Awakening, Prospering, and Fulfilling Our Potential with Ellen Grace O’Brian

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As spiritual seekers most of us have asked ourselves such questions as: How can we live skillfully and prosper to fulfill our destiny? How may we be free from self-doubt, worry, or the opinions of others? How do we throw off the shackles of fear that bind us or that cause us to sink down under the weight of despair? What are the laws of abundance and true wealth? Here Yogacharya O’Brian shares in detail the four principles or goals of Yogic philosophy. Briefly she outlines them as: One, to live a life of higher purpose. Not just a purposeful life but a life of higher purpose which has to do with our spiritual nature and learning how to cooperate with the Infinite. Two is wealth, learn how to prosper. Surprising coming out of this ancient philosophical system. Together these two principles guide us to live with higher purpose, thrive and prosper. Three, maybe even more surprising, is pleasure or enjoy life. Be sure that when you live with higher purpose and you’re thriving and prospering you don’t lose your soul along the way and you enjoy your life. The last of those four aims of life is enlightenment.” When describing the third aim as important to our soul she says, “It’s funny isn’t it that we have to give ourselves permission [to be joyful]…It was surprising to me to discover a guideline from thousands of years ago that says as you’re going along your way in life, doing the things that are important for you to do, be sure to include your soul in the equation and one of the ways to do that is follow the joy and pay attention to whether or not you’re in touch with your joy.” In her comforting and gentle way, she shares many stories and describes several metaphors that help us to understand the true nature of spiritual enlightenment. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Ellen Grace O’Brian is a yogacharya (an esteemed yoga teacher) and the founder and spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, a meditation center and spiritual community in the tradition of Kriya Yoga., Kriya Yoga is based on the teachings Paramahansa Yogananda brought to the U.S. in 1920. The Center for Spiritual Enlightenment is headquartered in San Jose, California.

Ellen Grace O’Brian is the author of many books including: 

To learn more about the work of Ellen Grace O’Brian go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Who was Roy Eugene Davis, O’Brian’s teacher and how did she meet him
  • What is Kriya Yoga and how does it differ from Hatha Yoga
  • What are the 4 principle aims of yogic philosophy: Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha
  • What is the life-lesson of the Nasruddin story of the runaway horse
  • What is the true meaning of wealth which includes but is not limited to material wealth
  • Why the soul is here to be joyful
  • Why enlightenment is simply the revelation of the truth of your being
  • How can we apply the metaphor of the ocean and waves to our spiritual life
  • What is the metaphor of light bulbs, lamps, lampshades, and electricity that helps to show us that we are not separate from Source or God
  • Why is self-discipline important in spiritual awakening
  • What Yogananda meant when he said, “Environment is stronger than willpower”
  • What are the five restraints in yoga described as the five yamas
  • Why is the establishment of contentment is fundamental to happiness which is fleeting and temporary 

Host: Justine Willis Toms           Interview Date: 3/18/2019         Program Number: 3674 

Music Included

From Album: Wave Hands
Artist: Buedi Siebert

Opening Essay: Track 04 - Building Chi
Music Break 1: Track 01 - From The Distance
Music Break 2: Track 02 - Life Breath
Music Break 3: Track 12 - Oneness