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Inspirational Article


Why is Life so Full of Tests?

by Paramhansa Yogananda

From Inner Culture Magazine, April 1941

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Through tests we learn life's lessons. Tests are not meant to crush us: They are to develop our powers. They come through the natural law of progress and are necessary for us to advance from lower to higher steps.

Mind is the source of all your troubles and all your happiness. You really are stronger than all your tests. If you don't realize it now, you will have to realize it later. God has given you the power to control your mind and body and thus be free from pain and sorrow. Never say, "I am through." Do not poison your mind by thinking that if you walk a little more you will over-exert yourself, or if you cannot get certain foods you will suffer, and so on.

Never allow your mind to entertain thoughts of illness or limitation: You will see your body change for the better. Remember that mind is the power that is creating this body, and if the mind is weak, the body becomes weak. Don't grieve or worry about anything.

If you strengthen your mind, you will not feel bodily pains. No matter what happens, you must be absolutely free in your mind. As in a dream, you may think that you are ill but, awakened by a slap, you see it is not true. So in the state of wakefulness you must know that this life is also nothing but a dream. Mind has no connection with the body apart from what connection you give it. When your mind can completely remain apart from the body at will, you will be free. Remember that you are immortal.

In order to pass life's tests, you will need rejuvenation in both body and mind. You will need to develop elasticity of the mind. If you can't meet life's tests, you will be helpless when trials and tribulations come.

At times life seems to be a cruel game. The only justification for it is that in reality it is only a dream. You have had many experiences through many incarnations and you will have others in future incarnations, but they should not frighten you. You must play all parts in the motion picture of life, inwardly saying, "I am Spirit." This is the great consolation that wisdom gives us.

Realize the presence of the Infinite. Behold God, your own Father, your own Spirit, behind the shadows. In your heart of hearts realize this, no matter what your impulses dictate. Let nothing sit on the throne of your heart but God. If you love God's creation more than God, you will be disillusioned. God must be first, last, and always. Do not follow the dictates of this earthly dreamland, for dreams sometimes turn into nightmares. Break this dream delusion by waking in God, and you will be safe forever.