Touch of Light is taken from the popular blog entries of the same title. Like the facets of a beautiful diamond, each chapter’s topic is a small reflection of the brilliance of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. Paramhansa Yogananda came to the West in 1920, bringing a new vision of how to live. He lectured across the United States drawing thousands, and filling the largest auditoriums. Even after Yogananda’s passing in 1952, his Autobiography of a Yogi continues to inspire influential people such as George Harrison, Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek), and Steve Jobs.

What revolutionary teachings did Yogananda bring? He taught that meditation is not an archaic ritual relegated to monasteries, but a practice that can greatly improve our lives. When he came to the United States virtually no one here meditated. Now millions do. He taught practical techniques to control and strengthen will power and to draw energy from universal sources. And Yogananda taught that making God central to daily life can enhance and uplift everything we do.

Living these teachings reveals their power. Swami Kriyananda, disciple of Yogananda, created eight “world brotherhood colonies” where Yogananda’s principles have been practiced and proven for nearly fifty years.

The authors were fortunate to have Kriyananda’s training and friendship. They were also founding members of many of these communities. They know from experience that these teachings can improve all aspects of life—health, business, success, creativity, marriage, family, education, and spiritual development.

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Touch of Joy
By Nayaswamis Jyotish & Devi

Devi Novak

Devi Novak is one of the founding members of Ananda having lived at Ananda Village and several of its branch communities since 1969. She has served in various functions of community life, including being a community correspondent and a teacher at Ananda's Expanding Light retreat.

She is married to Jyotish Novak and together they serve as Spiritual Directors for Ananda Sangha Worldwide, which includes directing the spiritual activities of Ananda Village and Ananda Communities throughout the world. She travels and lectures extensively throughout the world on the topics of yoga, meditation, family spirituality and living the spiritual life. She is on the board of directors of Education for Life Foundation, the Janaka Foundation, and The Ananda Institute of Alternative Living.

Jyotish Novak

Jyotish (John) Novak has studied, practiced and taught meditation around the world for over 40 years. He came onto the spiritual path when he met Swami Kriyananda in 1966. Jyotish was a founding member of Ananda Village in Nevada City, California in 1968.

For its first ten years Jyotish served as General Manager of Ananda Village. He and his wife Devi started the first city ashram for Ananda in San Francisco in 1979. In 1984 Jyotish expanded Ananda's outreach and helped start the work in Europe. Jyotish currently serves as the Spiritual Director of Ananda worldwide.

Jyotish, who holds a BA in psychology, is the author of the best-selling book How to Meditate, along with 30 Day Essentials for Career and 30 Day Essentials for Marriage He also is the creator of Meditation Therapy(TM) and has three videos: Meditation Therapy for Stress & Change, Meditation Therapy for Relationships, and Meditation Therapy for Health & Healing.

Contents:

Introduction
Swami Kriyananda’s Legacy
The Power of God’s Grace
Lights! Camera! Right Action!
Beyond Drudgery
Three Ways to Feel God’s Presence
Baked Potato or Toast
Hopeless Beyond Compare
A Letter to Lorne
Expectations
What Does God Look Like?
Relaxation and Concentration
The Lesson of the Missing Crystal
Our Spiritual DNA
Whose Friend Are You, Anyway?
Self-Rating Your Spiritual Life
Signs and Wonders
Three Good Things
Tourist or Pilgrim?
The Secret Is Never to Compare
A Sense of Timing
Missing the Point
Living in the Flow
I Am the Christ Within
In 2014—Watch the Main Act, Not the Sideshow
The Long Drawn-Out Twins
A Book and Its Cover
Look to the Light
A Tale of Two Butterflies
Be Still and Know
Trusting First Impressions
Out of the Silence
What the Heart Says
The Power of Five Minutes
Under One Sky
Specific Gravity
Healing
The Sea
Getting Caught
Ten Tips for Meditation
One in the Light
Accepting Help
Obstacles or Opportunities?
Perseverance
The Language of Flowers
Kindness
A God-Shaped Hole
The Way Home
Tears with a Stranger
Divine Intervention
Who Is Divine Mother?
The Purpose of Life
Different Ways to Make Coffee
First Kriya Initiation
The Economy of God
The Hidden Environment
Discovering the Source of Love
Deepening Your Devotion
Saying Goodbye
Feeling Inadequate
Found in Translation
Discipleship
This Sod
The Spiral Stairway
The Cup and the Ocean
Taming the Restless Mind
Eternity in an Hour
Finding Babaji’s Cave
How Free Are We?
Free Will
How to Heal Relationships
Babaji’s Cave
With Grateful Hearts
The Tremendous Power of Meditation
Why Be Sad About Time’s Passing?
The Descent of the Christ
Making God’s Presence Dynamic in Your Life in 2015

Paramhansa Yogananda came to the West from India in 1920, bringing a new vision of how to live. He lectured across the United States drawing thousands, and filling the largest auditoriums in the country. During the three decades he lived in America, he met many of the well-known figures of the time: President Calvin Coolidge, industrialist Henry Ford, and agricultural inventor Luther Burbank, to name just a few.

