As we enter the holiday season, many of us have experienced the New Year's Eve countdown to some extent. Typically, New Year's is a time when people stay up late and indulge in excess, hoping to forget the past year and usher in the new one with a festive celebration among friends. Unfortunately, one wakes up with a hangover and the same problems from the previous year!
Our life's movement (or countdown) should guide us toward a genuine celebration of Spirit. New Year's Eve parties are frequently an illustration of living for rather than in the moment. Acronyms like YOLO ("You Only Live Once") often justify unrestrained inebriation. However, the spiritual countdown acronym should be LITEN ("Live In The Eternal Now").
What we genuinely desire behind the wine and "good times" is the eternal joy of God. So why not seek divine joy directly? In the final years of his life, Swami Kriyananda's email address was "firstname.lastname@example.org." What a remarkable example of aligning oneself with the path of Self-realization and Man's eternal quest for God's joy! Through his example, he conveyed a message akin to that of Jesus Christ, "Seek sacred joy first, and all other joys will follow."
In line with his email address, Swamiji once said, "Love is bliss in motion." In his presence, one could often sense a spiritual countdown in progress. However, it wasn't an outward, excited restlessness but a serene, silent journey towards divine bliss. His life was an invitation, an inspiration, to embark on the spiritual countdown towards awakening.
So, where is our spiritual countdown leading us? And how do we reach our destination from here? (This reminds me of a delightful joke Nayaswami Devi shared in one of her blogs here.)
Try the holy trinity spiritual countdown:
"Three (the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son, and Mother or Holy Spirit)
...will obliterate your two (the duality of delusion)
and guide you to the only One."
Experiment with these spiritual countdown practices:
- Attempt the triangle (Holy Trinity) breath: For calming the mind in meditation, Yogananda recommended maintaining an even count for all three phases of breathing—inhalation, retention, and exhalation. Try inhaling for a count of 3, holding for 3, and exhaling for 3. Increase the count only as far as you can comfortably, without tension.
- Gaze upon an image of the spiritual eye, which Paramhansa Yogananda described as the epitome of the Trinity. The outer gold ring represents the Holy Spirit or Cosmic Energy, and the blue field symbolizes Christ consciousness. Through the silvery-white five-pointed star, we can reach the ever-new blessedness of God the Father beyond creation.
- Chant the Holy Trinity mantra, "Aum, Tat, Sat" (Mother, Son, Father).
- Meditate on God as the Divine Mother and the awakening of your latent Christ Self by focusing on the point between the eyebrows with love and devotion.
- Recite the "Demand to the Holy Trinity":
"O heavenly Trinity, Om, Tat, Sat, God the transcendent Father, God the immanent Christ consciousness, and God the Holy, Creative, Vibratory Force of all Creation! Grant me the wisdom to know Your truth! Through my self-effort and my acceptance of the law, help me ascend the golden ladder of realization, to stand at last on the shining summit of attainment, face to face with the One Spirit: Perfect, Everlasting Bliss!" -Whispers from Eternity by Paramhansa Yogananda