Ultimate Compassion: Enduring Hardship with Grace
Updated: May 26, 2018
Inspired by the wisdom and perspective of great Master Paramhansa Yogananda
"There is no existing on this earthly plane without living in or around some level of conflict , difficulty or pain of some sort. Some of us have more than we think we can possibly bear, the question is, how can we endure such painful difficulties with grace, without bitterness and hatred of those people or life events that impose such hardship upon us?" - Madhavi Devi
"Be afraid of nothing. Hating no one, giving love to all, feeling the love of God, seeing his presence in everyone, and having but one desire- for His constant presence in the temple of your consciousness - that is the way to live in this world" -Paramhamsa Yogananda
THE HIDDEN GIFTS OF MEDITATION
Life can be a swirl of anxiety, trouble, and conflict with others and within ourselves. Bearing and burning the karmic seeds of past and present lifetimes can make it seem very difficult to be calm, settle the mind and meditate in the presence such pain and chaos. Yet the blessing of our Guru's teachings is that with even a few minutes practice of peaceful awareness, relief from our sufferings is possible, and over time, the rewards are palpable, even the greatest pain and hardship can be gracefully endured without fear, and lessen discomfort. It is common that the discomfort, fear, anxiety and pain of current circumstances of hardship interfere with your spiritual focus and daily meditative practice...here's some helpful suggestions to remember to achieve some relief and inner peace.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS...
Master has said " Every problem that waits for a solution at your hand is a solemn duty imposed upon you by life itself. Any escape from problems, physical or mental, is not an escape from life, but only delays your progress..."
An everlasting principle of this life is that everything changes, nothing stays the same. Even in your own human body, cells divide, renew, age and finally pass away. The cells you were born with are completely changed out at regular intervals, and yet the everlasting soul that is you remains essentially the same over this lifetime. Likewise, the conditions of this life and world change, the happiness and agonies of this life ebb and flow over time. Therefore, be patient, focus on your soul's ease and development, think intelligently, relieve difficult life circumstances as possible, and wait for inevitable change.
DO NOT HATE THOSE WHO HURT YOU
It is hard not to be angry when someone hurts you, your family, and causes you harm, difficulty and hardship, possibly even death of loved ones. It may seem difficult to understand their behaviors or actions, or comprehend that they may not be actually evil, especially in the throes of the suffering foisted upon us by such circumstances. The Dalai Lama observes often that a person's worst actions is simply that person trying to relieve his or her own personal suffering, as wrongheaded an approach as their actions and behaviors may be.
Master says "Develop metaphysical reason and destroy anger. Look upon the anger arousing agent as a child of God; ...You should not feel a desire to stab this little brother in return...Mentally destroy anger by saying 'I will not poison my peace with anger; I will not disturb my habitual joy-giving calmness with wrath. "
Likewise, if someone is simply disagreeing with you about something, allow them truly to have their opinion without persecuting them. This does not necessarily mean remaining in their direct presence, it may be necessary to remove yourself from them for your own comfort and security, but try your best not to hold grudges, as that hurts you far more than them. If you have anger, acknowledge that it is there, without denying the harm that may have been done, but do not let the anger fester within you.
Guruji said " If you heap hatred upon your enemy, neither he nor you will be able to perceive the inherent beauty of your soul...Be true to yourself and to others, and you will gain the friendship of God." Also, " Anger defeats its own purpose...When you recognize anger coming over you, know it instantly for what it is --that is half the battle won. control your speech, saying nothing...Protect your peace by calmness." Master gives us a little prayer, "Today, I will forgive all those who ever offended me, and I will give my love to all thirsty hearts -- both to those who love me, and to those who do not love me."
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
At times of stress, distress and confusion, take a moment to close your eyes and breathe deeply to reorient yourself in your consciousness of God. Pray for patience, with yourself if you do experience anger and unhappiness, and with others as they are angry and acting out.
Remember that God loves them also, even if they do not realize it, and it is not for you to judge or hate them. How is this possible? Some people cause so much pain and distress in those around them! "Do not allow anyone to take away your peace and happiness. Sometimes little puffs of breath have more power to hurt than big blows. They destroy your nerves. Keep quiet rather than argue. Be safe in the fortress of your own peace. The minute anyone wants to fight with you, take a walk. If anyone insults you, just answer with your eyes. Affirm divine calmness and peace and send out only thoughts of love and goodwill if you want to live in peace and harmony." In other words, peace and patience come from within you, and not outside of you, therefore be patient with yourself and others to cultivate peace and God 's unconditional love in the world. Forgive yourself and start over if ever you lose the thread of patience and forgiveness, in all cases do not lose heart! While struggling with the depths of grief or anger, it is sometimes hard to access the peace of meditation. During these times, seek solace in Master's teachings, meditate as best you can as he has taught us, when grief and pain keep you awake at night, access his teachings, calm the breath, watch the point between the eyebrows and pray to release your pain and worries to God. Keep copies of his books near the bed and sit up and read for comfort and solace. "O Patient Heart, teach me to revive by meditation my old friendship with Thee. May I realize that in my journey toward divine expansion, incarnation after incarnation, Thou and Guru have been and will be my only Eternal Friends".
