Monday, June 27, 2016

Finding Peace in a Peaceless World

(Note: This will be sent to members and students of Ananda Seattle)

We’d be willing to bet that you may be finding that you are busier than ever before; that life is moving faster and more unpredictably than ever before. What’s going on? Is this some conspiracy? Is it toxins in our water, air, or food?

Paramhansa Yogananda’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, published only one book in his life: “The Holy Science.” In its introduction (written in 1894), he made a number of predictions for the 20th century and into the future based on a very technical analysis of astronomy using ancient Indian teachings and science. Among those predictions included the prediction that the average life span of humans would soon begin to increase. Another similar prediction relates to the average height of humans.(1)

The National Center for Health Statistics says that in 1907 the life expectancy for men was 45.6 years; by 1957 it rose to 66.4 years; and, in 2007 it reached 75.5.

Quoting from the website Our World in Data (org), it says that average height over the last two millennia hovered around 170 cm. “With the onset of modernity, we see a massive spike in heights in the developed world.”

But the most important prediction Sri Yukteswar made was that humanity would very soon discover that all matter is, in essence, a condensation of energy. That year was 1905 and the person who did that was Albert Einstein. Einstein proved that energy and matter are interchangeable! At its most elemental level, we call this the dawn of the Atomic Age. (1)

As humanity reaps the windfall (both blessings and curses) of this discovery, it has, and continues to rapidly convert the “matter” of fixed ideas and customs (politics, religion, science, art and culture) into a maelstrom of high energy potentials! The pace is not about to abate any time soon, because  Swami Sri Yukteswar further predicted this trend would continue for some two thousand years! We can only hope, for the sake of everyone, that the rate of change will gradually diminish.

This shift of awareness is upending and challenging traditional attitudes, customs, and power structures. From the “hard” view that matter (including our bodies and ego) are the bedrock reality to the “soft” view that we are all connected and interchangeable, is a rough and tumble journey generating conflict and confusion everywhere.

We see the past vs the future; haves vs have nots; sustainable living patterns vs destructive ones; racial conflicts; gender revolutions; international, national and local conflicts; global vs local interests; religious conflicts; personal liberties vs social mores or responsibilities; political upheaval; and on and on! Paramhansa Yogananda warned audiences that future conflicts and catastrophic events precipitated by the transition from one epoch of human awareness to a higher one would have to come first before a prolonged period of peace born of the new awakening.

Into this maelstrom of lifestyles, conflicts and confusion has come the gift of peace: the practice of yoga (meaning, meditation supported by physical yoga). This is the gift of the “gods” (meaning our higher nature, divinely inspired).

The practice of meditation, supported by hatha yoga, was brought to the West in 1920 by its foremost proponent, Paramhansa Yogananda . “Divine vision,” Yogananda wrote in his classic life story, “Autobiography of a Yogi,” is “center everywhere, circumference nowhere.” In a world view of billions of galaxies with no discernable center, we can discover that “the kingdom of heaven” is “within you.” There is no certitude or safety in money, position, reputation or talent. The source of our calmness, strength, and happiness lies in the “portable paradise” of peace within us.

If you want to walk with courage, confidence, and calmness amidst the “crash of (our) breaking worlds,” meditation is for you.

Take the time, therefore, each and every day, to put aside the world of duties and distractions, affix your inner gaze at the point between the eyebrows, open your heart, and calming your breath, come to the only reality there is: THE PRESENT MOMENT. This “point of singularity” is the “throne” of God, creator of all that is and it is your very SELF! “Be still,” the Psalmist counsels, “and know that I AM God.”

Joy to you,

Nayaswamis Hriman and Padma

(1) See either the Introduction to the book, "Holy Science" published by Self-Realization Fellowship, or, a more complete and fascinating analysis in the book, "The Yugas," by Joseph Selbie and David Steinmetz, published by Crystal Clarity Publishers