What does balance consist of? Paramahansa Yogananda's
teachings show us an ideal that encompasses the material, psychological
and emotional, and spiritual aspects of our lives-an ideal that
is tremendously motivating and inspiring.
We all want to have a healthy body, our mind to be alert
and our emotions and feelings to contribute to harmonious and
fulfilling relationships with those around us. And above all,
we very much want and need to connect with the spiritual side
of our being- with that most natural and all-satisfying part of
ourselves, our soul; and with God. However, to achieve that balance
we have to invest some energy and time;
we have to make it happen through a definite plan and effort.
There are many parts of our life that we need
to bring into balance, so many of which seem to conflict with
each other: responsibilities to our family; earning a living;
maintaining our health; giving attention to our spiritual lives;
keeping up with the deluge of information required to function
in the world today; community or church activities; and a myriad
of other demands on our time and energy. To balance all these
aspects of our life we need something to balance them on, some
point of equilibrium. The more complex our lives become, the more
we need to realize that there is only one reliable point of balance-and
that is God. There is no other answer. When you look at life with
clear understanding, it all boils down to this: Balance means
finding God; and finding God means meditation.
Paramahansaji said, "Why spend all your
valuable time in seeking perishable things? Why not spend your
time seeking God first through deep meditation until you actually
contact Him? When you commune with Him you will receive the imperishable
treasures of heaven and all you need of the perishable material
benefits of this life."
To find time to seek God we have to simplify
our lives. Lord Buddha put it very succinctly: "Those
who have cows have care of cows." Analyze your life: How
much time do you put into caring for all the unnecessary "necessities"---the
"toys" that the media and advertisements have made you
believe you can't live without?
ways to bring God into your life every day as much as possible.
Take a moment to let the mind go within, become aware of
the spiritual eye, and even though you may be very busy with work,
repeat, "For You, God, for You." Then go on with your
duties. That constant reminder, that bringing the mind back to
the focus point, helps us keep our inner balance.
Making time for recreation and wholesome activities
you enjoy is a necessary component of spiritual and psychological
balance. In the long run you will get much more accomplished in
your work and in your spiritual life-and you will be healthier
physically-if you remember this. Ideally, the week should consist
of five days working at your regular job; the sixth given to relaxing,
recreation, doing things around the home; and the seventh day
should be for deepening your relationship with God.
The world would be vastly different today if
people recognized the deep wisdom in the
scriptural commandment: "Keep holy the Sabbath." Out
of seven days in a week, one should be reserved for seeking
God and meditating, reading inspirational books, putting in as
much spiritual effort as possible. It is a mistake to feel
you are just too busy to give time for this.
Ultimately, the secret of balance is to put first
things first-and that means seeking God. We continually delude
ourselves that "No, I have to do this; I can't afford to
miss that"--and so we end up putting off meditation, or forgoing
it completely. We have to discipline ourselves to overcome that.
Schedule your life; plan a balanced routine of meditation so that
you're getting a certain
amount every day, and then follow it. Should you fail on occasion,
just try again. Just keep on. When you make the determination,
"I will do it, no matter what," you will see a wonderful
change come into your life.
Keep on keeping on. That's the whole secret of
spiritual success: Never give up! You are a divine soul; and the
pressures and stresses you feel can never dim that radiant spark
of divinity within you. They are simply challenges to be faced
and overcome, joyously! You already have within you everything
you need to do so. All you have to do is uncover it.
Achalananda is a monk in the Self-Realization Fellowship monastic
communities founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the siritual
of a Yogi and
widely regarded as one of the preeminent spiritual figures of
our time. This fall, Brother Naradananda, another longtime
monk and disciple, will present a public lecture series in Portland
on Yogananda's universal teachings from 15-17 September. For further
information about the series, please call (503) 254 6773