By Matrika Gast
I signed up for Vidyadevi’s “Pain Sutras” phone course because I wanted to support yoga therapy clients better. One homework assignment included practicing random acts of kindness for 5 days. This course will certainly help me improve the support I offer clients. But, surprisingly, it is also giving me release from emotional and physical pain.
At first, I found that helping a stranger with directions and carrying packages for a friend with back pain gave me a warm sense of connection to them, as they are, and to myself as I am. But in the process I received the support of REALLY seeing who I am. I saw my little self performing these random acts of kindness because it’s homework. Being a good student is what has gotten me through life, so I must do my homework. This is hardly a “random” act of kindness!
As I tracked it deeper, I found that avidya (the not-knowing of myself as Self, as Pure Consciousness) is the root of my needing to be a good student, so I think of myself as a good person. Why do I need to think of myself as a good person? Under it all is a deep feeling of never being good enough, never really able to do anything right – this is truly avidya. Feeling the root of my own emotional and physical pain, I can only be with it. This brings me to Swamiji’s teaching:
To get the “more” that yoga promises, you have to stop moving. Think of it as an adult time-out. — Swamiji & Rukmini
My lifelong compulsion to be a good student and be a good person has driven me to do, do, do, do. But, with this new knowing of the roots of my motivations in life, that compulsion just stops. That’s profound internal release.
Finally, gratefully, I find the sweet, other side of the coin: A random act of kindness acknowledges and quietly celebrates that we are all of the same “kind.” The doing “good” illuminates our kinship in simply being on Earth, in this particular time. I get the feeling that we are all in the same boat of daily needs and concerns. Then I see we are all in — and are — the big boat of Self. Now I know there’s no need to work so hard to build up the trappings of a “good” little self. The Grace of the Guru — revelation — sets me free.
I will continue kindness, and doing seva, out of sweet gratitude, not out of fear of not being good enough. The sudden, surprising sense of peace of mind is priceless.
Time after time such support from Swamiji and our Teacher Trainers (trained by Swamiji) gives me deep, permanent release. There’s nothing like the way that support reaches into the cause of pain, even emotional and physical pain, and just dissolves it. That’s why I donate to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, to pay it all forward, to make sure our Ashram has the strongest possible financial forward. Who else in this world has been touched by Swamiji’s teaching? Who will it be tomorrow?
Let what you have experienced on this path carry you forward in supporting our Ashram sweetly. Arrange for a monthly donation or increase it if you already give in this way. One-time contributions are also deeply appreciated and hugely beneficial.
Please click to make a donation. Or call 610.644.7555. For an increase in your monthly donation or a brand new monthly commitment, Swami Nirmalananda will send you her new recording, her solo chant of the traditional melody of our meditation mantra.