Habit of Happiness 7 – Developing a relationship the Divine

From our e-book “Filling our Life with Celebration”

07art_Yogananda2We are the sum-total of our experiences and everything that has been taught to us. Our limited intelligence does not keep our heart beating or prevent the numerous viruses and bacteria from overwhelming our physical body. There is a greater intelligence that does that; and it is the same Divinity that forms part of us and the entire universe. This Divinity or as Paramhansa Yogananda calls the ‘Cosmic Intelligence’ is with us all the time; guiding and helping us along our spiritual progression.

In his book, the Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda tells many stories about how he called upon the Divine Mother to solve his problems. We too, can form that close relationship. We can see the divine as our mother, father, brother or friend; just choose any relationship that gives one the feeling of trust and closeness. For many of us, addressing the Divine as our Mother brings the feeling of unconditional love and compassion while seeing the Divine as our Father may invoke the feelings of wisdom and security.

The following story of Paramhansa Ramakrishna shows how he viewed the Divine:- Ramakrishna continuously searched for the Divine Mother. He was deeply saddened because the Divine Mother has not appeared to him. One day the suffering of separation became so unbearable that he wanted to take his own life. Before he could do so, he lost consciousness and the Divine Mother appeared to him.

At first, the visions were not satisfactory to him as they were not continuous and effortless. He felt that his realisations were incomplete. However, through his sincere effort and devotion, he eventually saw the full form of the Divine Mother and communicated with her formally. Eventually, he stopped prostrating to the statue of the Divine Mother Kali because he felt that his relationship with the Divine Mother was that of a mother and child.

This habit of ‘developing a relationship with the Divine’ involves forming the habit of frequently communicating with the Divine. We usually pray when we go to places of worship but when we step out, we stop thinking about the Divine. It need not be so. We can mentally communicate with the Divine anywhere and anytime. Whenever things are going well, we can send a silent thank you to the Divine and we can seek Divine Guidance whenever we are faced with difficult situations. The emphasis here is to form a close relationship.

We may pray to the Divine every morning for blessings and protection but it may not be sufficient to form a close relationship with the Divine if it is done merely as a daily routine and we still see the Divine as separate from our own being. Yogananda advised us to pray to the Divine and expect the prayer to be answered. When we were toddlers, we expected our parents to grant all our wishes. Even though they frequently do not give us everything that we ask for, we still hold on to that expectation. We can expect the Divine to grant all our prayers; except if granting them will not be for our highest benefit.

Communicating with the Divine does not mean that we see ourselves as separate from the Divine. The waves can never be separate from the ocean. What it truly means is that we acknowledge the greater power within us and our connection to the infinite ocean of wisdom which forms the entire universe. In communion, the ego surrenders to the Divinity within and rest in inner-bliss and peace.

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