During my sophomore year in college, I developed a theory that luck is more a question of attitude than of blind destiny. "If you want to be lucky," I told my friends, "expect to be lucky. Then make your expectation dynamic by going out and meeting luck halfway; don't wait passively for it to come to you."
Amazing things started happening to me as soon as I myself began living by this principle. The only chapter, out of many, that I studied for a Greek exam turned out to be the one we were asked to translate. I entered an essay contest for a $100 prize, not because I knew the subject (I didn't), but because I needed the money. The subject was, "The Basic Principles Underlying the Government of the United States"; it must have sounded as formidable to others as it did to me, for ("luckily"!) the history, law, and political science majors among my fellow students kept out of the fray, and I was the only contestant. I also won a $15 first prize in a poetry contest, but that was more in my line.
Then with $115 in my pocket, I set off to spend my summer vacation in Mexico. Hitchhiking, I started from Boston. The next day I was offered a ride from Philadelphia all the way to Mexico City—3,000 miles! My benefactor was going to Mexico on behalf of his company, and was kind enough to put me on his expense account as a second driver. And so it went, consistently. Among my relatives, my so-called luck became legendary.
But then my attitude changed. I had gone to Mexico thinking maybe in travel to find the understanding and inspiration in life that I longed for, and that I later did find in yoga. But travel turned out to be, as Emerson called it, "a fool's paradise." Inspiration abandoned me, and with it my luck. For a time, things went poorly. Only the gradual return of positive spirits brought a return of my "luck."
Beginner's Luck: Cheerful Expectation Attracts Success
One often hears the expression, "beginner's luck." While I was in Mexico that summer, a family I met told me of an outing they had made to the race tracks. The father went regularly; for the others, it was their first time. To the father's amusement, his wife and daughter bet simply because they liked a horse's color, or its name. "That old nag hasn't won a race in years!" protested the father, as he bet with more seasoned wisdom. Yet he lost, while his wife and daughter won consistently. Surely it was because, in their utter ignorance of the odds against them, they bet with so much cheerful expectation that they actually attracted success.
Beginners on the spiritual path, too, attract more inner experiences, and advance more rapidly, than many a more seasoned seeker. The reason can only be that they haven't yet any idea how very difficult the path is. If one could only keep the buoyant faith that he felt at the start of the spiritual journey through the plodding "middle ground"—that period of hard, often agonizing work that intervenes between the inspiration born of one's first enthusiasm and that born of dawning divine perception—one might find God very quickly.
Whatever one holds strongly in his mind, that he attracts to himself. This is as true for circumstances and events as it is for things. It is even true for inspirations. "Thoughts," my guru said, "are universally and not individually rooted." (Autobiography of a Yogi)
If, instead of waiting passively for the muses to smile, one will strike out bravely in the direction of thought that he wants to take, he will find inspiration coming to him from he knows not where, literally drawn to him by the magnetic power of his faith.
Human Magnetism: Strong Energy Generates a Strong Magnetic Field
It is important to understand that human magnetism of all kinds is never the outcome of mere wishful thinking. Two people may think positively in an undertaking, yet one will attract success, and the other, failure. There are weak magnets, and strong ones. Any current passed through an electric wire will generate a magnetic field, but it takes a strong current to generate a strong magnetic field.
In the last lesson you learned the law of energization: "The greater the will, the greater the flow of energy." To this law may now be appended another: "The greater the flow of energy, the greater the magnetic field."
The principles of energization, therefore, apply also to the development of magnetism. When you send out a strong thought, a ray of energy goes out from you toward the object of that thought. This energy-ray creates its own magnetic field—strong or weak according to the relative strength of your will. If your will, and its resultant flow of energy, are powerful, there is nothing that you cannot draw to yourself. You will be able to perform feats that to others will appear miraculous.
But once you understand this principle of magnetism, it is important for you to realize that it can also be misused. Be careful what it is that you want, for wrong desires, even fears, can put this subtle law into operation just as surely. The devotee would do well always to try to unite his will, not only to cosmic energy, but to the divine will. In seeking grace, he should also seek guidance. For one draws divine perception, too, by the magnetic power of his will.
The will, when offered confidently to God, becomes faith. If your faith is kept pure and free of any self-interest, you will know when the will is misguided by the in harmony that suddenly develops between your will and its sense of steady development into divine faith.
