Am I Not Always with You?

from Ramu

For my job I had to spend a lot of time driving, but I didn’t mind. I had been given a huge stash of Ananda classes on tape, and in the car I listened to those tapes over and over. As long as the Ananda teachers were speaking, everything felt right. But when I had to turn off the tape and get out of the car, life hit me full-blown, and it was a little more than I could handle easily.

I ran my own business, doing landscape maintenance for about sixty clients. It was enough to support my wife and three young children, but I had to work six days a week to make ends meet. Most of the responsibility for our local Ananda center also fell on my shoulders.

Work, family, meditation, taking care of the center—huff, puff! Even with cutting back on sleep, there was never enough time. I took to heart the words of Sri Yukteswar from Autobiography of a Yogi: “Everything in future will improve if you are making the right spiritual effort now.” But I wanted that future to be now!

One day, walking fast, late for an appointment, I noticed a crumpled piece of newspaper lying on the ground about fifteen feet to the side from where I was walking. Acting on an impulse, I went over to pick it up.

“What are you doing?” I chided myself. “It isn’t your duty to keep America litter-free!”

I lifted the paper from the sidewalk, smoothed it open, and saw it was a picture of my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda.