Excerpts from Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
You Can Conquer Your Moods
Moods are not easily defined; but you know what they are. When you are in a mood, your behavior is not natural; you are not the person you should be. The end result is that you feel wretched. And how foolish it is to be unhappy through your own doing! Nobody likes misery. Why not analyze yourself next time you are in a mood? You will see how you are willingly, willfully making yourself miserable. ...
Moods are often a result of environmental influences. Each one of us is affected in different ways by the world about us. But you should not allow yourself to indulge in moods over external conditions. Why should you take on the effects of your environment? ...
Remove the Cause of a Mood
Each type of mood has a specific cause, and it lies within your own mind. To remove a mood you must remove its cause. One should introspect each day in order to understand the nature of his mood, and how to correct it, if it is a harmful one. ...
Perhaps your mood is discouragement over sickness; a feeling that you will never regain health. You must try to apply the laws of right living that lead to a healthy, active, and moral life, and pray for greater faith in the healing power of God. ...
Creative Thinking is the Best Antidote
Creative thinking is the best antidote for moods. Moods get their grip on your consciousness when you are in a negative or passive state of mind. The time when your mind is vacant is just the time it can become moody; and when you are moody, the devil comes and wields his influence on you. Therefore, develop creative thinking. Whenever you are not active physically, do something creative in your mind. Keep it so busy that you have no time to indulge in moodiness. ...
Do you want to be a prisoner or a conqueror? By binding yourself so tightly in moods, you render yourself incapable of going on with the battle of life. As soon as you allow a mood to enwrap your mind, your will becomes paralyzed. Moods befog the brain, and hence impair judgment, so that your efforts are wasted. ...
You can conquer your moods, no matter how terrible they seem. Make up your mind that you are not going to be moody anymore; and if a mood comes in spite of your resolve, analyze the cause that brought it on, and do something constructive about it. Don't go on doing things in a state of indifference, if that is your attitude, for indifference is the worst of all moods. At such times, remind yourself that you are not your own creator; God created you, and He is running this universe for you. Whatever your work, do it enthusiastically, for Him. Busy yourself in creative activities, for He has given you infinite power. How dare you make yourself a mental failure by indulgence in the intoxicant of moodiness! Free yourself from these devastating mental states. They are the real brakes on the wheels of your progress. Until you release them, you cannot move on. Every morning, remind yourself that you are God's child, and that no matter what the difficulties, you have the power to overcome them. Heir to the cosmic power of Spirit, you are more dangerous than danger! ....
A person who keeps the worry of a problem in his consciousness becomes moody. Avoid that. When a problem comes up, instead of dwelling on it, think of every possible avenue of action to rid yourself of it. If you are unable to think, compare your particular trouble with others' similar troubles, and from their experiences learn which ways lead to failure and which ways lead to success. Choose those steps that seem logical and practical, and then get busy implementing them. ...
"He who is tranquil before friend and foe alike, and in (encountering) adoration and insult, and during the experiences of warmth and chill and of pleasure and suffering...that person is very dear to Me." [Bhagavad-Gita XII: 18-19] By continuously giving love to those who are unkind, peace to those who are harassed by worries, sweetness to those who are bitter, joy to those who are laden with miseries; and by constantly setting a better example for those who follow the path of error, you destroy moods by keeping the mind creatively busy. If you can't be busy outwardly, be constructively busy inwardly. ...
Those who allow their minds to ossify are truly dying. 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.
