The Redeeming Light

Nayaswami Padma McGillowayParamhansa Yogananda describes how, as a child, he was healed of Asiatic cholera (which is usually fatal) in a blinding flash of light after his mother instructed him to pray to her guru, Lahiri Mahasaya. Albert Einstein, as a young man, was fascinated with the phenomenon of light. His discovery showed that the speed of light is the constant of the physical world around which the duality of time and space revolves. Similarly, in the metaphysical teachings, God is the constant out of which all creation, inherently dual, is made manifest and revolves.

“Turning to the Light” is a constant theme of spiritual teachings both east and west. Paramhansa Yogananda used a simple analogy in this way: He said, “You can’t rid the darkness in a room by beating at it with a stick. Turn on the light and the darkness simply vanishes as if it never existed.”

The lesson here is also simple: don’t focus on your problems, bad habits, or negativity! Concentrate, instead, upon God (as joy, peace, wisdom, love, the sound of Aum or the inner light, or in the form of one’s Guru). (Yes, sometimes, our bad habits need tending to but focusing only on the negative only increases its power.) In the light of God’s presence all darkness vanishes!

Swami Kriyananda (founder of Ananda) confessed to Yogananda that he had a liking for good food. Yogananda, with a twinkle in his eye, simply remarked: “When ecstasy comes, all else goes!” Swamiji has used that principle dynamically throughout his life by his active public service, even-mindedness, and life affirming, God-reminding attitudes.

In his leadership role, he taught us to work with others who were positive. He counseled us not to worry so much about those who are critical. If their resistance is not deep they will be drawn in by the positive magnetism of the others. If their negativity is deeper then, in time, they will fall away and find for themselves that way or those circumstances best suited to their own growth. Thus, everyone benefits!

Never give up. Thomas Edison tried 43,000 filaments before discovering the tungsten filament! When pulling a nail out of a board, can we know when the nail will come out? No! We just have to keep pulling! In the movie, “Extraordinary Measures,” Harrison Ford, as the quirky genius scientist, explained that he hired young people to run his laboratory because older scientists were too stodgy and inflexible. Stay open, stay flexible, and be young at heart so God’s wisdom and light can flow through you!

Once Swami Kriyananda was discouraged with the high cost and long delays in publishing his books. He encouraged the Ananda publishing department to try the newly invented desktop publishing technology but they were not ready, and felt committed in certain directions already. So he went out and acquired the equipment and started a parallel publishing department that in time served as a vehicle for one of the most productive, creative, and inspired periods of his long life of writing!

One of the dictionary meanings of the word “redeemed” is simply “to change for the better.” God’s light helps us to change for the better. It melts away all that is not Light, and all that is caught up in duality

My friend and minister, Anandi Cornell (who lives at Ananda Village in California), says that if you walk with your back to the sun you see only the shadow you cast on the path in front of you. Yet when we turn toward the light we bask in it’s brilliance! Open your heart to God’s light, love, and indwelling presence!

Joy to you,


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