Archive for April, 2012

One Prayer Away from a Miracle

April 30, 2012

In a recent Sunday service at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple in Encinitas, the minister read this letter from Judy, a member of the congregation. Her story was so moving it brought tears to my eyes. After the service, I asked Judy if I could share her story here. It is a powerful reminder of a truth we must always hold on to:

Never lose hope. You may be one prayer away from a miracle.


Rosa said of Paramahansa Yogananda: "That's him. He came to bring me back."

Rosa is a twenty-nine year-old Catholic, Hispanic teacher who had just finished her Master’s Degree in Education and had started teaching in the inner city of L.A. She was devoted to her five-month-old little girl, Maria, who was always laughing and giggling.

Her family and I were close, so late one night when I received a phone call saying that Rosa had just had a sudden heart attack I was stunned. She had been rushed to the hospital, and on the surgical table her heart had stopped four times. Though the doctors had revived her, she remained in a coma—on life-support systems and kidney dialysis as she awaited open heart surgery and a liver transplant. One hundred family and friends were crowded into the L.A. emergency room. Her parents slept nightly by her bedside, refusing to leave. As she wavered between life and death, her right hand turned gangrene, and her white blood cell count spiked to 48,000, indicating a major, life-threatening infection.

She had been unconscious for a week when I walked into her ICU room and stood at her bedside. Her sister, Ella, had begged me to “just come and pray,” so I made the two-and-a-half hour trip to Rosa’s side. Though I’d been a nurse for thirty years, I’d never (more…)

Huston Smith on the Convergence of Faith and Science

April 26, 2012

Huston Smith

I was impressed with Professor Huston Smith‘s explanation of how faith and science, which are usually at loggerheads with each other, are actually complementary and equally true. Smith is the author of The World’s Religions, which has sold three million copies and helped change America’s religious landscape when it was published in 1958.

This essay by Ptolemy Tompkins, who at the time was the Assistant Managing Editor at Guideposts, was printed in the May 2008 issue of Guideposts.

How faith and science can both be true—and how one teenager knew his life here on earth was significant

It was in high school that I first started hearing about the battle between faith and science and how that battle had been won by science.

“Faith was fine in the Dark Ages when people didn’t know how the universe really worked,” my friend Bruce, an aspiring science major, would explain to me—with the tone of an adult explaining a completely obvious truth to a stubborn child. “But there’s no (more…)

Sarah and Mrs. Z: A Teacher’s Story

April 25, 2012

We are all messengers; the way we live our lives, and how we show up in the world, are messages that we broadcast every minute of every day. Lou Zywicki Prudhomme, a high school teacher from Carlton, Minnesota, thought her message of encouragement and hope hadn’t made much of an impact on her students, until a chance encounter came at just the right time to provide her with encouragement and hope in her own hour of need. This story from the April 2012 issue of Guideposts moved me to tears. I trust it will touch your heart as well.

A reunion with a once-troubled former student helps a teacher deal with her grief

Lou Zywicki Prudhomme

I published an article in Guideposts magazine a little over six years ago: Sarah’s Story, about a troubled eleventh grader in the English class I taught at a vocational high school in Duluth, Minnesota. Sarah was one of the angriest students I had ever taught. But I knew that her anger was simply a defense she’d built up against her deeper feelings of fear and hurt.

Sarah had grown up in an abusive home and had then lived on the streets before entering foster care. Even then she remained disruptive and confrontational—with her fellow students and especially with me, whom she saw as just another authority figure who couldn’t be trusted. She seemed to have no interest in her future.

I was at a loss. I was proud of my teaching, but I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to reach Sarah. Lord, I’d prayed, help me find the key to Sarah’s heart.

Then one day I stumbled onto something that I hoped would grab her attention, a Northern (more…)

Only Boys Aloud

April 24, 2012

What I like best about this audition for Britain’s Got Talent on April 24, 2012, is not the actual singing of Only Boys Aloud, a 133-piece boy’s choir, but the reason it was formed. The choir director explained that, due to the high unemployment rate and concomitant social problems in their region of Wales, young people were susceptible to falling in with the wrong crowd and getting seduced by drinking and drugs. He said that this choir was a way to demonstrate to (more…)

Chelsea Redfern Goes Purple

April 23, 2012

Chelsea Redfern

It’s always fun to see someone who is so young and so shy transform themselves on stage and belt out a song with a huge, unique voice. But what’s especially endearing is the way that eighteen-year-old Chelsea Redfern was literally trembling with excitement and joy after (more…)

The Momma’s Encinitas Adventure!

April 16, 2012

Mom and me in the house where I live in Encinitas

I never expected my mom to visit me in Encinitas, but when my roommate planned a two-week trip to Hawaii and was willing to rent out his room, the Momma hopped on a jet and touched down in SoCal on April 3. We’ve had a terrific time! Every day she’s roamed the streets of Encinitas for an hour or two while I get some work done. She loves spending time in the Meditation Gardens on the SRF Ashram grounds and at the J Street Viewpoint overlooking the ocean, which is just half a block from where I live.

She’s also enjoyed five days of (more…)

Keeping Your Chariot on the Road

April 15, 2012

In church today, the minister offered a brief but instructive analogy. He said that every person’s life is like a chariot pulled by two horses. The chariot is your consciousness, one horse is your involvement in the material world, and the other horse is your spiritual efforts. You need your two horses to be in synch in order to stay on the road. If you’re too invested in the material world,  the chariot of your consciousness will veer to one side; if you’re too focused on your spiritual life at the expense of your earthly existence, the chariot will pull to the other side. Either (more…)

When Life Asks You to Dance

April 8, 2012

There is an urgency to life that many of us come to appreciate only when it is too late, when the days have dribbled away and we are covered with the fine ash of regret. When opportunity presents itself, it must be seized at once. Such is the raw beauty of life. This poem by Marge Piercy beautifully expresses the necessity of offering your hand when life asks you to dance.


Missing is a pain
in everyplace
making a toothache
out of a day.
But to miss something
that never was:
the longest guilt
the regret that comes down
like a fine ash
year (more…)

Ryan O’Shaughnessy Puts His Heart on the Line

April 3, 2012

Lovesick lad Ryan O'Shaughnessy

What’s the best way for a nineteen-year-old guy to declare his undying love for the girl he’s been friends with for six years but didn’t have the nerve to confess his secret crush to? Why, sing an original love song to her before millions on national TV, of course! That’s exactly what Ryan O’Shaughnessy did in (more…)

Look for Beauty and You Will Find It

April 2, 2012

If you want the world to be a more beautiful place, the solution is simple: Think, speak and act in more beautiful ways.

It is within your power to choose how much purity, love, beauty, and spiritual joy you will express, not (more…)