I find the quotes of spiritual heroes intimidating at times.
They faced such staggering challenges, and my problems seem mundane in comparison. Though, I cherish these quotes because they inspire my rise of consciousness.
Mahatma Gandhi stood up to the British government with fierce love:
“If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love.”
Paramhansa Yogananda came to America from India in 1920 knowing no one. He sparked a spiritual revolution, teaching yoga and meditation to Americans through World War II and stated,
“I stand unshaken amidst the crash of breaking worlds.”
I am not ready to face down tanks and torture with love. Yet, my worlds do crash, and I do shake. As a working mom, the last three weeks crashed in on me.
My six-year-old son was home sick for a week, followed by two weeks off for spring break. All the while, I felt trampled with the details of a new job. I didn’t have three weeks of free time to give to my son.
At first, I hated the competition for my attention. I wanted to find a harmonious solution.
As the great Kriya Yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya said,
“Solve all your problems through meditation…The Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life.”
I, too, took this conflict and request for help into meditation and prayer.
I made the choice that, no matter what, I would respond to every request from my son and my colleagues with love. I would get it all done. I stayed present in a million little moments, and trusted that support would come.
Mommy and son took breaks and naps. We looked into each other’s eyes, laughed, played, and sang songs. Then I went back to work. I felt my ire rise a few times when too many tasks were hanging in the air, but I opened my heart and served the dear ones before me. I dropped a few details, but people were kind, and I picked them back up later. My world did not actually break. More than that—my crash became a blessing.
The little problems tone our hearts, without contracting them. We become more resilient, able to stumble without falling. Compassion expands—for ourselves and for those around us.
When we commit to living with higher consciousness, to being fully present in each moment, we have to start where we are. Mundane or monumental, it’s all practice.
Like standing in love and speaking from the heart, I listen to the words Malala Yousafzai spoke after she survived a shot to the face:
“My soul is telling me: Be peaceful and love everyone.”
Gandhi is one of our most famous spiritual heroes, not the first, the only, nor the last. Spiritual heroes in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Yoga, Buddhism, Sufism, Native American traditions, and more have called for our higher selves to rise up.
May the wisdom of these great souls inspire us on our paths to be the change we wish to see in the world.
1. “Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi
2. “Darkness must always be combatted positively.” ~ Paramhansa Yogananda
3. “If we want to save the world, we must have a plan. But no plan will work unless we meditate.” ~ The Dalai Lama
4. “Effective action always proceeds from a sense of inner peace.” ~ Swami Kriyananda
5. “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
6. “If we have the energy of compassion and loving kindness in us, the people around us will be influenced by our way of being and living.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
7. “Don’t be discouraged by your incapacity to dispel darkness from the world. Light your little candle and step forward.” ~ Amma
8. “The deeper the Self-realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations.” ~ Sri Yukteswar
9. “My soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
10.“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~ Rumi
11. “World peace will spread one person at a time. It begins with your own spiritual search and uplifted consciousness.” ~ Nayaswami Jyotish
12. “Solve all your problems through meditation…The Divine Voice has the answer to every dilemma of life.” ~ Lahiri Mahasaya
13. “Let us join together in this wave of social transformation, and through our practice of meditation, create a spirit of global unity that can lead to lasting peace.” ~ Nayaswami Devi
14. “Words are but the shell; meditation is the kernel.” ~ Bahya ibn Paquda
15. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” ~ Chief Seattle
Author: Jacqueline Debets
Image: Flickr/Lord Jim
Apprentice Editor: Beth Horowitz/Editor: Travis May