By Swami Karunananda
Depending on our temperament, we can pursue the journey of awakening in various ways.
Bhakti Yoga is the path of love and devotion. Bhakti Yogis look upon everyone and everything as a manifestation of the divine and feel that in serving them, they are serving God. They accept all that happens in life as coming directly from God for their highest good. Ultimately, they experience oneness with the divine.
Hints for Daily Practice:
- Cultivate the consciousness that all of creation is God’s temple and do everything as if you were worshiping the divine. You can begin by selecting specific individuals to see in this light, (e.g., your partner, child, or colleague). Or you can set aside certain times of the day when you will try to maintain this attitude toward everyone.
- Have this attitude toward yourself, too. For example, when you shower, feel that you are washing a sacred temple. When you eat, feel that you are feeding God who is seated within you. That way, even caring for your body becomes an offering to the divine.
- Develop a specific relationship with the divine, such as child, parent, friend, servant, or beloved. Or just try to feel the Supreme Peace within you.
- Feel that God is with you always. Develop the awareness that God is present, watching all that you do. You can speak to God interiorly as you go about your daily activities.
- Cultivate faith, acceptance and surrender to the higher will. When challenges come, turn to prayer, trusting in divine mercy and grace.
- With a grateful heart, receive all the loving-kindness, guidance, and support that come to you, giving thanks for all the blessings in your life.
Swami Karunananda is a senior disciple of Sri Swami Satchidananda. In 1975, she was ordained as a monk into the Holy Order of Sannyas. She has had over 40 years experience teaching all aspects of Yoga and specializes now in workshops, retreats, and teacher training programs that focus on the science of meditation, the philosophy of Yoga, personal transformation, and Yoga breathing techniques for better health and wellbeing. She developed, and for 25 years has taught, the Integral Yoga Teacher Training programs in Raja Yoga and in Meditation.
Swami Karunananda served as president of Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville in Virginia and in California, as well as director of the Integral Yoga Institutes in San Francisco and in Santa Barbara. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees, and as the chairperson of the Spiritual Life Board at Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, Virginia.
Interested in fostering interfaith understanding and harmony, she is featured in the interfaith documentary entitled, With One Voice. She also compiled and edited the Lotus Prayer Book, a collection of prayers from various faith traditions, and Enlightening Tales as told by Sri Swami Satchidananda. She served as contributing editor for The Breath of Life: Integral Yoga Pranayama, as well as a senior writer for the Integral Yoga Magazine. In her book, Awakening: Aspiration to Realization Through Integral Yoga, she describes the spiritual path and provides guidance for the journey.