The Atlanta Center is a branch of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), a worldwide non-profit religious organization with international headquarters located in Los Angeles, California. SRF was founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda for the purpose of disseminating Kriya Yoga, a sacred spiritual science originating millenniums ago in India, for attaining direct personal experience of God. In India and surrounding countries, Paramahansa Yogananda’s work is known as Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), which has more than 100 centers, retreats, and ashrams. The Atlanta Center serves families and friends throughout Georgia and the southeastern neighboring states. The Center is open to the public during our services, which are held on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

The Atlanta Center minister counselor, Brother Ishtananda was asked to contribute to a recently published article in this month’s natural awakening  entitled “bringing Love home for the holidays”. We are pleased to share Brother Ishtananda’s  contribution  to this article.  

  A Harmonizing and Unifying Universal Force
By Brother Ishtananda
Imagine you are walking in the woods, and you see a beautiful spiderweb, glistening in the early morning sunlight. There, at each juncture of the web, is a dewdrop, and, no matter where you touch the web, every dewdrop is affected. Similarly, the “dewdrops” of our lives are affected by the underlying universal life. 
We are all connected by one consciousness. 
Currently, that underlying life on our planet is being “touched” by fear, anger, hatred and other unlovely qualities. If we are not very self-aware, we will unconsciously be adversely affected by what is going on in the world. We might express ourselves toward friends and family in negative ways, not realizing where that negativity is coming from. These negative qualities have the effect of creating disharmony and a sense of separation from those around us when they are not in agreement with our way of thinking. The effect is that we are unhappy, and that makes those around us unhappy. 
There are many ways we can try to improve this situation – empathetic listening, trying to be open-minded to others’ ideas, be more trusting, etc. But there is one powerful, universal force that unites and harmonizes. Through the use of this force, the other ways of being more positive and improving relationships will come naturally. The word for it is “love.” 
During the upcoming holiday season, let us try not to be affected by the negativity in the world, but rather open our hearts to that universal force of love so that we are affecting ourselves, those around us, and the world in a very positive, uplifting way. 
One of the most powerful ways of tuning in with that universal love is by meditation.
I would like to share with you an excerpt from Metaphysical Meditations, a book by Paramahansa Yogananda. The excerpt is called “Expanding Love.” He suggested not only reading the words but meditating, dwelling on, and feeling what the words represent.
“My kingdom of love shall expand. I have loved my body more than anything else. That is why I am identified with and limited by it. With the love that I have given to the body, I will love all those who love me. With the expanded love of those who love me, I will love those who are mine. With the love for myself and the love for my own, I will love those who are strangers. I will use all my love to love those who do not love me, as well as those who love me. I will bathe all souls in my unselfish love. In the sea of my love, my family members, my countrymen, all nations, and all beings will swim. All creation, all the myriads of tiny living things, will dance on the waves of my love.” — Paramahansa Yogananda