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Make New Determinations: Be What You Want to Be! by Paramahansa Yogananda

 

 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA

 

 

To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of Self-Realization Fellowship, we are featuring the following excerpts from one of Yogananda’s talks on how to start the New Year on a positive note. The excerpts are from his talk “Make New Determinations: Be What You Want to Be,” which he gave on December 31, 1934 at the international headquarters of SRF, and which is published in his anthology of talks and essays entitled Journey to Self-realization (Self-Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles, CA, www.yogananda-srf.org.  Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.)

 

 

 

Make new determinations as to what you are going to do and what you are going to be in this next year. Set a program for yourself; carry it through, and you will find how much happier you will be. Failure to keep to your schedule of improvement means you have paralyzed your will. You have no greater friend and no greater enemy than yourself. If you befriend yourself, you will find accomplishment. There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish.

 

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Let nothing weaken your conviction that you can be whatever you want to be. There is no one obstructing you unless it be yourself….As I used the God-given gift of will power in my life, I found it to be my savior. Not to use the will is to be inert like a stone, an inanimate object—an ineffectual human being.

 

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The ability to accomplish is all in the mind. Your body itself is virtually sustained by thought. Food is only incidental; the main power sustaining you is your mind, your consciousness. It is thought that brings energy into the body. When thought is neutralized, the body feels weak and begins to decay.

God’s thought is the essence of everything. It is living, it is infinite. Out of the Infinite Vastness, everything has been drawn.

 

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Cast away all negative thoughts and fears. Remember that as a child of God you are endowed with the same potentialities as the most excellent among men. As souls, none is greater than another. Attune your will to be guided by the wisdom of God as expressed in the wisdom of the sages. If your will is yoked to wisdom, you can achieve anything. Fear inhibits progress. Whatever shall come, be prepared to face it; have the mental preparedness to go through any change without succumbing to the inertia caused by suffering.

 

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Retain evenness of mind under all circumstances. In every situation be calmly active and actively calm. Banish all disillusionment, all disappointments you might have found in losses and suffering. These constraints on the power of thought and will must absolutely be done away with. Your trials did not come to punish you, but to awaken you—to make you realize that you are a part of Spirit and that just behind the spark of your life is the Flame of Infinity; just behind the glimmer of your thoughts is the Great Light of God; just behind your discriminative reason is the omniscience of Spirit; just behind your love is the all-fulfilling love of God.

 

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Bad habits are the worst enemies you can have. You are punished by those habits. They make you do things you do not want to do, and leave you to suffer the consequences. You must drop bad habits and leave them behind you as you move forward. Every day should be a transition from old habits to better habits. In this coming year make a solemn resolution to keep only those habits that are for your highest good.

 

The best way to get rid of your undesirable tendencies is not to think about them; do not acknowledge them. Never concede that a habit has a hold on you. “How can I be made to do what I don’t like to do?” That very thought keeps you going ahead in spite of habits that try to hold you back….You must develop “won’t” habits. And stay away from those things that stimulate bad habits. Do not test yourself with temptation.

 

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Do not be bound by this earth. This is just a place where for a time you are to act your part. Do not give undue importance to it. Balance material and spiritual duties in your life; that will bring you supreme happiness.

 

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Use your God-given creative ability; that is the basis of success. Whatever has been done, try to improve upon it. The man of creative ability is among God’s best instruments. He makes improvements on himself and on what evolution has thus far given to his earthly environment. God moves through such willing innovators.

 

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Do not limit yourself with the narrowness of selfishness. Include others in your achievements and happiness, then you are doing the will of God. Whenever you think of yourself, think also of others. When you think of seeking peace, think of others who are in need of peace.

 

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Be always with people who inspire you; surround yourself with people who lift you up. Do not let your resolutions and positive thinking be poisoned by bad company. Even if you cannot find good company to inspire you, you can find it in meditation. The best company you can have is the joy of meditation.

 

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Your cup of life within and without is filled with the Divine Presence, but because of the lack of attention you do not perceive God’s immanence. When you are in tune, as one tunes in a radio, then you receive Spirit.

 

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Infinity is our Home. We are just sojourning awhile in the caravanserai of the body. Those who are drunk with delusion have forgotten how to follow the trail that leads to God. But when in meditation the Divine gets hold of the prodigal child, there is no dallying anymore. Enter the portals of the New Year with new hope. Remember you are a child of God. It lies with you as to what you are going to be.

 

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Meditate more and believe in that strong consciousness that God is always with you regardless of what happens. Then you will see that the veil of delusion will be taken away and you will be one with That which is God. That is how I found my greatest happiness in life. I am not looking for anything now because I have everything in Him. Never would I part with That which is the richest of all possessions. This is my message to you for the New Year.

 

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