Paramhansa Yogananda once asked Yogacharya Oliver Black, a highly advanced disciple, if he prayed. Mr. Black replied, “Yes Master. I like to think I pray all the time.” “You pray to God,” Yoganandaji said. “Instead, you should pray in God.” In other words, Master was saying, don’t place God at a distance when He is with you already, the nearest of the near, the dearest of the dear.
“Self-realization” as Master defined it, “is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God’s omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing.” God is our reality with only a thin veil of forgetfulness separating us from Him.
It’s common, when sitting for meditation, to have a desire for peace or joy but in that very desire is implied the thought, “I don’t have joy now.” “Meditate in joy, not for joy,” is what the gurus advise and you will find God’s presence coming to you more abundantly.
In the Autobiography of a Yogi, we are told the story of Lahiri Mahasaya’s first meeting with the Mahavatar Babaji in the foothills near Ranikhet. Lahiri didn’t, at first, recognize his guru. “Lahiri, surely this cave seems familiar to you?” asked Babaji. Receiving no reply, Babaji approached his disciple and struck him gently on the forehead. “At his magnetic touch,” Lahiri recounted, “a wondrous current swept through my brain, releasing the sweet seed-memories of my previous life. I remember! You are my guru Babaji, who has belonged to me always!” That “thin veil” was removed by a gentle touch.
Let’s think of ourselves as Lahiri. We are yogis from past lives yet to be reawakened to our true state. Make that thought your reality because within it is truth. We have descended from God and to Him we must return. As said in the Bible, “No one knows the day or the hour.” God will never be closer to us than He is right now. All we need do is to “improve our knowing.”