From unhappy multimillionaire to a man empowering others and being in bliss.
Although James Lynn had been born into a family of poor cotton farmers, he had worked his way to the top through discipline and his genius for business. His investments in the insurance business and oil had set him up before he was even 40 years old. However, he was frustrated, nervous, and unhappy. His wealth had bought him everything he wanted materially: a beautiful estate, his own personal golf-course, etc. but he was not content.
He was famous for his brains and his know-how; but he could not buy happiness.
When Lynn was 42 years old he met ParamahansaYogananda, an East Indian man who taught scientific techniques for reaching Self-Realization tested through thousands of years. Self-realization is a state of consciousness in which one experiences Oneness with All That Is, the fountainhead of all religions and spiritual paths.
Practicing the methods did not conflict with Lynn’s Christian heritage; instead, it enhanced his ability to feel the presence of God. Lynn found the calmness and joy he had longed for through the practice of the meditation techniques Yogananda taught. This allowed him to be even more highly successful in business because he could think more clearly.
The way Lynn perceived himself, his identity, and life, changed. He was no longer an anxious, nervous, unhappy man. He was full of bliss and continued to experience ever-new depths of bliss. Life was a joy.
You Can Do That, Too
Lynn applied the self-discipline he had cultivated to creating a routine of daily meditation and exercises to harness his life force. He also sought out the company of others who followed Yogananda’s teachings and studied books to increase his understanding. Getting enough sleep, nourishing his body with good food, and exercise in nature became essential to reaching his goal. He did reach it—and his teacher acknowledged his success, referring to him affectionately as ‘Saint Lynn’.
Lynn is a model of what anyone can do—with motivation and self-discipline. It doesn’t take money. There are now many vehicles that can replace the old model, worn out by anxiety and depression. By using them, you can learn to take the bumps without taking on the stress of the road.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to de-stress is by practicing mindfulness meditation. This practice derived from Vipassana Buddhism and is more than 2,500 years old. In the meditation, one learns to concentrate on the inner life, and begins to objectify one’s experiences: thinking, feeling, sensing, etc. More MDs and psychologists are encouraging their patients to use mindfulness techniques to help decrease both physical and emotional pain. It increases acceptance, patience, and compassion. It helps develop stability, inner calmness, and non-reactivity of the mind.
Going back to our analogy of the car: One can be fully in the driver’s seat, more able to choose what response to have to any given situation—rather than letting emotions and physical reactions be in control. It also strengthens the suspension of the vehicle—so the ride is smoother and instead of reacting to the bumps and pits in the road, we can take in the scenery.
A mindfulness teacher, J.D. O’Brien, writes: Since 1967, over 1500 studies have been conducted by over 250 independent research institutes showing Mindfulness Meditation to be clinically effective for the management of stress, anxiety and panic, chronic pain, depression, obsessive thinking, strong emotional reactivity, and a wide array of medical and mental health related conditions.
Group mindfulness meditations are sometimes offered for free, or for a modest price. Learning from an authorized teacher makes them simple to learn and the group support can assist one to build habits of daily practice. One can find listings for group retreats and meetings here:
Those who are drawn to the highest goal, that incorporates the skills of mindfulness and goes further to achieve the bliss of full Self-Realization, can find support through the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF). This is the same group Lynn was part of in his lifetime.
For a very modest price, SRF offers weekly “lessons” preparing one step-by-step through study and easy to learn meditation practices to reach Oneness with All That Is. Similar to the mindfulness groups, SRF welcomes people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds.
Just as one does not have to become a Hindu to practice Hatha Yoga, one does not need to give up one’s religion to learn fro the techniques given by SRF. Similarly, just as Hatha Yoga helps optimize physical health; SRF meditation techniques help optimize mental health.
SRF and its allied centers around the world also offer retreats and gatherings where those following the techniques can enjoy mutual support through study and group meditation. A strong point: your success is guaranteed if you follow the instructions.
See Yogananda-srf.org for details.