Paramahansa Yogananda
Top 20 Spiritual Tips (8)


15. Be Conscious of What You Do

The trouble with most people is that when they are performing an action they are thinking about something else. They don't know how to concentrate on what they are doing when they are doing it.

You should learn to think of one thing at a time
with all the power of your mind.
Your whole attention should be there.

Don't drag along. Doing things in a lackadaisical way leads to failure and misery.

Man should not be a psychological automaton, like the animal, which acts only through instinct. To be unthinking is a great sin against Spirit, which abides in you;

we are meant to be conscious of what we do.
We should reflect before we act.

We should learn how to use our minds so that we can evolve and realize our oneness with the Creator. Everything we do should be the result of premeditated thought. (me)


Anything worth doing,
is worth doing well.


The yogi masters the art of mind control. He shuts off mental restlessness and imagination, and avoids absentmindedness by practice of the following:

(a) passivity, or even-mindedness under all conditions;

(b) positive concentration (keeping the mind on one particular thought at a time);

(c) negative concentration (using discrimination and will to eliminate unwanted thoughts);

(d) transferring consciousness from feeling to will or ideas;

(e) transferring consciousness from emotions, such as love or hatred, to self-control, or creative thinking, or pure feeling;

(f) holding the thought on one sensation (sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch) at a time;

(g) visualization of mental images, and creating and dissolving dreams at will;

(h) mental anesthesia (receiving sensations of pain as informative reports rather than experiences of suffering). (dr)


16. Cultivate Wisdom

Protect yourself within the fortress of wisdom. There is no greater safety. Complete understanding will bring you to a point where nothing can hurt you. But until you have attained wisdom, when temptation comes you must first stop the action or urge, and then reason. If you try to reason first, you will be compelled in spite of yourself to do the thing that you don't want to do, because temptation will overcome all reason. ...

Don't let your environment and sensory desires control you. Virtue and spiritual living are far more charming than sensual indulgence, but the habit chains of temptation hold people fast. ...

When you are strongly tempted, your wisdom is momentarily a prisoner of your desires and habits. (me)


To solve the mystery of life you must be born anew every day. This means you must strive daily to improve yourself in some way. Above all, pray for wisdom, because with wisdom everything else comes. Be controlled not by moods, but by wisdom. And with that wisdom, develop creative thinking and activity. Keep busy doing constructive things for your own self-improvement and for the benefit of others, for whoever would enter God's kingdom must try also to do good for others every day. If you follow this pattern, you will feel the mood-dispelling joy of knowing you are advancing, mentally, physically, and spiritually. You will surely reach God, for that way leads to the kingdom of heaven. (me)


‘Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from hatred to love. Lead me from limitations to Thine inexhaustible power; lead me from ignorance to wisdom. Lead me from suffering and death to everlasting life and enjoyment in Thee. Above all, lead me from the delusion of human attachment into realisation of Thy love eternal, which plays hide-and-seek with me in all forms of human love.’ (me)


Characteristics Of Wisdom (Gita XIII:7-11)

(The sage is marked by) humility, lack of hypocrisy, harmlessness, forgivingness, uprightness, service to the guru, purity of mind and body, steadfastness, self-control;

Indifference to sense objects, absence of egotism, understanding of the pain and evils (inherent in mortal life): birth, illness, old age, and death;

Nonattachment, nonidentification of the Self with such as one's children, wife, and home; constant equal-mindedness in desirable and undesirable circumstances;

Unswerving devotion to Me by the yoga of nonseparativeness, resort to solitary places, avoidance of the company of worldly men;

Perseverance in Self-knowledge; and meditative perception of the object of all learning—the true essence or meaning there-in. All these qualities constitute wisdom; qualities opposed to them constitute ignorance.


17. Wake up from a Dream Drama

flowerDo not take life’s experiences too seriously. Above all, do not let them hurt you, for in reality they are nothing but dream experiences. Play your part in life, but never forget it is only a role. If circumstances are bad and you have bear them, do not make them a part of yourself. What you lose in the world will not be a loss to your soul. Trust in God and destroy fear, which paralyses all efforts to succeed and attracts the very thing you fear. All Nature will commune with you when you are in tune with God. Realisation of this truth will make you master of your destiny. (os)


The more I see of life, the more I realize it is a dream. I have found the greatest assurance in this philosophy I am giving to you now.

