Yogis Got Gumption

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

That’s one of the things I’ve always loved about yoga, that yogis have gumption.  In all the different styles I’ve practiced, even trained as a teacher in 5 styles over the years, I’ve found that yogis know how to keep going.  Granted, a pandemic tests you to the limit, but you’re better equipped to handle it than anyone else.  Because of your gumption.

The dictionary says it’s “spirited initiative and resourcefulness.”  Yet I know that sometimes it’s merely a choice between the lesser of two evils – get up do it or roll over and whine some more.  Doing daily practice can come down to this.  But I’ve found that choosing to roll over just makes for future pain.  And Patanjali does promise that future pain can be avoided:

Heyam duhkham anaagatam.  — Yoga Sutras 2.16

Future pain can and should be avoided.

It’s an amazing promise:  not only is it possible to avoid future pain but the sage urges that you should avoid it.  How do you cash in on his promise?  Do what he says – keep the momentum going.  That’s why I’m reminding you that you’ve got gumption. 

Initiative, resourcefulness, imagination, ingenuity, cleverness — these describe the yogis I know.  That’s what it takes to keep a household together at any time and especially during a pandemic. 

Pluck, mettle, get-up-and-go, grit, spunk, oomph — you need all of this to keep your own yoga practice going during a pandemic.  Especially if you’re out of work or working from home, it’s too easy to let your oomph fizzle out.  But who suffers the most for this?  Ummm, that would be you.

Astuteness, common sense, smarts, native ability, practicality, spirit  — all are necessary for yoga teachers at this time.  How do you keep your studio open?  How do you serve your students effectively online?  I must say I’ve learned a lot more about technology in the last few months.  It’s surprised me how much I like zooming into my students’ homes.  I feel like I can shift their perspective where they need it the most, right in the middle of life’s challenges, right where they live.

But I can feel subtle rumblings.  It’s like the roots of the plants, deep in the earth, are starting to wiggle.  While winter isn’t over yet, spring is just around the corner.  A vaccine is hard to get right now, but that’s only for a while longer and then things will change.  

How will they change?  We don’t really know.  But there’s nothing new about that.  You’re getting more used to not knowing, even getting more used to the constant change.  Of course, life always works that way, though it’s more obvious now.  Which is why you need gumption.  And masks.  And hand sanitizer.  And a way to zoom your yoga.  Gear up!  Get your gumption going.

Another Yoga Miracle Story

By Prema Prudy Costa, Interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain

Having taught Svaroopa® Yoga in New York City for 20 years, Prema has been amazed at her students’ recent breakthroughs.  They are due to the Ashram’s Teaching Online Therapeutics (TOT) course.

“All of a sudden, everything clicked for my student.  As she started trying to walk after doing both sides, she exclaimed ‘Wow, my legs just swing when I walk.  I feel balanced on my feet for the first time in years!’” recounts Prema Prudy Costa.  She is quoting a college professor who broke bones in her left foot while tap dancing. 

Regarding the tapdancing professor, Prema describes, “This student has extremely hyperflexible joints and extremely tight spinal muscles.  In 2019, four months after she broke her left foot, she’d come to my yoga class, remove her boot and try class.  But she was very tight, and couldn’t bend forward.  So we did Yoga therapy for a while, and she improved. 

“After summer break, she returned to class with no boot.  But now her other foot hurt.  Tap dancing again, she learned she had broken bones in her right foot.  Still, she loved the social aspect of my yoga class.  So until March 12, 2020 she came sporadically even though she couldn’t do Lunge. Then the pandemic hit, so there were no more in-person classes.”

Prema started teaching regular classes on Zoom and took Teaching Svaroopa® Yoga Online. Her student with the boot Zoomed to Prema’s classes and her boot came off in July.  But it wasn’t until the TOT course, which began in July, that a real shift occurred.  

Prema describes, “My student had essentially spent a year with a boot first on one foot, then on the other.  She said the TOT poses hurt and pulled, especially in her lower back.  Still, she came regularly.”  Then about halfway through the four TOT modules, the shift occurred.  “By October I was in the middle of Module C, teaching a variation on Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).  That’s when everything clicked for my student.  All that time of wearing the boot had unbalanced her and hampered her gait.”

Prema realized that not all the new therapeutic poses had seemed to work well for this student.  Yes, she says, “This Trikonasana variation, building on the others, of course, brought a major shift.  Finally, the student herself felt she got something.