Moods Are Your Greatest Enemy
If you have an angry temper, rid yourself of it now. If you are peevish or moody, overcome it now. Some people get angry without cause, no matter how kind or thoughtful you are toward them. Others habitually indulge in bad moods and negative thoughts. The most practical use of our God-given reason is to analyze what aspects of our nature we have brought from the past, and to rid ourselves of the bad habits now. (dr)
Moods are your greatest enemy. Don’t indulge in them; destroy them, for they are a formidable stumbling block in the path of your progress. With the relentless might of watchfulness guard yourself against moods. No matter what trials come, I never permit moods to enter my consciousness. And I prefer not to mix with anyone who is moody. I won’t give heed to their moods, because they are very contagious. Somebody is grouchy; you go around him and you will feel grouchy too. Mix with those who have a positive, cheerful disposition. Somebody is smiling; you go around that person and you will feel like smiling. (jt)
Remember that every time you worry, you put on a mental brake; and in struggling against that resistance, you place strain on your heart and mind. You wouldn't try to drive off in your car with the brake on, because you know it would severely damage the mechanism. Worry is the brake on the wheels of your efforts; it brings you to a dead stop. Nothing is impossible, unless you think it is. Worry can convince you that it is impossible to do what you want to do. Worrying wastes time and energy. Use your mind instead to try to make some positive effort. ... Give your troubles to God. When you worry, it is your funeral, all arranged by yourself. (dr)
There Is Always a Way Out
Worry doesn't help you, either. Not only does it burn out your nerves, leaving you cranky and cross all the time; it puts an extra strain on the heart. When you leave your work for the day, forget it; do not pick it up mentally and carry it home with you. Worry only clouds your mind so that you cannot think clearly. You should learn to rely more on God. This is a science, a divine law. There is always a way out of your trouble; and if you take the time to think clearly, to think how to get rid of the cause of your anxiety instead of just worrying about it, you become a master. ...
Merely ignoring problems won't solve them, but neither will worrying about them. Meditate until you become calm; then put your mind on your problem and pray deeply for God's help. Concentrate on the problem and you will find a solution without going through the terrible strain of worry. (dr)
Why worry? Do your best and then relax. Let things go on in a natural way, rather than force them. Then everyone around you will be relaxed, too.
Be with God instead of with your worries. If you can apply the same zest for God that the miser feels toward his money, that the lover feels for his beloved, with which the drowning man gasps for air—when you concentrate those strong cravings upon God, then you will know Him.
If we could but realize the effect of the burdens we often place upon the mind, we might wonder that we have not had a breakdown long ago. Taxed with all kinds of worries and anxieties, the mind is soon overwhelmed by the load. Fear creeps in as a result and we lose our mental poise and spiritual balance. The trouble is that instead of living only in the present, we try to live in the past and in the future at the same time. These loads are too heavy for the mind to carry, so we must restrict the amount of the load. The past is gone. Why continue to carry it in the mind?
Let the mind take care of its burdens one at a time. A swan eats only the solid content from the liquid he scoops up in his bill; similarly we should keep in mind only the lessons we have learned from the past and forget unnecessary details. This will relieve the mind to a great extent; and it will eliminate worries. Worry may be compared to an insect that eats away at the inside of a flower. When the petals close in, both the flower and the insect die. Worry consumes all our inner vitality without our conscious knowledge. By the time we wake up to what is happening, the damage, which may have a far-reaching effect on the nervous system, is already done. (os)
As soon as you ascribe reality to the dream thoughts out of which God created all things, that dream reality begins to punish you with dream suffering. But when you realize that God is everything in this universe, nothing hurts you anymore. If you realize that both water and the body are dreams of God, you can walk on the water as did Jesus — one dream form can walk on another dream form. There is no longer a barrier of difference between solids and liquids, or any other form of matter. But you have to realize this; such power does not come to you by mere imagining. (dr)
When you believe that cold weather won't hurt you, you won't be affected by it. But if you feel you are going to catch a cold from the chill, you will. The thing is this: you don't practice mind control. By controlling your mind you can experience the truth that this universe is a delusion. This is why the saints require their disciples to discipline the body and not give it too much attention. The purpose is not to torture the body, but to save the disciple from all the troubles that will beset him if he believes that comfort comes from material things. (dr)
Comfort comes from the mind.
Change your mental attitude and
you will not feel discomfort.
Whenever you are attached to something, that possessiveness deepens your delusion. You will be rudely awakened one day to find that nothing belongs to you. Isn't it silly, therefore, to be attached to things that were never yours in the first place? Your attitude should be that you are looking after these things only for the time being, like a housekeeper who lives in her employer's home and devotedly, loyally, faithfully looks after it, but knows that her own home is elsewhere. (dr)