Many spiritual seekers find themselves in circumstances they feel are so adverse, that they are constantly in pain about their search for truth, and their devotion to God—finding it difficult to carry on their spiritual practices with any degree of regularity.
When we seek happiness from the world, and seek unconditional love from the people around us, our resulting experience usually leads us to the suspicion that maybe what we seek is not outside ourselves—but somewhere else.
It is this failure to find true, lasting, joy and love in this world that ultimately compels us to turn inward, back to the source, and ask, “How can I find lasting happiness?”; “How can I continue in my faith and keep going?”; “How can I feel connected to the Divine?”
I’ve been practicing the Kriya Yoga meditation of Paramhansa Yogananda from Ananda Sangha Delhi for some time now, and I’ve realised that a key element of success is Persistence. The path to God, like the path of true love, is never straight. The desire for God is the ultimate Divine Romance. It is a game of hide and seek that plays in the devotee’s heart and mind. Sometimes I experience God as joy, love, and light during expansion. Then, perhaps during the next meditation, I ask myself, “Where is He?” Despite all the seeming steps forward and back, I kept going. God is not a one-time goal to be achieved, but a companion on the path of life. He is my friend, my confidante, the one who loves me unconditionally, who knows my deepest thoughts and understands my feelings even when I don’t fully understand them.
So, my advice is, in every trial, remember Him. When you cannot feel Him as joy or bliss or love or light, feel His absence acutely so that it will drive you back to seeking him more intensly. Think of Him always, until the experience of God in all situations remains, and you are ever alive and joyful in God.
If sadness happens to assail you, remember the love and joy that is God. Remember He is your very own, always by your side, just waiting to be called. He is your refuge and your succour; whose memory brings back to your heart the smile that is the natural adornment of a pure and beautiful soul. And then you can realise what Paramhansa Yogananda meant by saying, “You carry in your heart a portable paradise.”