“This change encouraged her to try Lunge for the first time since she’d come in with a boot.  And she was thrilled to discover that she could do Lunge without pain.  It was a huge double breakthrough for her.  Of Trikonasana TOT variation, the student declared: “I need to do this pose!”  Music to a yoga teacher’s ears.

These poses also provide real breakthroughs for teachers.  Prema describes her own miracle story: “Trikonasana TOT has strengthened my ankles.  The problems from an old injury have gradually dissolved.  Now I can walk without lurching to one side.  As it was for my student, so for me: my hips also feel level and my legs swing beneath me as I walk.  Trikonasana TOT has helped me develop capacity to lean weight through heels and send half forward.  Standing this way is extraordinarily calming.  And it’s useful for balancing on a lurching or jerking subway.  Best of all, this pose has enabled a more upright posture for sitting.  As a result, I am having deep and profound meditations.”

Yes, do more yoga!

There Is So Much More to Me

By Lauren Soderberg, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney

“I meditate because I’ve always yearned for ‘The More,’” says Lauren.  “At first, I thought it was outside of me.  For most of my life, I thought life was about getting a good job so you can make a lot of money and get a nice house.  I believed that happiness and fulfillment could somehow be found or acquired by seeking things externally.  I thought I needed to line up all circumstances just right. Good relationships were part of that.  All of it was external.

“My spiritual process has given me the opportunity to set aside everything that I thought I knew.  I’m setting aside what I think I need, who I think I am and what life means.  I’m finding out that there is a whole lot more to me than my thoughts or my personality.  My personality and my thinking mind are always part of me.  I meditate to find ‘The More’ within me.”

Lauren says, “I want to come home to my Self.  The experiences I have during meditation are frequently deeply profound and moving.  With nothing on the outside changing, I can have a peaceful internal shift; I experience internal freedom and fulfilment.  These experiences have shown me that God and the answers I’ve sought are right here inside of me.  They are closer to me than my own breath.” 

Before the pandemic, Lauren consistently attended Swami Sunday with Gurudevi Nirmalananda.  As service to the Ashram, Lauren also baked refreshments for the social time afterwards.  When pandemic restrictions made that impossible, Lauren was sad and disappointed.  During a conversation with a sister sevite, Lauren learned about the online Meditation Club.  When she realized she met the prerequisites, Lauren was in.  She has been a regular attendee ever since.

“I can literally feel the shakti, the energy, coming through the phone,” describes Lauren.  Not an airy-fairy sort of person, Lauren is an organic chemist, steeped in science.  She shares, “I feel quieter and more peaceful, grounded and stable.  I can feel the backing of the lineage of Meditation Masters that we are a part of.  I am so grateful for Gurudevi and those Gurus who showed her the way.  In turn, she can show us the way.” 

Lauren explains, “The Meditation Club has brought Gurudevi into my home.  You can’t go to the Guru because of COVID, so the Guru comes to your home.  Being in connection to her that way has been so transformative and helpful for me.  Knowing I am not alone in this process is very comforting.  Now I think about my house as an Ashram: a spiritual, sacred place.  I treat my home differently.  It’s become my meditation station.  Before, I didn’t even have a regular place that I used to meditate.  Now I have a special seat, my meditation shawl and mantra beads.  I created a puja with a photo of Gurudevi and other sacred things.”

This connection is even more important because of what Lauren has been going through over the past year and a half.  “What I’m experiencing internally has really kicked up,” she says.  “And I’ve been having strong meditation experiences.  While meditation brings blissful, magical experiences, I also go through some hard stuff at times.  The Meditation Club has helped move that stuff along.  It’s been a real support.  I feel extremely blessed and know these experiences are really special.”

Meditating on schedule with a group has other benefits for Lauren.  “It has given me the accountability and discipline to meditate that I couldn’t achieve on my own.  I had been willy-nilly about the time and length of meditation.  Knowing that I have a spiritual community and other people are doing the same thing as I am is huge.

“Gurudevi’s love is so important.  It’s this feeling that touches me deep down inside me in my soul.  It transcends any experience that I have ever had.  It’s a love that feels mystical, yet is more real and pure and familiar than anything else I have known.  Just by a look or a word, that love can bring me to tears.”

