Sample Chapter

Living Wisely, Living Well

Timeless Wisdom to Enrich Every Day
by Swami Kriyananda

Humor arises out of a sudden release of tension with the introduction of some unexpected incongruity. This release, if followed by an upward relaxation into the higher Self, may give a fleeting glimpse of soul-joy. Let this year’s "April Fool's Day," then, bring you upward release into the happiness of your inner being, and not draw you down into whirlpools of mockery and cynicism.
Generosity in victory is self-conquest. It loosens the shackles of pride, and fills one with a deep sense of inner gratitude.
If you have a good idea, it may be "the better part of valor" to discuss it with those only who share your ideals. Protect it from people who might jeer, simply because it fails to conform with their preconceptions. Let your confidence gain strength before exposing the idea to human goats, who take pleasure in nibbling on other people's inspirations.
Attachments are self-limiting—like prison bars. Ah, but see! Between the bars there is space. If you concentrate on that space, the bars will disappear: they consist only of your own "iron” stubbornness, its atoms being your repeated affirmation of a false reality.
To achieve inner freedom, make a mental bonfire every night, before you go to sleep, of all your attachments, self-definitions, desires, and aversions. Nothing that can be measured, weighed, timed, or hoarded can ever truly belong to you. Toss into the flames, piece by piece, every obstacle to your inner peace. Feel your joy soaring skyward, as your limitations, one by one, go up in smoke.
Make it a point today to tell someone whom you love, “I deeply appreciate you for what you are, for what you have done for others, and for what you have given me.” Never take anyone close to you for granted.
Make it a point this day to single out someone whose worth many have failed to appreciate. Take the time to show him or her your appreciation. (That person must, after all, have some admirable quality! Emphasize it.)
Welcome any suggestion for improving your ideas. At the same time, protect them from others’ meddling. Be clear in your mind as to your true intentions.
Purity, innocence, and an absence of selfish motive: these, together, form a diadem more brilliant than that displayed on any emperor’s brow.
Let nothing tempt you ever to compromise an ideal. Morality is not a question of convention. The Ten Commandments are engraved in human nature on tablets of light. The true reason why theft, violence, murder, and other crimes are wrong is that they hurt first of all the perpetrator himself, condemning him to ever-deeper dungeon levels in the rock fortress of his egoism. If you arm yourself, however, with truthfulness, honesty, and integrity, you will emerge someday into perfect soul freedom.
Tune into others’ inner realities. Though the words you speak be similar, your realities may be as different as unrelated languages.
Be more concerned with understanding others than with being understood by them. They too, then, will usually give you their support.
Be “solution-oriented,” not “problem-oriented.” Problem consciousness only draws to itself more problems, as flypaper draws flies. But solution consciousness, like a magnet, attracts answers and shines a bright light onto every difficulty.
Be happy in yourself. If, in a plea for happiness, you hold out a begging bowl to life, the bowl will remain always empty.
Don’t confuse intelligence with cleverness. True intelligence isn’t only cerebral. Its roots lie in clear feeling. Cleverness usually indicates only narrow feelings.
See every problem as an opportunity. Whenever you demolish the obstacles before you, your power for ultimate victory will increase.
Be restful in your heart. A quiet spirit will help you instantly to resolve problems that might otherwise require days, weeks, or even months of fretful pondering—and even then you wouldn’t be certain of the rightness of your decision.
Speak kindly to animals. As human beings are helped upward in their evolution by keeping saintly company, so animal evolution is hastened by association with human beings. You yourself will be helped also, if you extend a helping hand to creatures lower than yourself on the evolutionary scale.
Seek upliftment in the company you keep. Others’ magnetism will affect you, whether for good or evil. Make it a point to mix more with people who radiate goodness. Live, if possible, with spiritually minded people. Especially, seek out and live in a community whose members are dedicated to living by high principles.
In any magnetic interchange, what you give out to others will affect what you receive from them. To ensure the greatest protection from all harmful influences, try to act as a channel of divine blessings to all.
Eat either alone or in uplifting company. When one is eating, he places himself in a frame of mind to absorb energy. He is then more open than usual to the vibrations around him. In public eating places, the vibrations are heterogeneous. There, be centered more than usually in the spine. Otherwise, visit such places with true friends. And always eat in harmony.
Gaze into the eyes of people whose magnetism you’d like to attract. Avoid, on the other hand, the gaze of those whose magnetism might adversely affect your inner peace. Your eternal duty in life is to emerge from the swamp of ignorance, which breeds the pestilence of suffering. Avoid contact with anyone whose magnetism might draw you downward. Delusion keeps people in error for countless incarnations; it has its own dark magnetism. Those who seek truth must avoid ignorance as they would a contagious disease. Avoid especially the brooding gaze of those who live only to gratify their senses.
Don’t ask more of others than you would ask of yourself.
The vibratory interchange between the sexes generates a strong magnetism. Maintain, therefore, a discreet mental distance from, and minimize your contact with, those of the other sex whose consciousness is sensual or worldly. As much as possible, avoid contact of the eyes or hands. (A handclasp creates two horseshoe magnets: the one upward, uniting the upper bodies; the other downward, uniting the lower.) With such people, take care to be centered in the Self.
A principle of magnetic interchange between people is that the stronger magnet always influences the weaker, never the reverse. Unless your inner strength is great, never think yourself capable of uplifting others merely by the exercise of good will.
Keep a spiritual bodyguard, especially when circumstances require you to mix with uncongenial people. The magnetism of two is stronger than that of one. When moving in a crowd, try never to go alone; always have a few friends around you. If you must be in crowds, imagine yourself haloed by an aura of light. Consciously emanate vibrations of love and joy all around you. One evening, years ago, I was obliged to enter the nightclub district of San Francisco. As I went, I silently chanted, “Sri Ram, jai Ram, jai jai Ram.” I was aware of tentacles of negativity reaching out to grab me, but they slipped by without even touching me.
Sow seeds of faith, where others have sown doubt.
Be grateful always—to others, to life, to God. Express appreciation for everything. Appreciation and gratitude—even for such tests as suffering—will attract to you the blessing of increasing abundance.
Let others feel your support in their worthwhile undertakings. Even if they do something of which you don’t approve, let them feel your support for what they are.
To break a person’s will is a sin before God. Allow others to develop at their own pace, to make their own mistakes, to learn their own lessons. How else will they ever evolve, spiritually?

See Also: Intro  

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