What is the Right Attitude?
Be afraid of nothing.
giving love to all,
feeling the love of God,
seeing His presence in everyone,
and having but one desire
—for His constant presence
in the temple of your consciousness
—that is the way to live in this world.
Only fools take life so seriously
that they are constantly hurt.
The wise look upon childhood, youth, old age, life, and death as passing dramas; hence everything entertains them.
When one becomes momentarily identified with a tragic picture, he feels miserable; but when he realizes that it is only a part of an entertaining variety show, he feels happy.
God wants man to behold the changing pictures of personal and worldly life as a sort of variety entertainment. Often at the end of a plotful melodrama the audience feels: "That was a good picture!" (bg p.387)
God sends to you those experiences you need, that you might profit by them. If you run away from those lessons, you will still have to learn them sometime, somewhere else. Every experience is a good teacher if you learn from it; but it is a tyrant if you abuse that opportunity with resentment and nonunderstanding. With right attitude, life is very simple and very easy. (jt)
We have to live through the results of every experience we put others through. (dr)
His whole creation is intended to disillusion you, and thus cause you to draw back to Him. You don't know when you will be taken away from this earth; there is no law that you will enjoy a long life. This proves how foolish it is to waste time. I live from minute to minute, day to day. I know only the joy of living; inside, complete resignation to Him. (me)
Do not selfishly seek anything from others; if you have no expectations, then what can people take from you?
You must not expect life's experiences to yield lasting peace or happiness. 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 that 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.
Awaken the innate fortitude of the mind by affirming: "No matter what experiences come, I am always happy. My experiences cannot touch me." (os)
At one time Yogananda was meditating with his disciples. After a while he opened his eyes and began to laugh, saying:
"It is such a joke that Divine Mother is playing on you all. You think this so real!"
Then he looked at the disciples sitting around him, and he said with tears in his eyes:
"But I feel sorry for you all, because to you, it is yet real. Don't take it so seriously." (sm)
It is not the technique of meditation alone that will bring you freedom; your character must be strong and pure. Your whole life and behavior must be in harmony with the laws of truth.
The yogi teaches and serves others in the highest way—by his inspiring life; example ever speaks louder than words. Reform thyself and thou wilt reform thousands.
Man is a walking God.
No human being should behave like an animal, identified with his lower nature. He should manifest his true divine Self.
Live without being attached. Wherever you are, carry within your bosom a portable heaven of joy. Remember that you are here in this world to be entertained. When you go to a movie, whether you see a tragedy, or a comedy, or a drama, you say afterward, "Oh, it was a good movie!" So must you look upon life. Have no fear. If you live in fear, health will go. Rise above disease and troubles. (dr)
Never kill time. It is too valuable to waste on useless things. I never learned to play cards or checkers or any such thing because I saw they are just a means of killing time.
Life is too precious to squander.
God-consciousness has to be cultivated.
Whatever I do,
wherever I go,
I enjoy myself.
So the way to true happiness is to do your best in the role in which God has placed you, without creating further desires. Then you can be a king within, no matter what your outer conditions. You can be happier than a millionaire—in fact, if you knew the troubles of millionaires, you wouldn't want to be one. (dr)
Don't keep feeding your bad habits with fresh actions that strengthen them. The weak man says, "I smoke, and now I can't quite." Well, before he smoked he never felt the need. Be free. (dr)
Never abuse the sensory powers by overindulgence, if you would be really happy. "Ever fed, never satisfied, never fed, ever satisfied" is a true axion about unwholesome sense experience. (me)
If in a dream you strike your dream head on a dream wall, you will have a dream skull fracture. Wake up and you are healed of your dream injury.
By his mere presence one who has reformed himself is able to reform thousands, though he may not utter a single world. Like a rose, he diffuses his fragrance to all.
If you read one hour, then
write two hours,
think three hours, and
meditate all the time.
Making others happy through kindness of speech and sincerely given right advice is a sign of true greatness.
I often think that the most sinful action in life is to admit failure, for in doing so, you deny the supreme power of your soul, God’s image within you. Never give up.
Retain evenness of mind under all circumstances. In every situation be calmly active and actively calm.
Seclusion is the price of finding God.
A lazy person never finds God.
I never miss three things: my meditations, morning and night; my exercises*; and the service to others. [* The Energization Exercises]
Remember that habits are nothing but dreams you have nurtured to enslave you. You think you can't do without drink, but it is the mind that is holding you to the thought of drink. Cut out that thought, and that dream will be over; you will be free. No one keeps you deluded but yourself, and no one but yourself can free you. You have no enemy greater than yourself, and no greater friend.
God has given you free choice
to keep yourself in delusion or to extricate yourself from it.
It is your own dreams that are frightening you. (dr)
In the spiritual path no wholehearted devotee is ever unsuccessful. His labors are never in vain.
The secret of true religion lies in the cave of stillness, in the cave of wisdom, in the cave of the spiritual eye.
This world is a terrible dream. I hope you all realize this. To the last breath of my dream existence I shall tell you how to get out of this dream as soon as you can. Do not wait.
Do not keep company with people unless you are prepared to give them your full attention. In that regard, when I am with others I mix with concentration, with attention, with love. (jt)
In order to make real progress the following things are necessary:
— first, loving attention to the subject to be learned;
— second, desire to learn and an earnest spirit of inquiry;
— third, steadfastness until the desired end is attained.
