How to Know God!
We have inherited a medieval mindset when we unthinkingly relegate “God” to some distant universe of indifference or even some unfathomably vast distance from our own daily life and concerns. Yet the life and teachings of God-realized saints and masters are vibrant testimonies to God’s being our closest, and our nearest and dearest friend. God, Yogananda and others have reminded us, has everything, indeed, IS everything in creation. The only one thing God doesn’t possess is our love, our interest, and our attention. This only we can give of our own, free will.
We do not “see” God, or feel God’s presence in our lives, because of our preoccupation with our own thoughts, fears, desires, and activities. As Swami Sri Yukteswar noted in a meeting with a skeptical chemist who couldn’t isolate God in the laboratory, if you could but watch your thoughts for one day you would know why you haven’t “found” God!
In the chapter, “An Experience in Cosmic Consciousness” (in Autobiography of a Yogi), Paramhansa Yogananda was given that supernal experience by the grace of his guru, Sri Yukteswar. He was given the key to entering that blessed state at will, and to bestow that state upon others whose intuition was sufficiently developed to handle the experience. He would enter that state, he wrote, for months at a time. (Incredible to even think of it!).
Nonetheless, after some time, he asked his guru, “When will I find God?” Sri Yukteswar chuckled and commented that surely Mukunda (Yogananda’s pre-monastic, birth name) didn’t expect some bearded man on a throne in some corner of antiseptic space? Sri Yukteswar explained that meditation furnishes a two-fold proof of God: ever-new joy, convincing to one’s very atoms, and His adequate guidance to our every need. Yogananda replied that indeed he had found the joy of meditation bubbling up from the subconscious during daily activities, guiding him even in the smallest detail of his actions.
In fact, the superconscious state of our soul manifests itself to us in eight distinct forms of consciousness and feeling (Chitta): peace, wisdom, energy, love, calmness, Aum sound, light, and bliss. Each of these corresponds to the one of the chakras in ascending order (the sixth chakra has a negative pole at the medulla and a positive pole at the spiritual eye, hence “eight”). Each of these levels of consciousness gives us a gift, both an inward beatitude and an outward one.
For example, peace, the guardian of the higher seven states, washes us clean in meditation of the attachments of daily life, even while, outwardly it blesses us with peace emanations in our work and at home: such emanations are sometimes felt and appreciated by those around us. Wisdom is more than mere intellectual knowledge. It is grace. It is the vibration of purity and knowing: gnosis. The highest wisdom is to know the Self as the soul. Energy is the fire element that ignites our desire to find God in meditation and to walk the path of daily life with integrity. Love is devotion to God and love for God through our fellow man. Calmness gives us confidence and insight under stress and deep expansive vistas of space in meditation, as well as the beatitude felt when restless thoughts at last subside during meditation. The Aum vibration begins the last stage of our ascent to Oneness, for communion with Aum is entrance to higher realms, including communion with its companion, light, and final entrance into the final state of union in unalloyed Bliss.
When we contact any level of these eight aspects of God when are in direct contact with God. Thus even the beginning meditator can access the Divine presence easily. “The time for knowing God has come” Paramhansa Yogananda declared.
Blessings to you,
note: this was taken from a Sunday Service talk I gave on February 21. See http://www.anandaseattle.org/ to listen to the audio version.