Realize that you live solely
by the grace of God.

If He were to withdraw His thought, the physical manifestation would cease to exist.

This world is a dream place,
and we are all dreaming here.
This life is not real;
you are laughing and crying in the greatest delusion, and
it is not worth shedding tears over
To give reality to our earth experiences is
to invite untold misery.
By identification of our consciousness
with this world we see it as a place of suffering.

What is going to free us from suffering? Will money do so? Nothing material can. Knowledge of God, and realization that we are forever one with Him, is the only way to freedom. Remember this always. God would be very cruel indeed if this world were real. But He knows that when we have gone through the furnace of suffering and death enough times, we shall awaken and overcome delusion: we shall realize this earth as His dream, and reincarnate no more. In the Bhagavad Gita God speaks through Krishna, giving this promise:

"My noble devotees, attaining the highest success (in the tests of earthly life) by having discovered Me (Spirit), undergo no further rebirths in this abode of grief and transitoriness." [VIII:15] (dr)


Life becomes terrible if we see it as real, whereas it is nothing but a play of forces. God made us in His image, and expected us to realize that this life is an illusion. There really is no disease, death, or sorrow—only the dance of cosmic vibrations. It is just as foolish to cry about life's happenings as it is to cry about something sad that you see in a movie. When you realize that it is only a picture you see, there is no sorrow. You must not take this life too seriously. ...

beam of maya

You must realize that this life is
just a dream drama.

In a dream you see death and sickness and happiness and sorrow, and are touched by them. When you awaken from the dream, you know that all things were just a dream. It is only when you awaken from a nightmare that you can laugh at it, but you will have to learn that through meditation alone, not by reading books or theorizing. ...

Right meditation balanced with activity
should be the aim of all spiritual seekers
as the only savior from the cosmic dream.

If you know the plot beforehand when you see a motion picture or a performance on the stage, it will not be interesting. So it is good that you don't understand the movie drama God is playing in your life. You wouldn't be entertained if you knew what was going to happen before it took place. Don't concern yourself about the ending. Rather, pray always to God in this way: "Father, teach me to act out my role in this drama of life—whether I am weak or strong, sick or well, high or low, rich or poor—with an immortal attitude, that I may at the end know the moral of it all." (os)


You have to awaken in order to perceive that God is everywhere and to realize that you have been dreaming. All of you are sitting here in this dream, and you are part of the dream. (me)


We are in a dream state. The only way to wake up is to refuse to recognize anything as reality except God. Otherwise you will again and again sink to your knees in a mud of suffering that is of your own making,

until you realize that neither
good fortune nor evil fortune
is real,
that He alone is real.

Then all earthly delusions (disease and health, joy and sorrow, life and death) will pass away. (dr) (More...)


Every night in sleep God takes away all of your troubles to show you that you are not a mortal being; you are Spirit. God wants you to remember that truth during the conscious state, so that you are not bothered any more by the anomalies of life. If we can very well exist at night in deep sleep without thinking about this world and its troubles, we can very well exist in God's world of activity without being caught up in this dream. Even though dream universes are floating in God's consciousness, He is ever awake and knows He is dreaming. He tells us, "Do not get panicky during this daydream; look to Me as the Reality behind the dream." When there is health and joy, smile in the dream. When there is a nightmare of sickness or sorrow, say,

"I am awake in God,
merely watching the play of my life.

Then you will know that God has created this universe as an entertainment for Himself. And you, being made in His image, have not only the perfect right but also the ability to enjoy this play with its varying dreams even as He does. (jt)

And yet when I am only a dream to you,
I will come to remind you that you too are naught
But a dream of my Heavenly Beloved;
And when you know you are a dream, as I know now,
We will be ever awake in Him.
"When I am Only a Dream"


Next Page »

(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines