Some years ago a delightful friend of ours, an architect and engineer, observed, “We engineers study the laws of gravity, but you people at Ananda study the laws of levity.” While humorous, this statement is also deeply true. As things expand they become lighter, and the purpose of life at Ananda is to expand.
Swami Kriyananda introduced the concept of spiritual specific gravity in his book, Education for Life. He says, “In the world of physics, objects rise or sink, as we all know, according to their own specific gravity relative to the density of the medium surrounding them. …’Specific Gravity’ in human beings is what makes them, to varying degrees, positive or negative.”
He explains that each of us has a natural specific gravity that can be raised or lowered by habitual responses. I’ve found two pairs of opposing habits that are especially important to our general outlook and behavior – positive versus negative, and expansive versus contractive.
Watch whether you tend to react positively or negatively to people and events in your life. The habit of criticizing people can be countered by training yourself to think first of three good things about them. Do the same for situations and events. Try this, even for a day, and see if you aren’t more positive and happier.
Discerning whether you are expansive or contractive is a little harder to determine since the mind uses reason to justify the heart’s feelings. Contractiveness often expresses itself through mentally pitting oneself against others, by thinking in terms of “I” versus “them.” Swami Kriyananda wrote a charming song called “More Boxes, No Thank You” that has the refrain (best sung in a lilting and haughty manner), “I, My, Me, Mine; I, My, Me-eee, Mine.” I’ve found it helpful to sing this refrain, silently of course, when I get a little too full of myself.
For yogis there is a more defined pathway to raising one’s specific gravity, which is to keep the life force more in the upper chakras. This attunes us with universal spiritual qualities such as love, calmness, peace, and joy. Every meditation, every act of kindness or service raises your consciousness and connects you to Divine Mother.
By retraining ourselves to be more positive and expansive, by meditating and serving selflessly, we will leave behind the pull of gravity and open ourselves to the law of levity. Who knows how high that can take us?