Personal Development

Our Search for True Joy


by Stephen Sturgess

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they begin to feel a sense of loneliness and inner emptiness; a feeling that something is missing. We may have all the material comforts that life can give us – a house, a car, the latest fashions in clothes, the latest digital technology, a good marriage or relationship, sex, family and friends, a successful career, wealth and health – all the things that are believed by most people to bring them happiness and security. But even when we attain the acquisition of wealth, power, and prestige, happiness can still delude us. You may be very successful in the external world, but what good is that success if you have not found, contentment, inner peace and happiness within?

From morning to night millions of people are working hard to attain some happiness. A happiness that is fleeting – sometimes we experience happiness, other times we experience sadness, sorrow or discontent. This duality causes us to continually seek something without not knowing what it is. The problem is that most of us are searching outside for that which is inherent within us. We need to realise that the true source of happiness, which is joy (ananda) does not lie outside of us in any thing, object or person in the world. No one can give you happiness, because it is a state of consciousness that exists within you. Joy is an inner state of consciousness, that is your true divine nature; you are that joy, that eternal blissful spiritual Self!

The ultimate aim of life is to realise your Divine nature. It is to realise and become established in the awareness of your true Divine God-Self, which is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Ever- Existing, Ever-Conscious, Ever-New Joy or Bliss).

Through your own direct experience you need to re-discover who and what you are. First know yourself. You need to regain awareness of your real spiritual nature, to awaken and transcend the illusions and limitations in which you are involved.

To regain awareness of your true Self you need to reverse the direction of the mind. The mind of the ordinary person living in a worldly lifestyle is turned outwards towards the objects of the senses, and is not only concerned with things and people in the external world but is engrossed in them so completely that it is not even aware of this fact.

So the first step in becoming aware of the integrated state of consciousness and regaining the reality of your Divine Self is to direct the mind within, towards the central source of consciousness, the light of the Self, your innermost nature which is joy or bliss(ananda).

The second step is to raise the mind upwards from the lower centres (chakras) of consciousness to the higher centres of the brain.

This is what Jesus Christ meant when he said, “The kingdom of God is within you.”(Luke 17:21). God can be experienced as your own Self. Turn your mind and senses inward and absorb yourself in the reality of the Divine Self within you, and meditate with the awareness that you are the witness of the mind. allow the thinking mind to become still, then when the thoughts are still, the light of the Self will shine from within.

The key to Self-God realisation is meditation

Through meditation you can become aware of your own true nature and have a direct experience and realisation of Self, the indwelling God. Direct experience is perceiving things and beings as they really are and not as you think they are. Direct experience is intuitive and immediate. One cannot attain the Self by just doing good actions, acts of charity, or by performing rituals. Self-realisation can only be attained through an inner awakening of consciousness and direct knowledge. No amount of intellectual reasoning, discussing philosophy or studying of the scriptures can give you that real inner spiritual awakening.

Raja Yoga
Raja Yoga (‘Royal Path of Yoga’) takes into consideration every aspect of life, in a gradual process of unfoldment. It shows how to overcome the imperfections of the lower nature and how to gain complete mastery over the body, mind and senses, so that one can regain true awareness and realise once again his or her everlasting oneness with the Divine. Meditation (dhyana) is the pinnacle of Raja Yoga and the consummation of spiritual endeavour.

The aim of Yoga is union of the individual self (atman) with Supreme Self (Paramatma). To attain the aim of Yoga nothing is required externally; ultimate Reality and Truth is forever present, here and now. It is not found outside, for what we are seeking is eternally within us.

The process of Yoga is to remove the obstructions in the mind or field of consciousness that veil you from realising your true nature (Self-realisation). Raja Yoga, the Royal spiritual path to Self-realisation, leads one to the direct experience and awareness of your true inner Self, and of the Self’s eternal oneness with the Absolute, God.

The obstacle to realising your essential nature – the eternal, unmanifest and pure conscious Self – is the vritti, the thinking, feeling principle in the mind, which blocks the ever-present, ever-conscious, eternal reality.

Paramhansa Yogananda, the great Kriya Yoga Master, who first brought Kriya Yoga to the Western world in the 1920s, and whose classic autobiography (‘Autobiography of A Yogi’) on Kriya Yoga has inspired thousands to follow his teachings, has said this about Kriya:

“The Kriya yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centres (Chakras) which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic cosmic man. Onehalf minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half minute of kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment.”

I have been practising Yoga for over 40 years, I met many teachers and gurus and learned from different paths of Yoga, but it wasn’t until 1982 that I found my spiritual path of Kriya yoga, and my guru Paramhansa yogananda. In that year I met the American yogi, Swami Kriyananda (1926-2013), a direct disciple of Yogananda, and founder of the Ananda spiritual communities, who initiated me into the ancient science of Kriya. That night after meeting Swami Kriyananda, I was blessed to see the appearance of Yogananda in my superconscious dream, who said, “Fear not, for I am Paramhansa Yogananda, your true guru. This is your spiritual path, come follow me!”

   In 2011 another American direct disciple of Yogananda named Roy Eugene-Davis ordained me as a Kriya teacher (Kriyacharya) to teach and initiate others into Kriya. I now teach Kriya Yoga and give Kriya Initiation in London.

About the Author: Stephen Sturgess is a Kriya Yoga and meditation teacher, author, and artist, living and Stephen Sturgess_blue Portraitpractising in London. He is the author of four books on Yoga: The Yoga book, The Book of Chakras & the subtle Bodies, and The Supreme Art and Science of Raja & Kriya Yoga, published by SingingDragon. which is an essential complete and comprehensive text on Raja and Kriya Yoga, that includes the practical techniques and methods for preparing for Kriya Initiation. www.yogananda-kryayoga.org.uk


Stephen Sturgess
The Book of Chakras & Subtle Bodies 
ISBN: 9781780286822




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