Paramahansa Yogananda
on the Art of Living

The Art of Living



We are what we think we are. The habitual inclination of our thoughts determines our talents and abilities, and our personality. So whatever you want to be, start to develop that pattern now.


Live each present moment completely, and the future will take care of itself. Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each instant.


Make Most of Your Life

• Calmness, concentration, and condensation of experiences by intuitional perception will make you master of all knowledge.

• Do everything with full attention, never in a haphazard way.

never forget to smile

Never forget to smile. There is no more beautiful ornament one can wear than a genuine smile of peace and wisdom glowing on the face.

• Without unquenchable enthusiasm nothing can be gained.

• Do not try to do too many things at a time; perform the most important duties of life first, with heartfelt enthusiasm and closest attention.

• You must learn to be happy here and now, under all conditions.

• No material or spiritual activities performed with attachment (mental unevenness) can produce lasting happiness. The man of attachment, reaps unhappiness. The devotee who feels no attachment to the results of either meditative or mundane activities remains unconcerned as regards success or failure.

• Be calmly active and actively calm.

• Practice meditation for one hour in the morning and one hour at night.

• In short, don't think all the time of just making money:

love God, and
act peacefully at all times.

• Speak truth with kindness and understanding, and respect truth wherever you perceive it.

• See God in all men of whatever race or religion.

• Live a balanced life. Control the senses.

• Do not be enslaved by the senses. They are not meant to bind you with material desires, but to serve you with perceptions of good, which reflect God.

• Control your habits and behaviour.

• Be in the world and do your part, but do not be caught up and bound by its delusions, or you will be enslaved.

• Do not be sidetracked into forests of blind, untested belief and theology; get on the one highway of Self-realization that leads quickly to God.

• Wisdom is a chisel, love is the sandpaper.

‘I can, I must, and I will’

— that is the way to change yourself and achieve absolute victory.

• Go out of your way to make others happy. Reach out to help others every day, in whatever way you can.

• There is no greater power with which to overcome failure than a real smile.

• Spend less, and have more, by doing away with luxurious habits. From your earnings put aside as much as possible, so that you can live partially on the interest from your savings, without having to dip into the capital.


The Path to Better Health

• Learn to breathe properly—calmly and deeply, filling the lungs all the way to the lower lobes. When the system is well oxygenated by proper breathing and exercise, the life force therein vitalizes the whole body, including the brain.

• Always sit and stand erect. Posture, also, is important to good health. Poor posture constricts the healthy flow of the life energy in the various body parts and vital organs. The best posture is chest out, shoulders back, stomach and abdomen in, and buttocks tucked under.

Most people dig their own graves with their
knives and forks.

• Avoid overeating.

• Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and natural whole grains and legumes.

• Include in your daily diet milk and other dairy products, and a good percentage of raw food and fresh fruits; drink a large glass of orange juice with finely ground nuts mixed in.

• Fast one day a week on orange juice and use a suitable natural laxative as prescribed by your physician.

• Eat less meat; avoid beef and pork entirely. Read and follow a reliable modern books on dietetics.

• Every piece of meat eaten should be accompanied by a large serving of lettuce. Take milk in between meals, not with meals.

• Take regular exercise, such as walking every day.

• Every morning and evening, with deep attention, walk briskly, run, or take some other form of exercise—as vigorous as your constitution allows—until you perspire.

• Avoid too many refined starches and too many sweets, and greatly limit the intake of fats—these can be very injurious to health. (jt)


Improve Your Mind

• Read and meditate on some inspiring passage from the Bible and from the Bhagavad-Gita.

• Do not indiscriminately swallow useless ideas.

• Don't waste your time on cheap writings.

• Don't expect perfection or permanent happiness here; you will not find it. This world will always be full of troubles.

• Learn to keep your will strong—a calm will, not a nervous will—and your body will then be full of energy. It is by the power of will that you bring energy into the body and utilize it. The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy.

• Read a dependable health periodical and an inspiring spiritual magazine.

• Honor God not only in man-made temples, but learn to worship and commune with Him in the inner temple of silence.

• Spiritual advancement is not to be measured by one’s displays of outward powers, but solely by the depth of his bliss in meditation.


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