all your concentration in meditation, reversing the searchlights of your energy and attention from the body and the world back to God. You cannot love God truly without meditation, because only by meditating can you know yourself as the soul, in which lies your true eternal relationship with God. (jt)
(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