The Miracle of Happiness

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali provide a thorough explanation of meditation — the purpose, means, obstacles. The process and results are summed up in the first few lines: Yoga, the experience of the now, the experience of who we really are, is found when the fluctuations of consciousness — thoughts — are stilled; when they are not, we think we are our thoughts. That experience brings the power of seeing the world in a new way.

One of the great teachers in my ISHTA Yoga lineage, Paramahansa Yogananda, who brought yoga to America in the mid-20th century, took great care to show respect to the predominantly Christian practices in his new home. He wrote of the central theme of Easter — death of the physical and resurrection as divine — in terms of a shared christ consciousness, the transcendent awareness found through meditation.

Pure yoga is not a religion, nor does it preclude any religion, rather it is a science that helps reconnect us to this consciousness. It’s possible to reconnect in other ways, it’s a part of being human. In John’s gospel, speaking of his powers, Jesus is quoted as saying, ” the works that I do shall [others] do also.”

We call the subsequent power of transcendent awareness by various names depending on our spiritual culture, for example, miracles in Christianity, siddhis in yoga. I believe that in the context of the Happiness Series, we can call it the power to be happy. Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s translator supported this idea when he told Krista Tippett that he was once asked if he had ever seen His Holiness working a miracle. He replied yes, whenever the Dalai Lama was with someone, they were both happy.

A meditation for the season:

1. Take a comfortable seat

2. Rock from side to side, noticing the center as you pass through on each rock. Home in on the center and come to stillness there.

3. Focus on a point of energy in the middle of your chest. This center is the nexus between earthbound and universal.

4. When you inhale, visualize the energy expanding out into the universe; when you exhale, draw the energy back into your center. Repeat this for a minute or so, until your breath becomes softer and your concentration is easy.

5. Sit for 18 minutes, or as long as you can, surrendering everything to stillness — as though you were surrendering to sleep, but staying conscious.

6. Bring your palms together in front of your heart, a symbol of the joining of opposites, to seal in the experience of self as universal.



To learn more about Peter, check out his site


Filed Under: Spotlight


About the Author: Peter Ferko, (, writes about finding “Grace” in everyday life for Happiness Series. He pursues happiness on several fronts. He has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years and is a teacher at ISHTA Yoga in New York where he trains new teachers. He is an artist in several media, including writing, photography, music, and graphic design. His latest project is a novel in which the main characters are all looking for a way to gracefully negotiate their lives, and it’s no surprise they are turning to yoga as a path. Peter’s work can be found at


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