REMEMBER THAT WE ARE ALL ONE
"If you unconditionally love all, you have expanded your consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness. Think of the happiness of your fellow beings first, and your own happiness will be included in it....do not hate any other nationality or person, for if you do, you will, in some way, karmically draw that nationality or person to you in another life. Stubborn attachment and unreasonable hatred are both detrimental to the attainment of Cosmic Consciousness. You should learn to love all things impersonally, because all belong to God." Sometimes this may mean that you do not remain in the presence of someone who attacks you or otherwise causes you harm.
By maintaining composure and an impersonal view, if a difficult situation becomes unresolvable while you are present, make arrangements for a change of place or situation somehow. Whether you stay or go, resolve to expand your consciousness to receive clear guidance from God on the best actions to take. In this earthly plane, we have learned to experience things personally, both joyful things and painful, and yet, as powerful as some events are, no earthly experience is unique. There is personal and spiritual power in realizing this, opening up the opportunity to awaken inner compassion and understanding, setting the stage for patience, forbearance and love, both of others and ourselves. Remember that we are all in this world together, and we are not alone in our weaknesses and problems, there is nothing unique in them. Seek out support and guidance from others who have experience with your situation. This is our common experience, and we should be compassionate to ourselves and others in all that we do.
MAINTAIN AN UNBROKEN INNER AWARENESS OF OUR HIGHER CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS
Master says " Invoke God in the temple of silence, in the temple of peace, and invoke him in bliss. Feel that He is right here and that you are addressing him with all your soul, asking him to manifest on the altar of peace, on the altar of Bliss." The more we can maintain a constant inner awareness and open to God's continual presence, the more we can see the circumstances of our lives from a more objective and detached point of view. If meditation is difficult, try to practice this and pray for more patience and ask for His help. If the answer to your problems seem unknowable, release them to Him.
Say into your deepest self, "God, I do not know what to do, I give this problem to you fully, please open my heart and mind to guide me to do what is best. Reveal to me the path I cannot yet see." It is important not to seek your preferred outcome, as you will block God's revelations to you that way. Seek only what is best, and God's will. This practice not only provides an almost immediate relief from suffering, but also allows clearer vision and thought, so perhaps you can be open to solutions that are obscured by personal pain, confusion and suffering. Long ago, burdened with difficult problems and weary from worries, I felt I needed my mother. I prayed and meditated until I felt I was truly with Divine Mother. Into her peaceful lap, I rested my head in her lap and told her all my woes. Bathed in her Divine Light, I imagined that she stroked my hair, held me compassionately and listened. The relief and support I felt while communing with Divine Mother within me gave me the strength to endure. Telling her the story of my woes helped me see them in a different light, and openness of heart and the release of these troubles to God brought forth remedies not apparent while I was so absorbed in my own problems. In this earthly plane, we have learned to experience things personally, both joyful things and painful, and yet, as powerful as some events are, no earthly experience is unique. There is personal and spiritual power in realizing this, opening up the opportunity to awaken inner compassion and understanding, setting the stage for patience, forbearance and love, both of others and ourselves. Meditative practices increase our receptivity infinitely, but if you find yourself in difficulties with your concentration, do your very best to hold Him in your conscious thoughts, like a program or music playing in the background of our mind, and you may find that serendipitous messages will be conveyed! "Learn to be conscious of God all the time, in every act of your life. Invoke God as power in the temple of consciousness during the day, and know his embrace of peace and joy in your temple of dreams in sleep. Feel God in the temple of bliss in meditation. Having this great understanding of in realization of God, the Father of your being, you will never surrender to worries and selfishness...." Remember always that WE are the ones in these earthly containers who feel limitations, of space, time, and the experience of separateness from each other and from God. God and the Great Ones like our dear Master have no such limitations, they are with us always, and they can reach us in any way, anywhere, if only we can remain OPEN to their conscious presence in our lives.
"May Thy Love shine forever in the Sanctuary of my devotion, and May I be able to awaken Thy love in all hearts." -PY
©2014 Madhavi Devi