By Nayaswami Narayan
January 8, 2019

Did you know that “I” is the most common pronoun in the English language? I (Egad, it just came out!) guess that’s not a big surprise. We like to talk about ourselves. Not only to others, but probably more so to ourselves.

How do you speak to yourself? Perhaps you’ve beaten yourself up recently. I don’t mean physically, but rather some old school mental self-flagellation. You know, those kind of negative self deprecating thoughts that tell you everything that is wrong with yourself. I suspect we all have excelled in this area at some point in our lives!

Who is this “I”? When asked who we are, the normal response is related to what we do or have outwardly, such as: “I am a doctor” or “ I am wealthy”, “I am poor.” When we use “I” in this outward sense (either in an inferiority or superiority complex), it’s what Ramakrishna called the “unripe use of I.”

On the other hand, he also talked about the “ripe I”. For example, “I love you God. I am your devotee. I am your servant, Lord.” When we use “I” to identify our true essence and spirit, it is ripe fruit for Divine Mother to pluck from the tree of devotion in our hearts.

How do we cultivate and grow this “ripe use of I”? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Upon waking in the morning say, “This is the day You have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
  2. Affirm, “This day shall be the best day of my life. Today I will start with a new determination to dedicate my devotion forever at the feet of omnipresence.”
  3. Repeat this line from Yogananda’s poem Samadhi:
    Present, past, future, no more for me,
    But ever-present, all-flowing I, I, everywhere.
  4. Practice the superconscious living exercises saying, “I am positive, energetic, enthusiastic.”
  5. When someone asks you how you are, respond by saying, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (Note: only try this one if they’re a good friend as strangers will think you’re crazy.)
  6. Pray to Divine Mother to give you pure love and devotion. Chant “Lord, I am Thine” by Swami Kriyananda.
  7. Meditate daily and feel your connection with God within affirming (again a line from Samadhi):
    Eternity and I, one united ray.
    A tiny bubble of laughter, I
    Am become the Sea of Mirth Itself.

May the fruit of your little “i” ripen until you become one with the Infinite I Himself!

Joy to you!
Nayaswami Narayan