[You can ask your own question here.]
I notice a tremendous difference day by day in my ability to meditate and follow spiritual discipline. And however my day begins -- devoted, restless, worldly -- it seems everything and everyone around me is on the same wavelength! Is this astrological or does each day just have its own vibration that I am tuning in to?
Yes, waves on the ocean constantly fluctuate, but the depths of the Ocean of Spirit remain unchanged. Whether we dive deep, or bob around on the surface, is a matter of where we put our attention.
The world is a reflection of our own consciousness. A Master lives in a constant state of Bliss; everywhere in creation he sees only Bliss.
Swami Kriyananda recently said that when he sees people suffering, his first thought is not of their present misery, but of how blissful they will feel when that suffering is dissolved in the realization of God. He feels compassion, but even in the moment their suffering to him seems only a prelude to joy -- a joy made even greater by the contrast with the present moment.
What an expansive vision of life!
Many forces try to keep us on the fluctuating surface of life. Astrological influences are real. There is group, national, and planetary karma as well, all acting on the ever-changing flow of our individual consciousness.
It can be helpful to observe these ebbs and flows of energy, but eventually, the goal of the spiritual path is to develop such powerful inner magnetism that we can be even-minded and cheerful no matter what is going on around us. "To stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds!" is the dynamic task Paramhansa Yogananda has given us.
To demonstrate his freedom from all outside influences, Yogananda sometimes asked astrologers to pick for him the worst day for certain enterprises, and then he would put out the energy to succeed in spite of those influences. He wanted us to understand both that these forces exist and also that man's willpower is greater than all external realities.
Yes, sometimes spiritual practice is effortless and sometimes everything in life seems to pull us away from it. God and Gurus do not expect of us perfection we are incapable of achieving. All that they ask is that we don't give up. That no matter how many times our discipline falters, we will pick ourselves up and start again.
We can wander for a long time, but in the end, our heart's divine longing will triumph over all other attractions, and will bring us back to our eternal home in God.
[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]