The Swell of Gratitude

“What are you grateful for?” There is a restaurant in LA called “Cafe Gratitude” where the waiter asks you this question (or another thought provoking one) during your meal. Their menu item names are quite ambitious: “Immortal,” “Liberated,” “Pure,” “Enthusiastic,” etc. What makes it even more fun is when they bring your order they affirm your soul quality through the dish’s name. Your waiter exclaims with the verve of a veganatic, “You are Enthusiastic!” If you’re not feeling all that …

What You Want vs. What You Really Want

Swami Kriyananda said, “Sometimes what you want and what you really want are miles apart.” I’m extremely grateful for the times that I received direct (and I mean Direct!) guidance from Swamiji. I had lots of ideas and many of them were not quite on target. Swamiji was usually subtle and understated in the direction he gave and rarely gave it at all, but at times, he could be blunt. When I asked for his guidance on moving to the …

Entitlement Entanglement

A major pitfall in life, not to mention the spiritual path, is an attitude of entitlement. Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Who does he think he is?” or “What makes her think she can talk to me that way?” or “I deserve better than that!” or “Surely, I don’t have to do that!” (Note italics for emphasis!) To survive “Entitlement Entanglements” try the following: Realize that no one owes you anything and you’re not too good for any circumstance. …

One Moment in the Presence of A Saint

Have you ever initiated a contagious yawning spell among your friends? Perhaps you started yawning now that you’ve read that word twice in two sentences. Oh no! I just started a contagious yawning spell! I hope you’re not reading this while driving. I first heard of contagious yawning and mirror neurons from my friend, Dr. Peter Van Houten. Research suggests that the neurons that fire in our brain when we are physically performing an action are the same neurons that …

Kindness Softens the Human Heart

This past weekend I watched “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” an inspiring documentary on the life of Fred Rogers (well known for his children’s show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”). I was deeply touched by his life story and especially how he connected with children in a meaningful and uplifting way. Children were drawn to him like a magnet, not because he wore a goofy hat, dressed up, made jokes, or did magic tricks, but because he sincerely cared for them. He …

Jackhammer Karma

Being in LA has a number of superficial perks – a variety of great restaurants, temperate climate, wonderful museum exhibits, etc. but everything in this world has its pluses and minuses. A big minus I’ve discovered in the past 2 years is… the jackhammer! We have the good fortune to live in a beautiful neighborhood called Hancock Park, with immaculately landscaped yards and giant, beautiful homes. About 3 years ago, a law was passed to help alleviate the housing crisis …

“The Questionless Realm of Inner Joy”

My mother used to tell me, “the dumbest question is the one not asked.” I’m finally starting to take her advice! So I have some questions: Who am I? What is my life’s purpose? What is it all for? Have you ever asked yourself these kind of questions? At Ananda during our “Festival of Light” we say: Thank you, Swami Kriyananda, for writing the “Festival of Light” because it expresses the wordless anguish of my heart. Of course, we want …

The Secret of Right Action

Recently, while Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi visited Los Angeles, I had a powerful and humbling dream. Many times my dreams give me a hint (or in this case a knockout punch) as to what effort I need to be putting out for my spiritual growth. The dream setting was a beautiful temple during a Kriya Yoga Initiation. Narayan and I had the honor of serving as blessers during the ceremony, along with Jyotish and Devi. Narayan was there, Jyotish and …

Cell Phone Yama Sutras

One time I lamented to Swami Kriyananda that I couldn’t see light in meditation. I felt like I was a lackluster meditator. He told me, “It’s good to see the light. But if you don’t, concentrate on that aspect of God that you do experience.” This was a helpful answer for me at the time as I was struggling then (as I am still now!) with restlessness in my meditation. How do we battle restlessness in meditation? A few years …

“The Whirling Rainbow” – Prophecy

About eight years ago at Ananda Village Swami Kriyananda dedicated a piece of land (called Sunset Ridge) for a temple site. I was part of the group. Right after Swamiji dug up a ceremonial piece of earth, we looked up to the sun and noticed something spectacular. I’d never seen it before (or since). It was a full circle rainbow around the circumference of the sun. I had forgotten this experience until Nayaswami Jyotish shared during Swami Kriyananda’s birthday celebration …