Hear and read the comments of Swami Yogananda about doing ordinary things with extraordinary love and the importance of gratitude.
“Divine friends, welcome to the Murugan temple lunchtime mahabishekum to Lord Subramanium. Thank you once again for joining us. 2021 is now in full swing and depending if you are a person who does new year’s resolutions or not, it is a good opportunity to think what you want to achieve in 2021.
There are two things which I sort of have in mind for myself for 2021. One I mentioned last Monday. It comes from Thérèse de Lisieux, which is a Christian saint. And during the process of her being made a saint, the Pope was asked why he considered her. And instead of recounting the miracles which she performed, he just simply said “she did ordinary things with extraordinary love”. And for me that is actually a brilliant definition of a holy person. It’s not what they do, it’s how they do it. That is the difference to us. Or how Guruji put it: “chopping firewood before enlightment, chopping firewood after enlightment”. The tasks we have don’t really change. What changes is how we do those tasks. It’s that total focus, that divine energy that gets put into the task which changes that vibration. And that is the experience you have when you are around a true Guru. It’s that amazing divine vibration they create with every action.
So really, it’s less about changing what we do, it’s to change how we do the tasks we have. Most tasks in life are fairly simple, mundane. But we can turn them into something extraordinary with our focus, with the love we put into it. So that’s back to doing ordinary things with extraordinary love. That is something which we will spend a lifetime learning, but I think it’s a very good thing to remind oneself of.
The second thing is gratitude. Whether or not we realise it, everybody who is listening to this stream is extraordinarily blessed. How many people in this world have an opportunity to even consider their spiritual evolution, have the awareness that there is such a thing. A lot of people go to churches, to temples, to mosques, but how many truly actually realise that the purpose of their birth is their spiritual evolution, to discover their own divine nature. Who have an opportunity to truly think about it and make an effort in that direction. Very, very few people. And that is what we don’t realise, it’s how blessed we are to have that awareness, that we have the opportunity to go on that journey.
To make use of that is to have the awareness that this is an opportunity that’s granted to us. And to be immensely grateful for any opportunity we have to worship God and to be in the presence of God. That applies to us in Skanda Vale as much as to anybody else. It’s as far as I’m concerned simply a boon if you are permitted to live in Skanda Vale.
It doesn’t matter how much work you do, that’s just a token offering to say “thank you”. If a person at any moment thinks they are doing Skanda Vale a favour by living there, even if they work 24 hours a day, they are fools. The Lord never needs us, we always need the Lord. It’s a one-way traffic. The very best we can do is having an awareness at the great opportunity the Lord has created for us to work for Him, but the Lord will never need us.
So, I always try to remind myself, I’ve been in Skanda Vale for 20 years, it’s a one-way traffic. It’s a privilege that I can live in Skanda Vale. Skanda Vale doesn’t need me, I need Skanda Vale. And that applies to every person who is in Skanda Vale. It’s very easy to forget that, and the same applies to people who are around Skanda Vale. The privilege to go and worship God is an amazing boon. As long as you have it, you don’t realise it. One day, it’s taken away, things happen, no longer the opportunity exists, or in our case you leave Skanda Vale, it can go so fast. It’s just a tiny change in that consciousness around Skanda Vale, and gone you are. So take every opportunity that is presented to you and make the most of it. You never know how long it’s going to last, and be immensely grateful for all these things you have.
With gratefulness comes also an awareness that reduces expectations. Expectations is the source of a lot of unhappiness. Instead of being grateful for what we have we count up the things which we don’t. And these expectations are the source of your sadness, your frustrations and so on. So instead of letting your mind building all these expectations, try to appreciate the many things you actually have.
So please use this puja to say thank you to the Divine for all the many graces that have been granted to us and to try to do any task you may perform with extraordinary love.”