Reflections on a Full Day Meditation Program

By Pam Church, interviewed by Phil (Krishna) Milgrom

“I was happy to be in the company of so many other meditators,” says Pam Church, reflecting on last year’s post conference Full Day Meditation program. It took place the day after our Boston conference, Breakthrough.  “I learned so much that day,” recalls Pam.  “Yet the most significant thing for me occurred the day after.  I woke up feeling lighter.  Something had lifted.”

When I spoke with Pam, a couple weeks after the conference, she said she was still feeling lighter.  I asked her to share more about her experience.  She appreciated the guidance of our Gurudevi, Swami Nirmalananda, and Rukmini (now Swami Samvidananda).  Gurudevi’s discourses were especially instructive.  “She gave some very helpful suggestions about how to stay in meditation when the mind is telling you to do otherwise.  For example, she said don’t let your mind control you. She stated that Patanjali’s sutra 1.2 ‘Yoga is the stilling of the mind’ means you have to intervene.  The stilling is not just going to happen.  The she expanded, saying, ‘You can stop your car by driving it into a pole.  Or you can steer it to a flat surface and hope it coasts to a stop.  But the car has brakes: use them! Yoga gives you ways of braking your mind to bring it to stillness.’”

Pam reports that Gurudevi also gave ample time to answering questions regarding meditation difficulties.  Most relevant to Pam was what Gurudevi said about emotions: “Emotions are not bad.  Some meditators want to kill their emotions.  If you are alive, you are going to feel things.  Acknowledge the validity of your emotions; just do not get lost in them.”

Pam continues, “Gurudevi also said that thoughts and emotions leave imprints that clutter the mind and keep us from experiencing who we really are.  She advised us to redirect our focus to a deeper level, to Consciousness. Consciousness replaces the old imprints. Swami reminded us that we don’t have to suffer through all that our mind does to us.”

Another important piece for Pam was Gurudevi’s advice about the creative power of Consciousness and its ability to solve problems during meditation.  “She advised us not to stop our meditation to work on a problem or to write down the answers that come.  We should trust that we will remember afterward.  We can ask Kundalini to remember the answers for us. Most important is to keep our focus on the Source during meditation.”During the weekend conference, Gurudevi defined a breakthrough in yogic terms: “It is when you discover your Self as you always were, and always are, and always will be — Shiva.”  Perhaps Pam’s experience of “feeling lighter as if something had lifted” was a sign that Shiva had removed the heavy veil of concealment.  Interestingly, in a conference discourse over the weekends, Gurudevi had said, “When you become enlightened, you don’t lose your ability to function in the world — you lose your limitations, because Consciousness shines through you and melts them away.”

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