What Does It Take to Find True Happiness?

“God reads the heart,” is an important point on the spiritual path. It isn’t enough to put on a good show for others; we must cultivate the truth in our hearts.

Swami Kriyananda sometimes mentions that he has never given in to a bully, not even as a child. Even when he was overpowered by a bigger boy, he wouldn’t give in. It was a matter of principle – bullying is wrong.

In his autobiography, The Path: My Life With Paramhansa Yogananda, Swamiji recalls an incident in which he was beaten badly by a classmate but mentally never surrendered. From that point, the bully never bothered him again.

Swamiji knew how to behave. Standing up for truth proved a more powerful force than mere physical might.

When I was 20 years old and just one year on the path, I gained an insight that has helped me ever since. I was harmonious in my closest relationships, but the harmony wasn’t always sincere. Often I wanted to disagree. Sometimes I desperately wanted to disagree, but I was afraid that if I wasn’t “nice” the people close to me wouldn’t like me anymore.

After a time, it occurred to me that I wasn’t being nice at all – I was simply being afraid. Big difference! The goal of the spiritual path is freedom. My fear often compelled me to violate my conscience. Not a good situation.

Previously, I had put all of my energy into the desire to avoid being disharmonious. After that insight, I directed my efforts to overcoming my fear.

Paramhansa Yogananda said that it is not enough to be good simply because it is our habit. We need to develop goodness as a spontaneous expression of a pure heart. And a pure heart is free of fear.

In Autobiograpy of a Yogi, Yogananda tells the story of how he was on the point of swatting a mosquito, when he remembered the principle of ahimsa. His guru, Sri Yukteswar, said that he might as well go ahead and swat the mosquito, since he had wished it dead already in his mind.

This is where meditation comes in. The source of our actions and attitudes—all of our karma—is the pattern of energy in our chakras. Our spiritual practices—affirmation, right behavior, chanting, prayer, etc.—help to harmonize this energy.

By meditating deeply, we can change those patterns directly. As we practice, day by day, year after year, we find our lives changing in wonderful ways. This is a much more “efficient” way to advance toward a better life, than to try to change ourselves piecemeal, one habit at a time.

In Joy,

Nayaswami Asha

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