Yogis & Their Amazing Powers

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

Many Sanskrit texts describe how a yogi can fly, walk on water, disappear and change the weather as part of the classical ashta-siddhis (eight powers).  Making it through a pandemic is minor compared to these world-changing, life-changing abilities.  Yet your ability to make it through, and not merely to survive but to thrive, comes from the same inner source. 

Yoga is a mystical science, meaning it uncovers the mystery hidden within.  Once you know the Divinity Reality hidden within, nothing is impossible.  How does this work?  A sutra explains it:

Chidvat-tach-chhakti sankochaat malaavrtah samsaarii.  — Pratyabhij~nah.rdayam 9

Though full of divine powers, Consciousness contracts to become the individual, whose divine nature is hidden within.

Your divine nature is hidden within you, for you are Consciousness, masquerading as an individual.  Yoga is the science of discovering what is already there, just like Fleming discovered penicillin.  You are the one who conducts the experiment by following the protocols established by generations of yogis, yoga’s tools that help you look inward.  Of course you have divine powers once you know who you are!

Mastery of the body helps with this by giving you gradual mastery of your mind.  Yet mastery of your mind means you sit still, turning your attention deeper inward to the Consciousness that you are.  Now you’re doing the yoga of the ancient sages.  And now you discover that you need help.  Everyone needs help with their mind.

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati (Gurudevi)

That’s what drove me to my Guru — the pain that my mind caused me.  He showed me that I didn’t have to wrestle with my mind.  Instead he opened the doorway deeper inside.  He simply uncovered what had been hidden, my own divine nature.  Beyond health, strength, vitality or peace, this is yoga’s greatest gift.  Yes, it even helps with a pandemic.

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati leads Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram in Downingtown PA.  An American yogi, she is an inspiring teacher with a loving manner and a great sense of humor.  Before becoming a swami (yoga monk), as Rama Berch, she served the yoga community as the founding president of Yoga Alliance.  Traveling and teaching nationally and internationally, she is authorized to initiate people into deep meditation through Shaktipat, as did Swami Muktananda, her own Guru.  The Ashram website features extensive Freebies, including articles and audio recordings on the principles of consciousness as taught by the sages of India, as well as how to apply them in your life today.

Ashram Profile: Moving from 2020 to 2021!

By Lynn (Gurupremananda) Cattafi, SVA Board

In so many ways, 2020 was a banner year.  It was full of hardship as well as joy.  As we enter 2021, Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram is always planning how to best serve the needs of our Svaroopa® Sciences community and seekers beyond.  First looking backward at the closing year is always beneficial.  What changed? What worked?

When the pandemic halted travel to Lokananda, the Ashram created the online Grace Delivery System to bring immersions into our homes.  When pandemic lockdown began in mid-March 2020, Satguru Swami Nirmalananda received the inner command, “Use any means necessary.”  The Ashram’s began to Zoom online programs to our community and to seekers everywhere.  The variety of online offerings allows the choice of dipping in a toe or taking a deep dive.

Freebies, as always, include online chants and publications as well as audios of Gurudevi’s discourses.  Free of charge as well is Gurudevi’s Japa Club, online or by phone.  It’s your opportunity to be led by Gurudevi in the sweet power of mantra repetition twice daily.  She prefaces it with a concise, powerful teaching.  For those who want to go even deeper, SVA Online offers a menu of subscription classes and immersions.

Gurudevi teaching online via Zoom

After a few online programs, I enrolled in the daily Meditation Club.  There is nothing like having to be on time to meditate with Gurudevi and our worldwide community.  It’s so effective in establishing a consistent daily practice.  But more than that, it is being in the flow of Grace with my Guru every morning.  Plus the human connection with all other participants was so supportive.  Now I cannot be without my daily meditation any more than I could do without brushing my teeth.

Skeptical at first, I was amazed at the depth of the online retreats.  I was able to receive Shaktipat via Zoom.  Who would have ever thought it possible?  I attended the online Chant & Meditation Retreat and So’ham Weekend as well.  I was able to sanctify my home with these deep immersions.  I integrated the practices into my life so much more easily.  It worked because I was in my life while also in the retreat. Each pre-retreat orientation provided such loving information about how to eat during the retreat; I received complete meal plans and recipes.  I was guided in how to set up my home for the retreat, and how to manage time between retreat sessions.  It was brilliant.  I felt so cared for right in my own yoga room.