Even after Yogananda’s passing in 1952, his Autobiography of a Yogi continues to inspire influential people such as George Harrison, Gene Roddenberry (creator of the Star Trek series), and Steve Jobs. He is widely known as the “Father of Yoga” in the West.

What are some of the revolutionary teachings that Yogananda brought to the American mindscape?

The Practice of Meditation Is Vitally Important
He taught that meditation is not an archaic ritual relegated to remote monasteries or caves, but that its practice can greatly improve our daily life. When he came to the United States virtually no one there meditated. Now millions do so regularly.

The Transformative Ability of Our Brain
Decades before scientists began to prove it as a fact, Yogananda stated that meditation actually changes and rejuvenates the cells of our brain for greater mental clarity and power.

The Use of Will Power to Draw Success
He taught practical techniques to control and strengthen will power and to draw energy from universal sources. This heightened energy magnetically attracts success, improved health, and solutions to problems in our daily life.

God Can Be Brought into All Aspects of Our Life
Perhaps most important of all, Yogananda taught that making God central to daily life can enhance and uplift everything we do. Paramhansa Yogananda’s message might be summed up as “A Practical Guide to Finding True Happiness in Life.”

But it’s only in the living of these teachings that their real power is revealed. Swami Kriyananda, a close, direct disciple of Yogananda, furthered his guru’s mission by creating eight “world brotherhood colonies” throughout the world. In these communities, Yogananda’s “How to Live” principles have been practiced on a daily basis for the past nearly fifty years, and their value has been proven.

We (Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi) are fortunate to have had the personal friendship, training, and guidance of Swami Kriyananda from the late 1960s until his passing in 2013. We have also been founding members of many of these communities, including the first one, Ananda World Brotherhood Village, in California. We know from experience that these teachings can improve all aspects of life—health, business, success, creativity, marriage, family, education, and spiritual development.

In 2013, after years of teaching these principles throughout the world, we started writing a short weekly blog called A Touch of Light. Our goal was to help people understand the practicality of Yogananda’s insights and to apply his wisdom to the challenges of daily life. The response from readers has been overwhelming. We receive emails and meet people all around the world telling us how much they enjoy and are helped by these bite-sized essays.

Increasingly, people have asked us, “Can you publish your letters in a book so that we can reread them and refer to them later?” So, here is our response: Touch of Light: Living the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Like the facets of a beautiful diamond, each weekly topic is a small reflection of the brilliance of one of the great spiritual figures of our time, Paramhansa Yogananda. His teachings, which reflect the light of all religions, can guide our life towards true inner happiness.

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi
Ananda World Brotherhood Village
January 2015

Swami Kriyananda’s Legacy

Swami Kriyananda passed away just over three months ago. He left an amazing legacy. First, there was the sheer volume of his accomplishments. He wrote 150 books, many of which clarified spiritual teachings in ways never done before. He not only started the nine existing Ananda communities, but also defined the whole modern spiritual community movement. Then, there is the beautiful music he created: Again, through those 450 pieces, he showed how music can be a carrier wave to uplift the consciousness.

Few of us can emulate all the things he did, but Swamiji left us a legacy also of consciousness, of attitudes and practices, that can guide each of us. Here are some that are guideposts in my life:

1) Constant attunement with Paramhansa Yogananda, and a constant practice of
being guided, even defined, by discipleship.

2) Daily practice of dharmic living. Sometimes Swamiji would go to great lengths to be truthful even in small ways. I remember once when he made a trip to Assisi to buy a newspaper simply because he had said that morning that he was going to do so. The two-hour trip had become unnecessary because someone had been to town and brought him one. Nevertheless, Swamiji made the journey in order to be true to his word. By acting dharmically in small ways, he prepared himself to keep his commitment to right action even when it brought serious difficulties.

3) Kindness and understanding. He was a living example of one of his basic principles: “People are more important than things.” In the days before his passing he made a farewell visit to many of the merchants in Assisi who had become his friends. In making decisions for Ananda, he always put the spiritual welfare of the individual ahead of organizational needs.

4) Great energy and laser-like concentration. When engaged in a book or project, his commitment and concentration brought a flow of grace that allowed him to work very quickly and at a very high level. Even toward the end of his life, he was writing books in a month or less.

These qualities—attunement, dharma, kindness, and concentration—are things we can all emulate ourselves. Thus, Swamiji’s beautiful legacy will continue to live and spread
throughout the world.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Jyotish