By Paramhamsa Yogananda
Meditate regularly, and you will find a joy inside that is real. You will then have something you can compare to sense pleasures. That comparison will automatically make you want to forsake your sorrow-producing bad habits. The best way to overcome temptation is to have something more fulfilling with which to compare it. Never let your mind be seduced by restlessness, through joking too much, too many distractions, and so on. Be deep. As soon as you succumb to restlessness, all the old troubles will begin to exert their pull on the mind once again: sex, wine, and money. Of course, a little fun and laughter is good, occasionally. But don’t let light-mindedness possess you. I, too, like to laugh sometimes, as you know. But when I choose to be serious, nothing and no one can draw me out of my inner Self. Be deep in everything you do. Even when laughing, don’t lose your inner calmness. Be joyful inside, but always inwardly a little withdrawn. Be centered in the joy within. Dwell always in the Self. Come down a little bit when you have to, to eat, or talk, or to do your work; then withdraw into the Self again. Be calmly active, and actively calm. That is the way of the yogi.
Don’t waste the perception of God’s presence, acquired in meditation, by useless chatting. Idle words are like bullets: they riddle the milk pail of peace. In devoting time unnecessarily to conversation and exuberant laughter, you’ll find you have nothing left inside. Fill the pail of your consciousness with the milk of meditative peace, then keep it filled. Joking is false happiness. Too much laughter riddles the mind and lets the peace in the bucket flow out, wasting it.
If you want to be happy, learn to live alone and to plunge into introspection about every experience—good books, problems, religion, philosophy, and inner happiness. Contented, self-chosen, habitual seclusion is the price of real happiness. When you are forced into a crowd of talkers, retire within the cell of your deep thoughts and enjoy the peace of your inner fountain of silence.
When a cloudy day comes, think of the clusters of sunny days that you have had. When the blues come and make you feel they are going to take a permanent lease on your life, think of the numberless days of happiness which you have enjoyed in the past. It is ingratitude to the Giver of all gifts to forget the healthy smiles enjoyed for fifty years just because you have been sick for six months. There is no sense in unbalancing your mind and forgetting years of happiness by taking too seriously the sorrows of a few weeks or a few months.
Be not afraid of this temporary mortal ignorance, for within your soul lies buried the unopened mine of the wisdom of God. Since you are made in His image, all His wisdom and happiness lie hidden somewhere in the disorganized cellar of your subconsciousness. To smile when all things are going well is easy and natural, but to smile when all things try to ruin you is difficult, superconscious, admirable, and the harbinger of lasting happiness. Become a smile specialist and a doctor of blues, healing all the sad and weary hearts you meet by the x-ray of your smiles. When you are sick, do not concentrate on the length of your suffering, but dream about the youthful, healthful years you have already enjoyed. What you have had, you can have again if you try hard enough. To give up is the difficult, miserable way in the long run; to try hard until you succeed is the easiest way.
Banish sadness with joy; destroy sickening thoughts of failure with the tonic of success consciousness. Polish disharmony with the chisel of harmony. Cauterize worries with calmness. Cast sorrows into the flames of happiness. Shame unkindness by kindness. Dethrone sick thoughts and place King Vitality on the throne of right living. Banish restlessness and ignorance from the shores of your mind. Establish the kingdom of silence within, and the God of happiness will freely enter.