Magnetic Spiritual Attitudes: Willingness, Cheerfulness, Kindness
As the molecules in a bar of iron, when turned every which way, cancel out its overall magnetic effectiveness, so the "molecules" of human desire, when conflictingly directed, cancel one another out, rendering human magnetism ineffective. To will something strongly, one must will it also with one's entire being. To draw anything to yourself, learn to put your whole self into the energy-flow you are directing.
In this way it will be seen that certain attitudes are automatically more magnetic than others. Willingness, cheerfulness, kindness—all wholesome, spiritual attitudes are magnetic. Unwillingness, discouragement, and similar negative attitudes, on the other hand, are like iron molecules turned conflictingly—or like toxins in the nervous system; they impair the free flow of energy. And while hatred and other strong negative emotions can develop a magnetic power of their own, if they are one-pointedly directed, in the end the inner heaviness they produce impairs the free flow of one's energy, and thereby destroys that kind of magnetism.
Even the foods we eat can be magnetically strengthening or depleting. If they load the system with toxins they will impair one's energy-flow, and therefore one's magnetism. If they assist the flow of energy in the body, they may rightly be called magnetizing foods. This aspect of the subject will be discussed more fully in the chapter on diet.
Every kind of human activity manifests a magnetism of its own. For success in that activity, the most important requirement is that one develop the appropriate type of magnetism. Once this magnetism has been well developed, indeed, one may achieve success even if his formal training in that field has been limited. (In fact, the greatest benefit from any kind of training—greater even than factual knowledge—is that the confidence born of such knowledge develops in one the magnetic power to attract success.)
The Most Powerful Energy: The Magnetic Power of Divine Love
Finally, it must be remembered that everything originates in the Infinite Spirit. Magnetism of every kind is born of the magnetic power of God's love. Like the light emanating from an electric bulb, this power is strongest at its source. Like an object held up to a light, and reflecting the light more brightly (even at a distance) the closer it is held to the light, divine power is greatest, even on low levels of manifestation, when its point of origin is closest to the Divine Source.
In this material world, the highest realities often appear insignificant. Yet the hidden atomic energy in a bar of iron is far greater than that which one could generate from wielding the bar as a club. Kindness and fair-mindedness, similarly, can solve differences more effectively than can brutal tactics.
Divine love, though perhaps the least-known force in the universe, and the one most apt to he scoffed at by men as "impractical, unrelated to mundane affairs, ineffective," is in fact the most powerful—indeed, in the last analysis the only—force in the universe. By the magnetic power of divine love, all things can be accomplished—even that most seemingly impossible of all tasks, our salvation from delusion.
What man by his own power alone cannot accomplish, divine love accomplishes easily. And its task, once accomplished, is accomplished forever. The most important thing, therefore, is for us by meditation to attune ourselves to that subtlest ray.
Offer your love to God. You will create a magnetic field thereby which will in turn draw His love to you. In this way, gradually, you will become ever more perfectly a channel for His love, drawing Him to you on higher and higher levels of divine awareness until your love attains perfection in Him. Remember, God's love flows to you always. It is you, by your love, who must complete the circuit, thereby generating the magnetism that can draw to yourself the very consciousness of Infinity.
Again, therefore, remember the law governing magnetism: The greater the flow of energy (as awakened by will), the stronger the magnetic field.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Crystal Clarity Publishers. ©2002, 2011. www.crystalclarity.com
The Art and Science of Raja Yoga
by J. Donald Walters.
This is the most comprehensive course on yoga and meditation available today, giving you a profound and intimate understanding of how to apply these age-old teachings, on a practical, as well as spiritual, day-to-day level in this modern age. Over 450 pages of text and photos give you a complete and detailed presentation of hatha yoga (yoga postures), yoga philosophy, affirmations, meditation instruction, and breathing techniques. Also included are suggestions for daily yoga routines, helpful information on diet, and alternative healing techniques.
About the Author
Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters) has been since 1948 a close, direct disciple of the great yoga master, Paramhansa Yogananda. Swami Kriyananda has shared his guru's teachings in many countries throughout the world for more than fifty years. He has given thousands of lectures and classes, written over seventy books, composed more than 400 musical works, and recorded numerous albums of his music. Swami Kriyananda is the founder and spiritual director of Ananda Village near Nevada City, California. In existence since 1968, there are some 800 resident members living at Ananda Village, and in its branch communities in California, Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island, and Italy.