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It is a great mistake to try to reduce stress and tension by avoiding challenges and difficulties. You do not attain peace merely by escaping responsibility. You attain it by discharging your responsibilities and winning on the battlefield of life, in the true sense. Success means learning an important life lesson.

True success means taking a step toward infinite freedom because we have learned an important life lesson that we no longer need to repeat. Only that kind of success gives true peace. As long as there’s any fear — fear of the test, of being drawn into the karma, of failure, or even fear of success, then there is still karma to be worked out.

The pull of unwillingness: Most people are pulled in two directions. While they’re doing something, they’re wishing they weren’t doing it. For your spiritual growth, don’t try to reduce stress by avoiding what you’ve been given to do. Difficulties are opportunities for growth. When we give what we’re doing to God, we find that there is a great joy and even great relaxation in the process. Learn to act from within outward. Relax. 

Do not worry what other people think about what you should, or should not, be doing. The teachings of yoga say we should be centred in ourselves. Meditation is the best method for this. If you can be centred in yourself, and act from within outward, then you will have that degree of poise and relaxation to turn left or right as the circumstances dictate.

Work on developing an attitude of non-attachment to the fruits of your actions. People with that attitude will have the degree of relaxation needed to work without tension or fear, and even if they fail, they are able to rise again.

It’s very helpful to visualise the fear actually being fulfilled, to visualise the worst possible results of whatever you’re doing, because the anticipation is almost always greater than the realisation. Once you’ve accepted a certain possibility, you can then put all of your energy into the constructive action necessary for success. In the Bible, we read that perfect love casts out fear. 

When you love God deeply enough there is nothing to fear because you know He’s always with you. It’s important to work toward attaining that level of courage. If in the process you sometimes feel anxiety about something, don’t pull back. Just call on God to support you in whatever you have to do. The time will come when you will be victorious over that fear.

Remember also that our thoughts send out a kind of magnetism that draws to us whatever is expressive of that thought. People who undergo a disaster of a certain kind in some way have put out a call for that disaster.

Conditions are neutral: Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Conditions are always neutral.” They seem good or bad according to the positive or negative attitude of the mind. We can make the best of even the worst circumstances. We have to be practical, but the most important thing is to have faith in God and to live in the thought that God is with you, always. Faith in God will give you the level of relaxation you need, to face life most effectively.

- Swami Kriyananda


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