#1338 From Icky to Awesome

Wisdom From Another Indian Sage and His Grandmother

In our last +1, we talked about Yogananda and his guru’s wisdom on what to do with ghosts/aka how to live fearlessly.

As you may recall, the trick is to APPROACH our challenges rather than try to avoid them.

The story is so good, we’ll quickly review it.

Yogananda’s guru tells him: “My mother once tried to frighten me with an appalling story of a ghost in a dark chamber. I went there immediately, and expressed my disappointment at having missed the ghost. Mother never told me another horror tale.”

Hah. Genius.

The moral of the story?

“Look fear in the face and it will cease to trouble you.”

As I read that moral from an Indian yogi, I thought of another one of my favorite Indian sages, Eknath Easwaran.

In his great book, Your Life Is Your Message, he tells us about a lesson he learned from his Indian guru—who happened to be his grandmother.

The short story?

Young Eknath was complaining about how hard it was to meditate and to change his habits.

He tells us: “I complained about it to my spiritual teacher, my grandmother. She was a very plainspoken teacher, with none of the euphemisms of the intellectual, so she simply led me to a nearby amla tree. The amla is a beautiful tree, a little like the mimosa, with a small fruit. She picked a fruit and said, ‘Here, take a bite.’ I started chewing. It was pretty awful.

I said, ‘I’ve got to spit it out, Granny. It’s sour, bitter, unpleasant.’ She just said, ‘Bear with me. Keep chewing for a while.’ So I went on chewing, and to my surprise the amla fruit began to get sweeter and sweeter.

Similarly, meditation and the allied disciplines require sustained enthusiasm every day—even when it seems icky. Especially when it seems icky! If you keep at it, you will find those same disciplines becoming sweeter and sweeter. When meditation time comes around you will find yourself hungering for the inner peace and calm it brings. The time will even come when you want a double helping.”

Approaching our fears?

Rewiring our brains as we create new, virtuous habits that help us flourish while eliminating the old, vicious ones that don’t?

Of course…

The process isn’t always pleasant.

It’s often painful.

It tastes “icky.”


We have the Wisdom to see that approaching our fears and embracing the inevitable challenges of the journey and doing the hard work to win the ultimate game that brings us the sweet reward of tapping into our infinite potential.

Let’s do that.


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