The Ashram’s online yoga classes are a Godsend for me.  Thanks to Zoom, I am finally able to take asana class every day.  I am doing more yoga through the pandemic than any other time in my life.

One of our online teaching setups at Downingtown Yoga and Meditation Center

I know that Gurudevi always sees the big picture.  Along with other Board members, I’m being guided to plan for the year ahead and beyond.  Gurudevi always has her eyes and heart on what will serve all of us best in the next steps of personal growth.  Here is to a growth-filled 2021, together!

What do Yoga Warriors Do?

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

Jesus taught that you should turn the other cheek.  Krishna told Arjuna to go kill his family members.  What is a yogi supposed to do in times like these? 

Yoga makes you more peaceful, one of its greatest benefits.  Yet yoga is a warrior tradition.  The power of such deep inner peace is that it makes you able to face the challenges in your life without internal turmoil.  Thus you are able to see clearly and determine what you can do to make a difference without fear or self-doubt.  Some situations call for you to pull out your sword and go in swinging; others mean you should withdraw.  How do you know which is which?  The answer is found in an inner knowing, what I call a message from God.  Anandamayima called it her “kheyyal,” meaning a divine inner prompting.  But you cannot hear it if your mind is churning.

Recent events have been overwhelming, especially after months of pandemic, economic difficulties and racial tensions.  Your impulse might be to duck and cover, like the bomb drills they had us doing in school in the 1950s.  But ducking under our schoolroom desk was not going to protect us from the nuclear bomb they warned us about.  We even knew that back then, proving once again that the adults didn’t really have a clue about how to meet the challenges of the time.  But yogis do.

You might decide to demonstrate in support of your political perspective, or merely send money to those you believe can lead us in the right direction.  But if you do nothing, you’re not a yogi.  You’re a wimp.  I know that you care, so show it.  Act on it.

We’ve been diagnosed with “pandemic fatigue,” that people are unable to sustain their necessary vigilance.  Yet you must.  Mask.  Social distance.  Sanitize your hands.  Shelter in place.  But you don’t have to panic.  Panic leads to paralysis, like a deer in the headlights.  You have skills that you didn’t have last year.  You know how to mask, social distance and sanitize.  You can connect through technology and in other meaningful ways.  I loved the birthday parade going through my neighborhood a few days ago, with cars decorated and horns blaring.  So much love!  So much joy!

And yes, this is a time to do more yoga.  The more you do — whether poses, breathing practices, chanting, meditation, study of the texts — the deeper your inner peace becomes and the more clarity you have.  Then you can decide what to do with yourself during this time.  You can even decide what to do with the rest of your life!  There’s so much possibility there.  What are you doing with it?

Pandemic, Panic & Paralysis

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

You could say you’ve got a reason to panic:  there’s a pandemic going on.  Especially if you’re in a high-risk group, the warning signs are clear, as are the instructions for how to protect yourself.  You’ve already developed some new skills, especially social distancing along with how to breathe and talk while wearing a mask.  You’ve even learned how to simplify your life to greater or lesser degree as well as how to spend more time at home.

Of course, panic is totally unnecessary.  All these actions are intelligent, meaning you do them simply because you make clear-headed decisions and follow through on them.  However, if you’ve previously perfected living in constant anxiety, you may not know how to pay attention unless your anxiety increases.  Thus your panic can be productive in a bizarre sort of way.

Ice Age: The Meltdown, 2006

Studies have proven that human beings go into fight or flight mode just like animals.  But there’s another instinctual response to panic — to freeze.  We call it “playing opossum.”  Opossums aren’t simply “playing dead,” they’re in a catatonic state.  Similarly, squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits freeze in fear, even some species of shark.  At this point in the pandemic, you may be like a deer in the headlights, frozen in place.  At least it’s a safe place, where you will need to shelter for some time to come. 

What’s the difference between panic-induced immobility and a deep yogic immersion?  You can use this time to make powerful spiritual progress with more meditation and yogic practices, or you can simply retreat from the world, and maybe never come out again.  I’ll ask the same question another way:  Are you retreating FROM something or retreating TO something?

Retreating from danger is a smart move.  With the danger persisting for so long, your world gets smaller and smaller.  Even walking a block or two on the street where you live can feel adventurous!  As your personal space shrinks, the tumultuous events on the news can add to your conviction that you need to hide.  One yogi said, “I don’t need to hear the sound of the human voice anymore.”  She’s been alone too long.  How will she step into the world again?

