We all go through tough times in our lives—the important thing is how we respond to them. I had a great lesson in this during my early years at Ananda,
I had been at Ananda Village a couple of years when I really seemed to hit bottom. I couldn’t find a job that suited me, my spiritual practice was non-existent, and then a relationship blew up in my face.
To say I was a little depressed is an understatement. One Saturday morning I went to The Expanding Light for a class with Swami Kriyananda. I don’t remember what the talk was about, but I do remember that near the end of the talk I was silently examining my life and came to the conclusion that it was simply time to start over. I had to try and forget the past and move on.
I happened to be sitting near the back of the temple a couple of chairs in from the main aisle. As Swami ended his talk and began to walk down the aisle to leave the Temple, I was talking silently to myself, saying, “Matt, there’s nothing more you can do but just put one foot in front of the other and go on.”
As I stood thinking these thoughts, Swami passed by, paused, turned to look at me with intensity, and spoke with great force: “That’s the Spirit!!” Then he turned and walked on. People around me patted me on the back and congratulated me for having the “Spirit.” I just stood there shocked, thinking: How the heck did he know?!
It was the first time I understood the phrase, “Thoughts are universally, not individually rooted.” Swami had tuned in to my thoughts and responded with what I needed at the time. It reminds me of a quote General Patton made during WWII: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
Never, never, never give up. Yogananda used to quote Sru Yukteswar’s words: “Everything in future will improve if you make a spiritual effort now!” It certainly has worked for me, and it’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.