Practicing the Presence of God (2)
Concentrate on Spiritual Eye
by Sri Daya Mata
Practice the presence of God. I remember going many times into Master's rooms, excited or distressed about something, and he would say, "Why don't you just keep your mind here?" pointing to the Kutastha, or Christ center. How often I heard him say that; it is something he taught us to practice all the time, so that we would develop the habit of letting our consciousness rest there during the little gaps of time when our attention is free. Because of this training, I find that now my mind is always concentrated there. That point between the eyebrows is the center of concentration and will, and of creative thought.
Guruji said, "When you begin work, think of God." Now, that does not mean just a light, off-the-top-of-the-head thought of Him. Sit for a few moments, concentrate, and pray, "Lord, let me be with You this day. Let me see how much I can carry You in my thoughts and into my work." Then plunge into your activities with joy and enthusiasm, because you are doing them for God. At noon, take a little time again to think deeply of God, and then go back to your work.
Sometimes our thoughts of God are too shallow; we are saying halfheartedly, "O Lord, I am thinking of You. Bless me. But I've got to go now!" Rather, pray with deep feeling: "I love you, God. I want only You. I have all these duties, but You know they have no meaning for me, except that I am striving to do Your will. I don't want anything but You. I just want to please You. If You ask me to scrub floors, I'll do it gladly. I am here to do whatever you ask of me. That is my joy." It is possible to develop this consciousness and to find joy in it. It does not make you dull-minded. In fact, you become extremely creative, because it fills your thoughts with the energy and wisdom of God. It is the most creative state of consciousness. Try it.
(from Karma Yoga: Balancing Activity and Meditation)
God is the Doer
Another way to progress spiritually is through constant practice of the presence of God. Paramahansaji taught that if you would know God you must train your first thoughts in the morning to go toward the Divine; and as you perform your duties throughout the day, think that He is the Doer and you are just the humble instrument. Use your intelligence, willingness, joy, and cheerfulness in serving Him. As the close of the day draws near, let your mind dwell deeper still in God. In these ways go forward with that consciousness of God alone, carrying it through all life's experiences with the greatest of joy in your heart, with the greatest courage and faith and willingness, and above all, with love divine, surrendered at the feet of the One Beloved.
—Spiritual Opportunity In The New Year by Sri Daya Mata
Calmness is the only way to achieve a continuous state of God-awareness. In an inwardly calm state of mind you are able to practice the presence of God, to hold on to the consciousness of His presence while you are doing your work.
— Sri Daya Mata (SRF Magazine, Summer 2010)
Thinking of God
Joy lies in continually thinking of God. The longing for Him should be constant. A time comes when your mind never wanders away, when not even the greatest affliction of body, mind, and soul can take your consciousness from the living presence of God. Is that not wonderful? to live and think and feel God all the time? to remain in the castle of His presence, whence death nor aught else can take you away?
—Man's Eternal Quest
The minutes are more important than the years. If you do not fill the minutes of your life with thoughts of God, the years will slip by; and when you need Him most you may be unable to feel His presence. But if you fill the minutes of your life with divine aspirations, automatically the years will be saturated with them.
—Sayings of Paramahansa Yogananda
Desire for God
The greatest help in your development is the habit of mental whispering to God. You will see a change in yourself that you will like very much. No matter what you do, God should be in your mind constantly. When you want to see a special show, or to buy a dress or a car you have seen, is it not true that no matter what else you may be doing, your mind is constantly thinking of ways and means to get those things? Until you fulfill those desires your mind will not rest; it constantly works toward fulfilling such desires. With that same one-pointed concentration your mind should be intent on God night and day. Transmute petty desires into one great desire for Him. Your mind should continually whisper: "Night and day I look for Thee, night and day."
— SRF Magazine 1985
God is Walking Through Your Feet
It is when you persistently, selflessly, perform every action with love-inspired thoughts of God that He will come to you. Then you realize that you are the Ocean of Life, which has become the tiny wave of each life. This is the way of knowing the Lord through activity. When in every action you think of Him before you act, while you are performing the action, and after you have finished it, He will reveal Himself to you. You must work, but let God work through you; this is the best part of devotion. If you are constantly thinking that He is walking through your feet, working through your hands, accomplishing through your will, you will know Him.
—Man's Eternal Quest
O Father, no matter what my tests be, may I bear them joyously by feeling Thy presence always in my heart. Thus all the tragedies and comedies of life will seem naught but dramas of ecstatic entertainment.
— Metaphysical Meditations
Let every beat of my heart be a new word in my endless love lyric to Thee. May every sound from my lips carry secret vibrations of Thy voice. Let my every thought be bliss-saturated with Thy presence. May every act of my will be impregnated with Thy divine vitality. Ornament with Thy grace my every concept, every expression, every ambition. O Divine Sculptor, chisel Thou my life to Thy design!
—Whispers from Eternity
My soul constantly hums, unheard by any:
God! God! God!
(from Songs of the Soul)
God is ever talking to you, saying:
"Call Me, speak unto Me from the depths of your heart, from the core of your being, from the very depths of your soul, persistently, majestically, determinedly, with a firm resolve in your heart that you will go on seeking Me, no matter how many times I do not answer. If you unceasingly whisper in your heart to Me, 'O my silent Beloved, speak to Me,' I will come to you, My devotee."
—How You Can Talk With God by Paramahansa Yogananda
(Listen or download a longer version of above talk.)