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22 Spiritual Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Before Turning 22

When I was 16, I couldn’t wait to be 21. And when I turned 21, I couldn’t wait to be 22. Here are 22 things I wish I’d known before I turned 22 to celebrate the year 2022:

  1. Don’t worry. Be Happy. Fear breeds anxiety. The antidote for fear is love. If you want less fear in your life, cultivate the healing power of love. Take a holiday from fear. Stop reading news, watching films, or listening to people and things that increase your fear level. Take a Gap Year that will change your life.
  2. Ask Yourself, “Who Am I?” This takes courage. Who you are on the outside is much different than who you are on the inside. One of the greatest gifts to yourself is to learn to meditate and find deeper ways that bring you more inner peace, focus, success and happiness. Attend one of our two week retreats and we’ll help you discover more.
  3. Find Your True Calling. Wherever you are going in life, there are predestined clues that can help you on your journey. Your “dharma” or “calling” can change throughout our life. It’s always best to be doing your own dharma because then what you’re doing is in alignment with your highest good. Our Finding Your Dharma course can help.
  4. “This World is Not What it Appears to Be” I struggled with this for many years. I was brought up in a Christian household, yet the only reason for life that made sense to me was reincarnation. The most expansive concept is The Yuga Cycles of Time, a 24,000 year Vedic calendar that repeats itself in descending and ascending “yugas” that shows how civilizations are born, exist, then die over millions of years.
  5. Healing is An Inside Job. If you want to heal yourself using spiritual power, invest time and energy into understanding The Spiritual Anatomy of Healing.
  6. Understanding Others is True Maturity. Being able to understand other’s realities is the secret of maturity. When you can truly experience what it feels like to be another person, understand their hardships, their pains, their joys and their culture then you are becoming compassionate and mature. One of the best ways to understand others is to Travel on Pilgrimage to another country.
  7. Quiet Your Mind. When all else fails and you cannot meditate, try sitting quietly, closing your eyes, and repeating this affirmation over and over again until you feel calmness descend: “Though the winds of difficulties howl around me, I stand forever calmly at the center of life’s storms”. Want to try quieting your mind for three days straight? Attend this Spring Retreat and learn to be in complete silence, without your phone or computer, for three straight days.
  8. Live in Community or Build One with Others. It wasn’t until I made a lot of money that I realized that being surrounded by a community of people that shared my ideals gave me great happiness. Instead of just a few friends I had many, because we were all supportive of each other’s highest spiritual good. Experience community, visit communities, join a virtual community, or best of all, try Living in Spiritual Community.
  9. Learn to Communicate Wisely. Being a good communicator means first learning how to be a good listener. Having successful relationships in life, whether romantically, or in work, means learning how to communicate. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, your relationship, or your business, is to invest time and energy into Conscious Communication.
  10. Leadership is Supportive. The best leaders are those who know how to empower you, encourage you and see the highest in you. Weak leaders look for ways to tear down your ideas, criticize your efforts or make you feel you are a failure. Those who like to dwell on the faults of others are human vultures. Be kind, wise and emphasize the light, and the darkness will cease to exist. To help yourself and your future career choices, learn The Art of Supportive Leadership.
  11. Environment is Stronger than Willpower. Discover what brings you inner peace. Whatever your environment, don’t allow your inner peace to be touched by it. Be “in the world” but not of it. Sometimes a change of company can make a huge difference. When you go on pilgrimage, or visit a place known for meditation and prayer, your mentality changes, you feel more peaceful. Yet when you go to a dance or party is your mind often restless, nervous and excited? Afterward, enter a calmer environment and you feel more peaceful again. The greatest influence in your life, greater than your willpower, is your environment.
  12. “Divine Mother Loves You More Than You’ll Ever Know” Who is Divine Mother? She is the very spirit of all there is, formless, timeless, infinite. Every morning when you first awaken, drink in her love for you and silently thank her, before the world grabs your attention. At night before sleeping, offer your concerns and prayers to the Divine Mother of us all so that she may give her love to you when you need it most.
  13. Laugh Daily. Not at others, but with them. Not all jokes poke fun at others. Find something funny about yourself and just laugh. Call it Laughter Yoga. Stretch your imagination and your vocal cords. It can be very healing.
  14. “To Have a Friend, Be a Friend.” Seek the company of those who strengthen your good qualities, your faith, and your inner happiness. Then become like a mirror, reflecting to others their highest qualities.
  15. Give Yourself Credit. When there’s no one to cheer you on, or you feel alone in the world, write down 10 things about yourself that you’re proudest of. Then every day, repeat this affirmation “I am a child of the infinite. Nothing and no one can harm me.’
  16. Service to Others is Ennobling When feeling depressed or worried, notice how your negative moods quickly disappear when you reach out and do something for others. Pray for others in need of healing. Cook a nurturing meal and take it to an older person or someone in need. You never know when your own light will reach out and heal someone desperate for love. Learn about Service to Others in one of our two week retreats.
  17. Become A Smile Millionaire. Smiling with your eyes and your heart can heal not only yourself but others as well. A genuine smile spreads cosmic currents to every cell of your body, attracting life-affirming prana that wards off disease. Try this: Stand before a mirror and with your fingers pull your mouth into a smile. Practice smiling throughout the day–when you’re walking down the street or driving in a car. When you have joy within, you’ve learned the secret of life-affirming wellness. From Yogananda, author of “Autobiography of a Yogi”.
  18. Analyze Your Beliefs & Experiences. A belief comes from what you may have read or accepted. Experience is something you have actually “experienced” or “perceived”. Analyze yourself to see how you should change. Belief and experience are quite different.
  19. Never Give Up. This anecdote comes from one of the world’s most powerful leaders—a person who has seen his country destroyed, had many of his people taken from him, and to this day is under attack from those who fear his spiritual greatness—His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. When you believe in something deeply, never give up.
  20. Be Grateful. A wise saint once said, “Pride is the Greatest Barrier to Wisdom”. Acknowledge wise friends, family and others with gratitude.
  21. Accept Things as They Are. One of life’s most difficult lessons. Life will never give you what you want if you don’t first understand that your inner reality, God, or your spiritual nature, is most important.
  22. Love is the Answer. Make up your mind in this New Year, to be more loving with others, with your friends, and most of all, with your own Self. Get to know yourself by spending time in one of our retreats or our Gap Year and perhaps meeting others with like-minded ideals.

By Nischala Cryer, co-founder, Ananda College of Living Wisdom, author of The Four Stages of Yoga

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7 thoughts on “22 Spiritual Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Before Turning 22

  1. Dear Nischala, this is a most uplifting and helpful article to understand how to live life with true meaning, and with a higher awareness of ourselves and others, even God. Everything you expressed here will help me to act wisely in life so that it can be a joyous adventure. Thank you!

  2. What a clever way to inspire young people with the programs and opportunities you are offering. Well done! love, maria

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