Yoga makes you stronger and healthier.  It heals your mind and emotions.  Knowing when to reach out and connect with other people is another sign of intelligence.  Yet, as a yogi, you have to avoid using other people for entertainment or escapism. 

My first yoga retreat was when I went to study with my Guru.  More than merely escaping from the world, I was retreating to a spiritual paradise.  Every day revealed more and more of the inner mystery, both because of the Ashram’s daily practices as well as the power of my Guru’s presence.  I knew I was there for a reason, to fulfill the purpose of human life — the inner knowing of my own Divinity.  That time away from the bustle of the world was essential for me, like time in an incubator.  The chants and meditations opened up an inner depth that reshaped my sense of self from the inside-outward. 

Swami Muktananda’s Ashram, Shree Gurudev Ashram (later called Gurudev Siddha Peeth)
Image source: tourism.webindia123.com

You have that same opportunity now.  As a Svaroopi, especially if you’ve received Shaktipat, your life is already full of Grace.  Now you have time to marinate in it, to luxuriate in it, to deepen into it more fully.  But you’re not paralyzed by fear.  There’s no reason to panic.  You may need help to get through this time, so ask for it.  And, once you’re safe, turn this time into a precious time, a sweet and deep dive inward.  Do more yoga.

Swimming in Grace

By Sonya (Shraddhananda) McNeill, interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain

Sonya McNeill’s life hasn’t been the same since she met Gurudevi 16 years ago.  Now called Shraddhananda, she’d been meditating since childhood.  By 2002 she was experiencing unusual meditation movements and visions.  In January 2004 she reached out to her old friend Swami Samvidaananda (then Maria Abbruzzi), whom she hadn’t seen in a decade.

Samvid said, “Come to Rehoboth Beach Yoga. My teacher is offering ‘Meditation Made Easy.’”  Shraddhananda recounts, “Despite an ailing back, I crawled up the steep staircase to the yoga studio, dragging my walker with me.  Once there, I was supported by Grace.  It took three chairs and — I always jokingly say — 32 blankets to make me comfortable in meditation.  After the second meditation, I asked Gurudevi,  “Who is the brown guy with the long fingers?  He keeps putting his hand on my shoulder.  And everything was blue, and I felt like I was swaying side to side?”  To which Gurudevi replied, “Everything is blue and you were swaying.  And that was my Baba’s Baba, Nityananda putting his hand on your shoulder.”

Shraddhananda continues, “Before I knew what a Guru was, I wanted her.  I had always followed Jesus.  But it became clear that Jesus sent me to Nityananda.  Nityananda brought me to Gurudevi, to learn this aspect of Being.  He knew I needed a Great Being in a body to learn what I needed to know.  Even though Gurudevi was five years away from taking her Sannyas vows, I recognized who she was.  It didn’t matter what she was called.  Being in relationship with her changed my life.”

In 2009, the Ashram opened the Ashram.  Shraddhananda began a nine-year part-time residency.  She commuted from her home in Virginia, later in Maryland, to bask in the joy of personal seva (service) to the Guru.  “She altered my soul,” shares Shraddhananda. “Once I met her, there was no going anywhere else.  No one else had the answers to my questions.  Gurudevi became the bow of my boat.  Periodically, she’d be the rudder, reminding me I was veering off, and she’d move me.”

“While I was a part-time resident, Gurudevi never got in my way.  She gave me freedom to express who I was.  While expressing my small-s self in new and creative ways, I was supported by Gurudevi in finding my capital-S self.  For example, I wasn’t a confident baker or cook, yet was asked to make a vegan birthday cake for Baba!  At first, I was scared.  Yet the cake turned out great.  And my inner artist, once insecure, has been given wonderful art projects to accomplish.  Truly, the Guru helps us get past our small-s self’s limitations.”

Shraddhananda describes the revelatory power of Grace that is in fact, the Guru.  “My soul and mind are now satisfied with what is, and what my part is in each moment,” describes Shraddhananda.  “Gurudevi’s teachings and our relationship has freed me to the point I now rely on Grace.  Grace will always provide the answers.  I never doubt it.  My life has been soaked in it.  I am swimming in an ocean of Grace, 24/7.”

Healing Powered by Grace

By Sandy (Mukti) Carter, interviewed by Margie (Maitreyi) Wilsman

In February 2020, feeling emotionally depleted, Mukti enrolled in the last in-person Healing Retreat before Covid lockdown.  She had no idea about what to expect from the retreat.  She only knew she needed Guru’s Grace grounding her so she could make some tough life decisions.

