Reported by Matrika Gast
“Such a beautiful gift” is how Frances Amery describes Swami Nirmalananda’s Year-Long Programme (YLP). “I take the course every year,” she says, “because it opens me to Guru’s Grace, that supports me going along my way in life.”
“In 1974 I tried to find meditation training,” recalls Frances. “I took several different courses, but none helped me. Over the years, I read many books on meditation. None were helpful. Then about a decade ago, I took my first Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation class, taught by Rudrani Nogue. It was what I’d always sought. What I had been looking for all those years was the power of Grace, though I did not know what to call it at the time.”
Now Frances is grateful for the YLP distance learning that lets her study with Swami Nirmalananda without leaving her Calgary home. “I am lucky not to have to climb a mountain in Kashmir to receive these ancient teachings on being enlightened. I simply click a button to download Swamiji’s articles, listen to her discourse audios and join the conference calls for group discussion. Her articles are deep and rich. In the current programme, Enlightenment in the Midst of Life, I am amazed by how she captures and conveys the infinite dimensions of enlightenment in plain English. Her easy-to-understand words are organized so clearly. Eloquent, expansive and expanding, her audios deepen my experience further. I listen again and again and again. I transcribe them to integrate her teachings more deeply.
“I’m pulled into knowing. The teachings draw me in like a magnetic tractor beam. I feel they are so clearly right. They tell of things greater than what I am able to understand right now. Still, I have a sense of knowing things I can’t articulate yet. Even as a little girl ‘I knew’ things. I recognize that same inner knowing in Swamiji’s teachings. They affect every aspect of my being: heart, intellect, physical body, and behavior. Sometimes a teaching gives me a course correction. ‘Oh no! I’ve not being doing what I should.’ I appreciate the wake-up nudge! No one else in my life could set me straight in such a way.”
Frances says discussion with others on the conference calls supports her own process. She senses that Swamiji knows what’s going on with everyone. She says, “Swamiji gives you what you need. She knows what a person needs to hear. We learn from each other as well. I am touched by the authenticity and generosity of those who share their experiences. I hear something and think, ‘Yes, that’s the same for me.’
“And there’s more. Swamiji herself is a model of how to be. Her teachings radiate with Truth. It’s the concise way she presents vast information. It’s the humor and the clarity. Paradoxically, the course draws me into my Own Self within. Specific teachings provide me with insightful understanding and instructions for concrete action. I especially rely on her poem, which so beautifully captures the main point of the whole course:
You don’t have to leave the world
You don’t have to change the world
It is impossible to change the world
It is impossible to leave the world
All you have to do is know your Self.
“Swami’s teachings are rich and deep, yet not complicated. ‘It’s not easy but it’s not complicated,’ she says. The power of Grace comes through. In this year’s Programme I’m experiencing a deeper understanding. When I hear her teachings this time, they click in a new way. I see links and connections I did not see before. More and more, I recognize my Self.”