If we go only halfway and then, after a short practice, reject it, the desired result will not follow.
In a metaphysical sense, the end of all earthly desires is the end of the world. For your own happiness, you must strive to live free of worldly desires. If there is anything you can't do without, you still have a terrible lesson to learn. Imagine yourself taken away from this earth with all of your desires unfulfilled. They are like cankers in your soul. You would have to return here many times, enduring heartaches and disappointments again and again, to cure yourself of those desires. ...
The world ends for us when our minds are detached. Another way in which we experience the end of the world is in the detachment that is felt in sleep, in dreams, in losing one's mind, and in death. These conditions are forced on us; so it seems that the experience of the end of the world is necessary to us. Its purpose is to teach us the delusive nature of the world and the true nature of our Self, the soul. The soul comes on earth and becomes entangled in the mesh of delusion. Through the suffering that comes to us then, the Lord wants us to see that the world is not perfect. In this way He helps us to break our attachment to it. God is trying to make us realize, through nonidentification with it, how delusive our existence here is. The more I saw of the world and its defects, the greater became my determination to know God. (dr)
To be spiritual is to be broad, to understand and forgive, and to be a friend to all.
We do not always see the things that are nearest to us. We pass by riches that lie close at hand and chase after rainbows. (jt)
Salvation can come only through your own efforts. If you want to be saved you must make an effort continuously to give first importance to God. Constant reasoning and spiritual effort are necessary.
The yogi should distill from his diet life-force and energy, not sickness! He should also derive energy from the sun, by exposing his body in its rays to absorb pure oxygen, which is carbon-and-toxin destroying; and by practicing deep inhalations and exhalations.
Your face is a reflector—your heart is the foundation upon which the reflection is based—your face must be a sermon; your face must be a beacon light for others to follow; your face must be a lighthouse to show shipwrecked souls the way to the harbor of safety; your face must be an altar where peace reigns, where God reigns. [more in the podcast: Power to Light Your Way]
The trouble is that instead of living only in the present, we try to live in the past and in the future at the same time.
These loads are too heavy for the mind to carry, so we must restrict the amount of the load. The past is gone. Why continue to carry it in the mind? (os)
Business is nothing but serving others materially in the best possible way.
Every so often inwardly ask, "Lord, am I wasting my time? How can I get a little free time every day just to be with You?"
Do not take this life too seriously. It will be gone before you know it. When our childhood was there, life seemed so beautiful. There were so many things to want, so many things to enjoy with so little responsibility. But now see how life is. All those dreams are gone. In the same way, this episode in life will pass away. But as long as it exists for you, have but one trend of thought in your mind—God.
If you love God's creation more than God, you will be disillusioned. God must be first, last, and always. Do not follow the dictates of this earthly dreamland, for dreams sometimes turn into nightmares. Break this dream delusion by waking in God and you will be safe forever. (os)
Environment is stronger than will power. If you want to be spiritual, seek good company and don’t mix with those whose bad habits may wrongly influence you. (jt)
To reach God you must avoid crowds, too many distractions, too many movies, too many fruitless engagements, too many desires, too much waste of time. (os)
Make your home a place of peace.
Do no evil, do not let evil be done through others by your command, and do not tolerate evil by silence. Noncooperation with evil is the best way—without making a pretentious display of your own goodness. A true devotee will not foolishly attract evil states unto himself through sympathy with them. He who feels sorrow for lost sense happiness, and who dares to sympathize with it, allots to a lower place the superior, lasting happiness he has known in meditation. Such an ignorant reversal of values is a disgraceful thought for a devotee. (bg p.174)
My mother used to say, when giving some special treat of food to me, "Share this with somebody else." Initially, my re-action was that she was trying to give me less. But immediately I began to picture in my mind, "Well, if I like this food so much, maybe somebody else would also like it." So I decided I should share. Then came the thought, "If I share with everybody, there will be nothing at all left for me." That began to puzzle me. But my experience was that if I shared with others, then I enjoyed more—the joy received from sharing was even greater than the joy I got from the thing I had shared. That is why I have always parted with whatever I have loved. Whenever some possession was wanted or needed by somebody else, my mind would say, "Well, he is 'sick' with this desire; you were healed of your wish for it, so now let him have that benefit." One by one I gave away everything that came to me— and my joy was multiplied. When I wanted something and got it, I enjoyed; and when I gave it to somebody else, I enjoyed it again. No desire has ever been permitted to take possession of my soul; that would be contrary to the ideal of spiritual selfishness for the welfare of my true Self. Never love anything so much that it possesses you.
Whatever you give out, you will attract in kind. What you are will show in your countenance and actions, and others will feel the underlying vibration and respond accordingly. (jt)
This life is strange. Everything is subject to change. That is why one should not anchor his happiness on this life. Our time will pass on; what you are seeing now will be gone one day. Change is good if you don't let it hurt you. When it does hurt, the rebellion you feel is meant to show you that you should not have any desires.
When you are anchored in that great Spirit
you are enjoying everything, but without attachment.
Therefore it is worthwhile to make the effort to know Him. Otherwise life can horribly disillusion you. (me)
(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