Mukti describes, “Through meditation, asana classes, yoga therapy, vichara sessions, and philosophy talks, the Healing Retreat tapped into my Self — Consciousness Itself.  I was able to allow Kundalini to take care of me with her healing work.

“My meditations changed and deepened.  At first my mind was still busy during meditation.  So I got up early to meditate before the program started.  In meditation I became consciously aware of thoughts and the mantra, at a much deeper level.  This experience was a first for me.”

“On the last morning, I experienced the void as velvety darkness, without any sound, just dead silence.  Previously, my experiences of the void were black with a light noisiness.  This time, however, it was like curtains parted, and I went into the void.  The minute I became aware of the usual ringing in my ears, it disappeared.”

“My usual experience of Kundalini is awareness of heat and of that energetic inner column of support called stambha.  This energy arising makes my whole torso lift and feel at ease.  At this retreat I felt more: the vibration of Kundalini, coming up through my body.”

At the end of Healing Retreats, every participant receives home practice, which Gurudevi has individually customized.  For the past eight months, Mukti has done her practice daily.  “It supported my life at home in a big way,” she shares.  “Every day, I felt the practice coming from Grace.  I felt it as a loving action supporting me individually on my spiritual path.”

In the retreat’s vichara sessions (guided self-inquiry), Mukti saw that her pain originates in the mind.  Suffering comes from the mind and is thus self-induced.  She’d done some vichara intermittently years ago.  Now she recognizes that in not continuing with it, she was avoiding vichara.  She did not want to deal with her mind.  So after the retreat she continued doing vichara, enjoying greatly beneficial changes.

Mukti concludes, “There are no words to express the depth of my gratitude for all that Gurudevi provides and does for us as a community and individually.  I will enroll in another Healing Retreat.  If I had the flexibility in my work schedule and resources, I would do every healing retreat that’s offered!”

How Are You? Who Are You?

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

How are you doing?  How are you feeling?  How are you and who are you?  Yoga is about both, of course.  But when you deepen into your own inner essence, the “how” you are is taken care of automatically by the “who” you are. 

I was sitting in a chair with my laptop on my lap when I was told the election results had been announced. Before I got the news, I was sitting with my laptop on my lap.  After I got the news, I was sitting with my laptop on my lap.  I’m still me, no matter who wins the national election. 

I’m still me when I go to bed.  I’m still me when I get up.  I am who I am, no matter what I am doing or who I am with.  Those activities don’t make me who I am.  Other people don’t make me who I am.  I am me.

You are you.

It’s very simple.  Yet it’s a breakthrough to reach the point that you know who you are, regardless of what’s going on around you.

There’s a beautiful tree right outside of my office window.  Its leaves are almost all down now, with just a few hanging on.  A few weeks ago, it was lush and green.  Does its change make me be a different me?  No.

I had a bagel for breakfast this morning, yum.  Does that make this an extra special morning?  No.  It was fun, but it didn’t improve my mood – because my mood was already good.  Fun is important in life, but it doesn’t make you who you are.  You are you, whether you’re having fun or not.

I was driving when I got a phone call from a family member, offering condolences on the death of my father.  I didn’t know that he’d died.  I had been on an airplane, on my way to visit him, for we knew his time was ending.  Then I jumped into a rental car and got on the road.  I got the phone call while I was driving.

My first thought was, it’s probably not smart for me to be driving right now – I don’t want to hurt anyone else on the road.  So I pulled over.  As I sat there, talking through the information with the dear one who phoned me, I was asking myself, “Am I a different me now that my father has left this earthly plane?”   No.

Is the world different for me?  Yes.

Will I miss him?    Yes, I still do, even though he left years ago.

But I am me, the same me, whether he’s here or not.

The reality is that you’re under pressure right now.  You’re in a process that isn’t over yet.  The process going on in the world isn’t over yet.  And the process you’re going through inside isn’t over yet.  Not until you know the you that you are – the you that is your own Self, that inner essence of being that is Beingness being you. 

You are you, even in a world of change, even with changes transpiring in the outer world, even in the inner world where your thoughts and feelings are constantly changing.  You are you.  That’s what yoga is really about.

This blog was originally published by permission on Philly Area Yoga.