by Madelyn Jablon (interviewed by Maitreyi Wilsman)
Madelyn Jablon knows the continuous and “tangible” benefits of Guru’s Grace. In 2003, Madelyn was living in Rehoboth Beach, a sleepy resort community, with very little to do. Madelyn started taking yoga classes because it was the only thing in town during the off-season. She attended daily classes. At the time, Madelyn worked as a high school special education teacher so she especially enjoyed being in the student’s role in her yoga classes. Madelyn followed her teachers’ suggestion and enrolled in Foundations of Svaroopa® Yoga —to deepen her own practice. Madelyn also took Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation courses twice.
In the final Shavasanas of her yoga classes, Madelyn often experienced “blue lights.” When she shared this with her teacher, she was told to attend a Shaktipat Retreat. Madelyn now jokes that she attends a shaktipat retreat every year, whether she needs it or not! She is also a regular at Swamiji’s Sunday Satsangs, and practices meditation as well as yoga at home daily. Madelyn does seva as an Ashram baker and prepares the snacks for Swami Sunday’s chai recess.
With her consistent and deepening yoga practices, Madelyn experiences profound benefits. Her meditations are especially rich experiences. In her home, she does arati (the candle flame ceremony) to Swami Nirmalananda’s photo. In meditation, she senses Swamiji’s presence.
At first Madelyn struggled with the idea of a Guru-Disciple relationship and acknowledging Swamiji’s influence and power. Now she visualizes this spiritual relationship as a bicycle ride. Madelyn says, “I am holding one handlebar and Swamiji is holding the other. When I am uncertain of the course, I lighten my hold of the handlebars and feel Swamiji take control of the steering. If she didn’t, I would fall and crash. When I do not know where I am going, she guides me. As long as Swamiji is with me, I will not fall.” Madelyn knows that she is guided by Swamiji. She also feels Kundalini’s guidance. Madelyn says that her morning chant of the Kundalini Stotra is the most potent of her practices.
Fifteen months ago, Madelyn’s husband died of cancer. As his illness was progressing, Madelyn knew she needed help. After researching counselors and therapists, she made the dreaded but necessary call for help. Instead of hearing the anticipated comforting voice, she reached a voicemail message that said, “DO NOT leave a message.”
Madelyn hung up the phone and thought, “I guess I’m going to have to help myself…self…SELF!! I know what that means: DO MORE YOGA!” Her next phone call was to a Vichara (guided self-inquiry) Therapist, who answered the phone and helped Madelyn through this difficult time.
During that year, Madelyn meditated and saw its powerful effects on herself, her husband, physicians, hospice workers and even the hospital valet, who noticed the mala she was wearing. He asked her about it and whether she could get him one.
Hospital nurses told Madelyn that they found her husband’s room calm and peaceful. They asked whether they could sit in her chair during their breaks. While other patients refused painful procedures, Madelyn meditated and played Sri Guru Gita while her husband slept through spinal taps and whole brain radiation. A doctor who had performed surgery during Sri Guru Gita asked her for a copy of the CD. The hospice staff asked questions about the puja she had set up in her husband’s room. They were curious. They could feel its transformative power in the room’s atmosphere.
As her husband’s illness progressed, Madelyn recalls doing increasingly less thinking and more feeling, trusting spontaneity and Grace. Ujjayi made living unpredictably possible. Madelyn found she could survive with little sleep and irregular meals. At the onset of her husband’s illness, Madelyn shared the news with Swamiji, who told her that caring for her husband was her dharma — her responsibility. As a result, Madelyn knew that, though it was difficult, she was doing exactly what she was meant to be doing.
Madelyn was the final speaker at her husband’s memorial service. This event provided a measure of how radically Madelyn had been transformed by being steeped in the Svaroopa® Sciences practices. Formerly, she would have been immobilized by fear at the prospect of addressing 200 people at such an emotionally-charged event. What would she say? In the past, she would have spent weeks thinking, writing, stressing. Instead, she came home from school and flipped open a magazine. It opened to a poem, “Marriage.” She gave thanks (another experience that was happening spontaneously) and took the stage with confidence.
In January, Madelyn will take Foundations of Svaroopa® Yoga again, perhaps for a different reason this time. Meanwhile, you can find Madelyn either in Newark or Rehoboth, caring for her dog. He loves her yoga room. Together they visit there often!