Sunday, September 18, 2011

Simplicity, patience, compassion

“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Magnetism — Your Buffer Against Hard Times

by Swami Kriyananda
In 2004 a forest fire approached the entrance to Ananda Village and for a while, it looked like it would destroy our main facilities. Village residents converged near the entrance and chanted and prayed. As the fire came closer, everyone faced the oncoming fire and chanted “Aum” with great energy and determination. Suddenly the wind shifted direction and the community was saved. The fire marshal said, “If I had not seen this with my own eyes, I would not believe it.” But we have seen things like this again and again.
There are miracles, yes, but magnetism is what draws those miracles. Magnetism is the most important thing in life. I believe we’re on the eve of difficult times but if you have the right kind of magnetism, even if there’s a depression, it won’t be a predicament for you. Success in every aspect of life depends on the power of your magnetism to attract it. By developing “success magnetism,” you will find victory in all situations even in the midst of widespread difficulties.
Step One: Will Power and Concentration
How does magnetism work?  Magnetism is generated by the strength and quality of your energy flow. When you pass electricity through a wire, it generates a magnetic field. The more electricity passes through the wire, the stronger the magnetic field.
Human magnetism works on the same principle. Whenever you will something to happen, a ray of energy goes out, projected by the power of your thought. That energy generates a magnetic force-field which can attract to you the objects of your expectations. The strength of that magnetism depends on your level of energy. People of low energy generate very little magnetism. Those with high energy can perform miracles.
“The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy” was one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s oft-stated maxims. The more you focus your energy one-pointedly, the stronger your magnetism to attract what you need. Concentration is thus the first necessity in developing that kind of will power. If your energy goes out in many different directions, you have very little magnetism. When you can focus your mind one-pointedly, you are already far on the way to developing a powerful will and the magnetism to attract success.
Step Two: Enthusiasm
For your magnetism to gain power, it is vitally important to summon up strong feeling for what you want to accomplish. Whatever you are doing, do it with all your heart. Magnetism is the result not only of focused energy but also of enthusiasm.
It has been said that nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm. Thomas Edison, for example, went through 43,000 experiments before he found the right filament for the light bulb—such was his deep feeling for the work he was doing. If you look at the lives of great scientists, you will find that they were passionate men and women and absolutely dedicated to the search for scientific truth. They could never have accomplished what they did without enthusiasm.
Always be careful to keep your enthusiasm from spilling over into excitement. For the will to become will power, it must be directed calmly, with control. As that happens, even when others have failed, somehow you will succeed.
Step Three: Positive Thinking 
To develop magnetism, always be positive in your thinking. You will attract success if your mind is positive, and you will attract failure if it isn’t. A positive attitude will bring a positive response.
I had a very interesting experience of this principle at the airport in 1955, when I was leaving for France. When checking in at the airline counter, I stood behind a man whose baggage was obviously overweight. This man, when told he had to pay more, became very upset and made threats about not using that airline in the future. He even asked to see the manager. The angrier he got, the firmer the airline official became in his refusal to back down.
My baggage was much heavier than this man’s, but as I went up to the counter I thought, “This man is a friend. God is in this form,” and with that positive thought, I smiled at him. He looked at my baggage and said, “Well, what have we got here?” And without another word he allowed my baggage to go through. When your thoughts are positive, when they’re kind and helpful, you will find that others will want to help you.
I passed my music composition exam in college using this same principle. I didn’t go to any classes, but right before going in to take the exam, I read the bold print rules in the textbook. Two rules stuck in my mind, one of which was that a bass line should go in the opposite direction to the melody. Armed with this information, and with a very positive, cheerful outlook, I went in to take the exam.
We were asked to write a melody for a bass line. Suddenly, into my mind came a beautiful oriental melody. Later, the professor told me that it was on the strength of that melody that he gave me a good grade in the course.
