Don’t you just love to be around happy people? Is there a person in your life whose presence is always uplifting? Someone who fits that description is my workout buddy, Rick. When Rick appears, I can’t help but smile. Maybe it’s because he approaches me cheerfully.
Rick always has good things to report. He looks for the positive side of each situation. My grandmother would have approved—he follows her advice: “If you can’t say anything good about a person, then don’t say anything at all.” Rick doesn’t claim to be perfect, but very little negativity ever comes through his demeanor, words, or actions. Our world needs more Ricks.
We marvel at a consistently cheerful attitude and wonder about its source. Having spent countless hours discussing spiritual principles with Rick, I know that the source of his joy is his spiritual path. Although his path is different from my own, the effects are the same. Rick spends quality time in prayer and contemplation. Those practices have made him the amiable person that he is. Yoga does the same for us.
The Source of Happiness is Within
Everyone wants to be happy. The search for happiness is a part of our human makeup. Long ago, we humans learned how to provide for our basic needs. Then we had time to think about happiness instead of hunger. We tried to avoid suffering and worry. And we wanted to be more comfortable, even entertained.
Yogic sages, human beings like us, also sought happiness. They took the inner journey—the road that led to the pinnacle of human happiness. They were the pathfinders. These yogis returned to public life and taught their map of joy to others. They taught about the direct connection between meditation and happiness.
One Wise Sage’s Advice on the Effects of Meditation
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was a prolific and inspired writer. His inspirational talks, books, and quotes are readily available to us. Many seekers begin their quest by reading his most famous book Autobiography of a Yogi (aff link).
Yogananda spent most of his adult life in America. He urged spiritual aspirants to meditate often and deeply. Yogananda emphasized that meditation is the sure way to experience inner peace and lasting joy. He added that those experiences would radiate to others around us.
Following are a few of my favorite quotes by Yogananda. These emphasize the importance of meditation, inspiring us to commit to our practice.
Understand and experience the superior joys of the interior life. Then everyone around you will feel and benefit from the pure joy that emanates from you.
There is happiness in the divine soul-temple within you. There is goodness there; and loyalty, hope, courage, peace, and joy. All these qualities you can garner in your temple within.
When you are calm, you feel the whole universe of happiness rocking gently beneath your consciousness. That happiness is God.
You can consciously know your soul—your true self—by meditation. And when you know yourself as soul you will have discovered the presence of God within you.
By contemplating these quotes—or just one—your interest in meditation will increase. Pick one, and write it out by hand. Remember it often. By doing so, you will develop into a person who radiates joy.
Do you have a favorite quote about happiness or meditation? Please share it with us in the comments below.
Chityānanda has been a disciple of Svāmī Gurupremānanda Sarasvatī since 1975. She teaches meditation and yoga as a spiritual path in Santa Cruz, California.