By Tattvananda Richards
Just thinking about our Ashram puts me in a state of Grace. I feel myself expand and fill with it, all the way down into my tailbone. Ahhhhhhhhh… Derived from “shrama,” meaning worldly exhaustion, “ashram,” starts with a short “a,” negating “shrama.” Our Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram means this me, and so much more.
Two physical buildings house the Ashram: Lokananda, “Place of Bliss” and Shivaloka, “Place of Shiva.” Lokananda is your retreat facility. Its walls and furnishings are saturated with the sweet vibrations of immersion programs. Immediately upon arrival, you feel shrama, your accumulated world weariness, dissolving. You are freed and open to receive new learning and significant life changes. Shivaloka is Swamiji’s home. It’s filled with photographs of our lineage, saturated with mantra and vibrating with Grace. From this base, she offers us the ancient, transformative teachings of yoga. She invites us in to be steeped in these profound practices.
With Online Freebies as well as tuition-based distance learning, Swamiji makes these teachings available to seekers everywhere. Our “virtual Ashram” eliminates the need to travel — what a gift, what a delight. Bathed in this energy and relaxing in this bliss, my mind gets to rest in the Self.
Yet the practicalities of all this need support. We have physical structures, technological structures, staff and organizational processes. They all need to run well as well as to grow as we grow. Our beloved Swamiji provides the Grace and teachings. She gives us more than enough to reach into our family, friends and the world beyond — and beyond that. Being a yogic monk, Swamiji gives this amazing bounty to us without compensation. So we must be practical as well as mystical.
What about our part in supporting this Grace-filled Ashram? Our fall fundraiser — Make a Promise — asks us to pledge financial support. To make a promise is to say “You can count on me.” You can count on my donation to keep this Ashram running.
Tuition and program fees do not completely cover Ashram costs. Your monthly donation provides security, a type of support that allows for planning and growth. The value of your promise to donate consistently — whatever amount fits your budget — cannot be underestimated. It changes how things run. It affects what is available for you, for your community and even for future seekers.
I made a promise to increase my monthly donation. I have increased it until it hurt a little, just as I was taught. I decided to give just past the point of comfort, so I feel a little pinch. On the other hand, my heart does not feel pinched.
Making the pledge was like buying a pair of shoes that cost more than I planned on. Wearing these shoes, I feel how they support my back and body in a way that I need. They perfectly support my work in the world. I will adjust my budget elsewhere. It’s the same with increasing my monthly donation to the Ashram. I feel how my gift supports my yogic path — and yours. The sense of being on this path together is a special kind of spiritual security and bliss.
I invite you to join me. I have experienced that no matter how hard I try to give, I always receive more on this path. May you experience the same abundance!