The inspiration for that melody came because I was positive in my expectations and free of doubt. If you have doubt, if you think, “Well, gee, I don’t know if I can do this,” inspiration won’t come. But if all your energy is strongly focused in a positive direction, you will develop the kind of magnetism that will attract inspiration, answers to questions—all sorts of things. Even the right, pertinent knowledge can be attracted by the right, magnetic expectation.
Step Four: Solution Consciousness
“Solution consciousness” is another important aspect of magnetism.  Many people have “problem consciousness.” You ask them to do something and their response is always: “Yes, but!”  People like that never succeed. Whenever you have a problem, don’t think of it as a problem. See it as an opportunity. You will be amazed how much you can accomplish when you eliminate the word “can’t.”
Yogananda was very strong on solution consciousness. During World War II, he wanted to build a church in Hollywood, but new buildings were not allowed in Los Angeles.  Everybody told him, “It’s not possible.” He said, “Oh, yes it is.” Since there was no law against renovation, he found an old building that was barely standing and moved it on to property he had bought. The neighbors complained bitterly but he developed the building into a beautiful church.
Don’t dwell on difficulties longer than it takes to define them clearly. With solution-consciousness you can have success. Solution-consciousness actually attracts right answers to itself, whereas problem-consciousness prevents answers from even arising in the mind.
Step Five: Kindness
An attitude of kindness is also important for magnetism. Kindness is very magnetic. When people are kind, they draw other people’s help in return. In true kindness, there is much more giving than receiving. True kindness is an all-giving energy.
Paramhansa Yogananda was all-giving in just this way. Once he went to a cane shop, and being a representative of an organization, he wanted to spend the organization’s money wisely, so he bargained. After bargaining and getting the best price he could, he thought, “This man has such a poor shop. I want to help him.” And he gave him back more money than he had saved!
The shopkeeper said, “You are a gentleman, sir.” He gave Yogananda the best cane he had. When Yogananda came home, he said, “What a poor floor that man had. I think I’ll get him a new floor.” That kind of kindness is what you need to develop.
The more you give generously of yourself—to God, to life, to other people, the more the karmic law supports you in return. Your ability to succeed in business, or in any other endeavor, increases to the extent of your awareness of your kinship with the great web of life.
Step Six: Non-attachment
One of the basic teachings in the Bhagavad Gita is nishkam karma: action without desire for the fruits of action. Many self-help books say you should desire intensely whatever you want, for that very intensity will draw to you the object of your desire. When desire and attachment exist, however, what you attract may not be what you need or it may be much less than you could have had. When putting out energy to achieve a goal, it is much better to focus on the energy flow itself, not the specific objective, even when your need is for a specific sum of money.
Years ago members of Ananda Village were invited to pledge different amounts of money to help with the enhancement of “downtown Ananda.” We needed $3000 to pave the entrance driveway. I knew that no one else could come up with that kind of money so I decided (secretly) to pledge the whole amount myself, even though I didn’t have nearly that amount. The money was needed in two weeks.
Although I made a request for a specific sum of money, in praying to Divine Mother I concentrated on the energy of the prayer, rather than the specific request. With great will power, I projected the energy of the prayer upward from my heart and then out through the spiritual eye. I didn’t visualize a specific sum of money or how the money might come. Instead I focused on the purpose this money was meant to serve with the thought, “Divine Mother knows more than I, and will take care of that end of things.”
One morning nearly two weeks later I saw an envelope lying on the floor inside my front door. In it was a letter and check for $3000 from a friend who had once lived at Ananda and had recently received an inheritance.
When you act with non-attachment, you can be sure of one thing: when success comes, it will be in the best possible way. Whatever you need, send energy outward as a “loving demand.”  Energy flows much more forcefully when you think of it as a flow, without fixed and definite goals.
Step Seven: Attune to a Greater Reality
The power to attract success of every kind increases in direct proportion to your ability to recognize, and attune yourself to, a reality greater than your own. The more you unite your awareness to the Infinite Consciousness, the more effective your power will be. What you can on your own do is limited but what God can accomplish through you is limitless.
It’s absolutely thrilling to live life this way and to experience how much can be accomplished. I want to assure you of this because in hard times, there will be a lot of suffering. But you don’t have to suffer if you put out the right kind of energy.
From an April 2011 talk in Los Angeles, California.