“Boing-Back Yoga” — How to Have Common Sense in the Spiritual Life

Many people who come onto the spiritual path end up doing “Boing-Back Yoga.”

“I’m going to fast on orange juice for three days a week!”

“I’ll get up at four every morning and meditate every day!”

“I’m going to work all day and live on nothing but fruit and water!”

If you have a strong will, you may be able to do it for a time, until you “boing back” because there’s nothing underneath it.

It’s nearly always due to a lack of common sense. Sometimes it’s poor self-esteem that makes us desperate to prove ourselves: “If I do this I’ll be spiritual enough and God will accept me!”

But if you’re a well-integrated person, you’ll have common sense. You’ll know when to say “Yes” and “No,” from your own solid understanding.

If you’re well-grounded and acting from common sense, within the context of your nature, you’ll find that a strange thing happens – you’ll get support everywhere.

The answer is to be calmly yourself, and able to say “This is my way.”

If you’re trying to do something good, but people don’t see the value, you should ask if you’re being realistic.

We need to check our actions against reality. How are people responding? Are we receiving their support and feeling God’s approval? When you come to the right terms with yourself, everything clicks.

That’s been my experience in the Ananda communities. A spiritual community tends to develop an atmosphere of what I call “magnetic honesty.”

I’ve seen in that people may be terribly ignorant about certain things, or appalling in their behavior, but their ignorance tends to balance out against other people’s wisdom. In a community where people are giving their lives to God, He seems to take a hand in human affairs to keep everything in balance.

In a community where everyone is absolutely sincere about trying to open their hearts to God, the feedback you get will be true. You’re going against common sense, and you’re receiving negative feedback, but when you finally get yourself aligned with truth you find that the feedback suddenly changes and you’re finding lots of support.

Whether we live in a spiritual community or somewhere else, we need to listen with discrimination and true humility. This is acting with common sense.

A woman asked about a rule we have in our communities, that you have to be a member of the Ananda Sangha before you can live in the community

She said, “What does that mean?”

Gary McSweeney, our community manager, said, “First you have to sign over everything you possess to me.”

She said, “I’m not going to do that!!”

He said, “Good. You have enough common sense to live here.”

I thought it was a good approach – humorous and true. Because you need to have common sense if you want to make spiritual progress.

meditation helps us stay grounded in reality. Meditation puts us in contact with the inspiration to move ahead realistically, in harmony with truth.

Imagine that you have a great fear. The first step to resolve the fear is to face it squarely: Of what am I afraid?

You go into your heart in meditation and feel the presence of Spirit, and then you can ask that question. You can’t ask that question sitting out on the edge of your awareness because the monsters of fear are too big. But when you’re aligned and silent and in the presence of the Master, you can say “What am I afraid of?” And then you feel the answer in a context that doesn’t frighten you, because there is the calm hand of God.

Meditation lets you feel safe enough to ask the deepest questions. It’s an environment where you can ask anything. It’s a situation in which you’re calm and safe enough to find out what you’re afraid of, and to receive help.

In Joy,


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