The Choice: Living in the Flow of Life
Pacing back and forth, I was trying to decide between going home by foot or car, but was I really deciding? That’s the question I will leave to you after unfurling the following series of events that happened once I made the “choice” to walk home on a bright, sunny day.
As I was walking I was somewhat caught up in my own thoughts and wasn’t really attending to my normal route. More or less just recognizing that I was going the wrong way, I came to see that I had accidentally cut through a strange path behind a building. The path led to an open field, which sent me in a bit of a runaround towards Downtown Davis. Starting to walk across the field, I saw that the young enthusiastic voices behind me were talking about the most interesting of things: “Saying yes to life.” Then one of them was wholeheartedly discussing the idea that life is Consciousness, that there is an Intelligent Force guiding all of us—a force residing in everything. She said, “It’s God, but not the kind of God that is religious but the one that is nonsectarian and all around us, infusing life.”
“I want to live my life for God, and to make everything I do for this higher power and from this higher power.”
“Oh my goodness!” I thought to myself, “I have got to listen!” I was fascinated to find out how these beautiful young students were approaching the idea of spirituality, and especially tuning into the very words that Swami Kriyananda used to describe willingness on the spiritual path: the “say yes” attitude, which keeps us growing and evolving.
Walking and listening, I was somewhat shy to begin a conversation. But noticing that the women were continuing upon the same odd path that I had chosen—across the random field in the middle of the UC Davis campus, and through a strange grouping of buildings without a sidewalk—I finally peeked back over my shoulder, unable to hold in my joy at the conversation they were having, and the fact that we were sharing this unusual route. One of the young women, whom I’ll call Amy, looked up at me and I smiled. She smiled back. The friend, whom I’ll call Beth, who had just been speaking with great energy and joy about spiritual topics turned to me and said (somewhat jokingly), “Don’t worry, we’re not following you.”
I quickly responded, “Oh! I am not worried. I actually couldn’t help but overhear what you were talking about and it’s great!”
Unbelievably, they then invited me to join them. I happily accepted.
As we walked, Beth continued to share what she was coming to realize about life, through her own experience, and through the intuition as she had begun a new attitude towards life, such that life was a living being that she could love, be grateful towards, and be positive and accepting of its all-encompassing intelligence. Amy, who I later learned practices yoga and is part of her own yoga community—a community that she felt had changed her into a calmer version of herself—quietly listened and encouraged Beth’s stream of thought.
As we walked, they continued to look over and ask me if I was still going in the same direction. Eventually, it was more along the lines of, “Do you still have time to listen?”
We were all in the same boat, not having any great need to be anywhere in particular. For I was coming home at a time when Arati, my two-year-old daughter, was still asleep, and I knew my partner, Yogesh, would calmly accept my late arrival for he too was probably taking advantage of the daily nap.
So we continued walking together, expounding on the realizations these young women had been having and had been so desperately seeking to share with others. She and her friend were deeply relating to the idea that we are all living in a dream, and that we merely need to wake up. They were so happy to hear the yogic teachings of India that could refine some of the philosophical concepts such as maya and the cosmic dream; the idea that this creation, or life itself, has a sense of humor, and of synchronicity.
At one point we had to pause under some shaded trees to remark at the joy of our meeting. Beth then began to shed tears as she said, “You have no idea how amazing this is. How nothing is coincidence. This meeting isn’t a coincidence. I’ve been asking for someone to talk to about my questions and to know what is my next step with all of these ideas.” She wanted a way to express them, and I did my best to share the answers I felt Swami Kriyananda or Paramhansa Yogananda (my spiritual teachers) would have wanted to give accordingly.
Amy remarked at how she had locked herself out today and came upon Beth, and they had just come from lunch together and were walking home when our paths converged. Amy said she hadn’t let herself get frustrated at being locked out, but instead desired to be calm and take the next step. Beth said that she, too, had just been out walking, being in the present: a new attitude she was adopting in an effort to overcome anxiety. She said that her new approach of saying yes, being grateful, and asking with all her heart for the answers from Life had been leading her on a good road. She felt things were becoming more clear, but that today she had been demanding her next step.
It’s hard to do justice to all of the beautiful realizations and personal stories they shared, but I can certainly say that I am amazed at the wisdom that comes from within each one of us. These two women had been doing their daily practice, Amy in the form of yoga, Beth in the form of meditation, and both saw the importance of living in the present, staying open to life, and listening. They saw the importance of stillness for the unfolding of this process, and how it is in the pauses that we are most happy and can trust Life. “It feels,” Beth so beautifully said, “like life is one giant breath.”
When I gave them my little contact card that I carry, they were both so excited to get together for coffee and talk more about their spiritual questions. I don’t know what will happen next, maybe tomorrow we will see each other again, or perhaps I will run into them in the days that follow.
One thing I know for certain is that they walked me home and left carrying copies of Autobiography of a Yogi with a smile on their faces and an eagerness to go start the book that very day.
It was a little offering from my heart to theirs, and it was a joy to be able to share with them the book that changed my life.
I mentioned in “The Power of Positivity” that I had been feeling quite distant from Paramhansa Yogananda, and missing the feeling of connection. Well, just around when I started having these “coincidental meetings” among fellow truth-seekers is when I had recharged my daily meditation practice of Kriya Yoga, and I know that it is this that allowed such things to manifest.
This experience showed me just how important our spiritual practices are in drawing each of us to like-minded individuals who know the power of the spiritual path, who want to live in the stillness, live from their hearts, and feel the connection between all humanity.
Together, we have the ability to create change within ourselves, and make the world a better place.